NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2017
Recent speculation regarding the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers in your NHL rumor mill.
NHL.COM: In his latest mailbag segment, Dan Rosen assumes the Chicago Blackhawks will use the salary-cap relief they’ll get by placing sidelined right wing Marian Hossa ($5.275 million annual salary) on long-term injured reserve to beef up their roster.
He expects they’ll wait until after the season begins to put Hossa on LTIR. That will provide them more cap flexibility during the season.
What moves GM Stan Bowman makes could depend upon how they start the season. Rosen speculates Bowman could look for rental players, perhaps on defense. If Hossa’s skin condition places his playing career in jeopardy, perhaps Bowman will consider adding players with term remaining on their contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks currently sit just over the $75 million cap ceiling. However, they can easily get under that by demoting a lower-salaried depth player to the minors before the season opens. I agree with Rosen that Bowman will probably evaluate his team over the course of the season to determine the priorities to be addressed.
Defense is the biggest issue for the Hawks, as the depth drops sharply beyond Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. There’s talk they could invite unrestricted free agent defenseman Cody Franson to training camp. If he plays well enough on a tryout basis, perhaps they could add him to an affordable one-year deal once Hossa is placed on LTIR.
Rosen also replied a reader’s question over the possibility of the Detroit Red Wings landing New York Islanders center John Tavares via free agency next summer. He thinks the odds are fair that the Wings will be in the market for him. However, it’ll take some work to free up sufficient salary-cap space to sign him and build a winning roster around him.
If Tavares hits the open market, Rosen doubts he’ll sign with a rebuilding club. He also believes Tavares will re-sign with the Islanders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Tavares becomes an unrestricted free agent, and that’s by no means a certainty, I doubt he’ll head to Detroit. If the Wings were still a Stanley Cup contender as they were nearly a decade ago, it would be a different story.
Regarding the New York Rangers, Rosen is leaning toward them trading for a center than a defenseman. He thinks they could shop blueliner Nick Holden to make room for young d-man Anthony DeAngelo.
Rosen feels Toronto’s Tyler Bozak would be a perfect third-line center for the Rangers but he wonders if the Leafs would want Holden, as well as what else they’d want in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Leafs are interested in swapping Bozak for Holden. I agree their defense still needs work but I don’t think Holden’s the answer. While Bozak’s a UFA next summer, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Leafs re-signing him.