Latest Senators and Rangers Rumors – March 14, 2018
Updates on Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson plus the latest Rangers speculation in your NHL rumor mill.
DAYS NUMBERED FOR RYAN & KARLSSON IN OTTAWA?
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan reports Senators winger Bobby Ryan though he and teammate Erik Karlsson were on the way out of Ottawa the day before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. He’d heard there was a deal in place that would send the pair to a Western Conference club but somebody backed out at the last minute.
Brennan speculates trade conversations involving the duo will likely continue in the offseason. “The Senators will surely entertain trade talks for Karlsson at the draft, and in order to get the captain, they’ll ask that Ryan is included in the package.”
The Sens want to shed the remaining four years (at $7.25-million annually) of Ryan’s contract. If a trade isn’t possible, Brennan believes the Senators will buy him out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That Western Conference club is believed to be the Vegas Golden Knights. There’s speculation they could circle back to their interest in Karlsson. As the Senators were trying to package Ryan in the Karlsson deal, the Golden Knights was probably on both their 10-team trade lists.
The buyout period runs from June 15 – 30. Buying out Ryan will be expensive. As per Cap Friendly, it’ll count as over $3.58-million annually from 2018-19 to 2020-21. After that, it’ll drop to over $1.83-million from 2022-23 to 2025-26.
The Senators will obviously try to trade Ryan first. I can see them agreeing to pick up part of his cap hit to get a deal done. Better that over four years than to have a Ryan buyout on the books for eight years.
SPECULATION OVER RANGERS POSSIBLE OFFSEASON MOVES
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Rick Carpiniello was asked who were the untouchables on the New York Rangers’ roster. He believes no one is, not even Henrik Lundqvist, “though he would be virtually impossible to move.”
Asked about the chances of the Rangers trading veteran winger Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes ” or some draft picks” for restricted free agents such as Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey or Carolina’s Noah Hanifin, Carpiniello doubted those RFAs will be available. He pointed out Zuccarello was offered around at the trade deadline but no one made a big push to get him. Hayes is also a restricted free agent.
Carpiniello was also asked about the odds of Rick Nash returning to the Rangers, which he placed at 4-1 or 5-1. Nash will have to accept a pay cut and isn’t an elite scorer anymore, but he’s still a top player and loves New York. He also believes there’s a “really good chance” Ilya Kovalchuk signs with the Rangers, as they’ll need a veteran scorer to bridge the gap from rebuilding to contention. He doesn’t see New York Islanders center John Tavares signing with a rebuilding club if he tests the free-agent market this summer.
Asked about the possibility of Mika Zibanejad fetching a first-line winger, Carpiniello doesn’t see that happening. “There’s no way he’s bringing back a first-line winger by himself.” He thinks trading Zuccarello to the Edmonton Oilers is “feasible” but isn’t sure what they’ll give up in return.
As for the possibility of buying out Marc Staal’s contract, he thinks they might prefer moving him via trade provided they eat some salary. “That would be better for the organization than just eating the dead cap-space because they could probably get an asset in return”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Carpinello that Trouba, Morrissey or Hanifin probably won’t be available this summer. He also made a good point about Zuccarello, though that might change this summer as he’ll only have a year left on his contract. If the Rangers sign Kovalchuk, Nash might have to find somewhere else to play. I concur with his take on Staal.
If Tavares decides to become a UFA, he’ll likely want to join a Stanley Cup contender, or one that’s close to becoming one. Injuries have hampered Zibanejad over the last two seasons, plus he’s carrying a $5.35-million annual cap hit through 2021-22. That could prove difficult to deal.