NHL Rumor Mill – April 11, 2018
Latest on Erik Karlsson and Max Pacioretty plus updates on the Rangers and Blackhawks in your NHL rumor mill.
NO KARLSSON TRADE AT DRAFT, SAYS SENATORS GM
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said team captain Erik Karlsson won’t be traded during the 2018 NHL Draft weekend (June 22-23) in Dallas. He intends to table an eight-year contract extension for Karlsson on July 1. Dorion made the comments during a town hall meeting yesterday with 300 Senators season-ticket holders. Karlsson has one year remaining on his current contract, generating considerable speculation that he could be traded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing prevents the Senators from shopping Karlsson after July 1 if the blueliner proves too expensive to re-sign. Teams that pursued Karlsson leading up to the trade deadline could revisit their interest in him this summer. Indeed, I wouldn’t surprised if some of them contact Dorion during the draft weekend to lay the groundwork for a possible deal in case contract talks with Karlsson fall through in early-July.
IS A PACIORETTY TRADE POSSIBLE THIS SUMMER?
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger’s appearance yesterday on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing the future of Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty. Dreger doesn’t rule out the possibility of Pacioretty being dealt in the offseason, perhaps during the NHL Draft. He cited the trade speculation surrounding the Canadiens left winger leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
To Dreger’s knowledge, the Canadiens didn’t receive a formal trade offer but they did set a significant asking price involving “multiple pieces.” Pacioretty has a year remaining on his contract and will be eligible next July to become an unrestricted free agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Depending on Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin’s offseason plans, Pacioretty could return next season. However, I have a feeling Bergevin could be looking to move the winger in hopes of landing a good young center. Easier said than done, I know, but given the Habs’ poor performance this season, changes appear likely and Pacioretty could be part of them.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently speculated on the future of Rangers center Kevin Hayes, suggesting he’ll either get a four-five year contract worth between $4.5-$5.25 million annually or become the centerpiece of a trade to bring in a much-needed top-pairing right defenseman. He also thinks forward Ryan Spooner could get a one-year, arbitration-awarded contract worth between $3.7-$4.1 million and later used as a trade-deadline rental player next season. Brooks also believes the Rangers need a stud or two if they hope to stage a quick turnaround next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could package Hayes with a couple of draft picks and perhaps a prospect, but I doubt that’ll be enough to land a top-pairing defenseman. I expect he and Spooner will be back next season. I don’t rule out the possibility of Rangers management shopping around for a top-two right rearguard but I don’t see them selling the farm to get one. Perhaps they’ll look at pursuing Washington’s John Carlson via free agency.
COULD THE BLACKHAWKS SHOP ANISIMOV?
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus and Satchel Price examined possible off-season options for the Chicago Blackhawks, who enter the postseason with what Price called “a level of cap flexibility that it hasn’t had in years.” That’s in part because the salary cap is expected to rise to between $78 million -$82 million for 2018-19. Given the importance of re-signing promising youngsters Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz down the road, GM Stan Bowman expects to be prudent with his cap space.
Lazerus and Price observe center Artem Anisimov’s full no-movement clause becomes a partial no-trade on July 1. It’s possible the Blackhawks could attempt to shed his $4.55 million cap hit, perhaps to pursue another forward, defenseman or backup goaltender via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect a major shakeup for the Blackhawks but there could be some changes coming. Anisimov,29, is signed through 2020-21 and could have value for clubs seeking experienced depth at center. Moving him would provide some additional wiggle room under the cap to bolster their depth elsewhere.