Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 17, 2017
Several players in their contract years worth watching in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
TVA SPORTS: New York Islanders center John Tavares, New York Rangers winger Rick Nash and Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane are among 10 notable players whose contract negotiations will be worth watching this season.
The list also includes Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund, Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson, St. Louis Blues center Paul Stastny, Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk, Vegas Golden Knights winger James Neal and Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The list also included center Bryan Little but he recently re-signed with the Winnipeg Jets. With all the media focus on Tavares, Kane and van Riemsdyk, the others on this list haven’t received much attention.
I believe Backlund, Atkinson and Carlson will sign with their current teams. If Nash has a good season I can see the Rangers offering a short-term (two or three years) for perhaps $6 million per season. Stastny’s injuries hampered his effectiveness with the Blues and it wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t re-sign him. It’s assumed Neal will hit the open market but that could depend upon how much he enjoys playing in Vegas and the expansion club’s potential.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Elliotte Friedman’s Friday appearance on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 discussing several players he’s watching as they enter their contract years. He notes James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak have expressed interest in re-signing with the Maple Leafs. Friedman notes winger T.J. Oshie accepted less money this summer to stay with the Washington Capitals and suggests van Riemsdyk might have to do the same to stay in Toronto.
Friedman’s also curious to see what the future holds for Evander Kane and Rick Nash. He notes the Rangers looked at potentially moving Nash two years ago but he played pretty well last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oshie inked an eight-year deal worth $5.75 million annually with the Capitals. He basically accepted less money for a longer term. It’ll be interesting to see if van Riemsdyk, 28, is willing to accept a similar deal. Bozak, 31, could be offered a four- or five-year contract but the Leafs could try to keep his annual salary closer to his current $4.2 million cap hit.
Kane’s situation could be very interesting this season. If he’s flirting with 30 goals again the Sabres could try to re-sign him, but he’s earning $6 million in actual salary ($5.25 million cap hit) and could seek that much as his annual average value on his next deal. The Sabres could balk at that, especially on a long-term deal.