NHL Rumor Mill – April 4, 2018
Latest speculation on Tyler Seguin and Erik Karlsson plus updates on the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.
SEGUIN COULD BE WATCHING TAVARES’ CONTRACT SITUATION
TSN: During Tuesday’s “Insider Trading” segment, Pierre LeBrun speculated Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin could be closely watching how New York Islanders captain John Tavares’ contract situation plays out this summer. Tavares is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, while Seguin is a year away from UFA eligibility.
It’s believed Seguin could receive “north of $10 million” annually on his next contract. Considering the focus this season on Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty (like Seguin, both are a year away from UFA status), LeBrun found it curious there wasn’t as much attention paid to Seguin’s status, though he won’t be under the radar much longer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Seguin’s linemate Jamie Benn is the Stars highest-paid player at $9.5 million per season. If they want to retain Seguin, however, they might have little choice but to pay him more than Benn on a long-term extension. Fortunately for the Stars, they already have core players such as Benn, Ben Bishop, John Klingberg and Alexander Radulov already under long-term deals and can easily afford a big raise for Seguin. If the Stars fail to reach the playoffs this season (Update: They already have) there could be some changes afoot this summer but it’s doubtful Seguin, their most consistent performer, will be part of them.
COULD SABRES LISTEN TO OFFERS FOR O’REILLY OR REINHART?
LeBrun also believes the Buffalo Sabres will be worth watching in the offseason, as he feels first-year general manager Jason Botterill could be ready to make some tangible changes. Center Jack Eichel won’t be going anywhere but LeBrun wonders if Botterill might listen to offers for center Ryan O’Reilly or forward Sam Reinhart. He doesn’t feel there’s a real motivation to move either guy but if there’s a team willing to overpay for either guy perhaps the Sabres will listen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A team like the Montreal Canadiens, with plenty of salary cap space and a dire need for a top-line center, could be very interested in O’Reilly, who lacks no-trade protection on his contract. Botterill could be reluctant to part with O’Reilly or Reinhart but I concur with LeBrun that he could be willing to at least listen to offers this summer.
LATEST ON ERIK KARLSSON
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators captain Erik Karlsson picking up the puck at the end of the club’s final home game of the season has fueled speculation this could be his final home game as a Senators. Karlsson downplayed the gesture but Garrioch believes it will take a while before the all-star defenseman’s future is settled. While Karlsson was in play leading up to this season’s trade deadline, he’s indicated his willingness to stay and the club hopes to re-sign the blueliner, who’s a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agent status. The two sides cannot open contract discussions until July 1, but it’s believed the Karlsson camp could seek an eight-year extension worth between $80 million to $100 million.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Pierre LeBrun’s appearance yesterday on Vancouver’s TSN 1040 discussing Karlsson’s future. Asked if the Vancouver Canucks might get into the bidding if the Senators attempt to trade the blueliner this summer, LeBrun said he hasn’t heard them being part of that mix. However, there could be new teams that express interest in Karlsson if he hits the trade block. He pointed out the Vegas Golden Knights came the closest to landing him at the trade deadline, while the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators were also among the deadline suitors.
Nichols also cited Elliotte Friedman’s Tuesday appearance on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 discussing the clubs that could aggressively pursue a Karlsson trade this summer. He wouldn’t be surprised if the Golden Knights revisit their interest and also wondered if the New York Rangers might take a run at him. Friedman also doesn’t rule out a new team we previously hadn’t heard of being linked to Karlsson jumping into the bidding.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everything Karlsson does between now and July 1 will be parsed for any hint of his future plans. He will remain the biggest name potentially available in this summer’s trade market. Once the playoffs end in mid-June, we can expect the speculation to really ramp up.
I think some of the teams that pursued him at the trade deadline could revisit their interest. With the salary cap projected to reach at least $80 million for next season, I daresay there could be a handful of new clubs that could also express interest in Karlsson. I don’t believe the Canucks will be among them as they’re a rebuilding team and might not be on Karlsson’s list of preferred trade destinations.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Rangers do. While they’re obviously rebuilding, we cannot fully dismiss the possibility that they explore a Karlsson acquisition.
WHAT WILL THE CANUCKS DO WITH THEIR EXTRA CAP SPACE?
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites the appearances yesterday of Darren Dreger on Vancouver’s TSN 1040 and Elliotte Friedman on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 talking about what the Vancouver Canucks might do with their cap space now that the Sedin twins have decided to retire at season’s end. Both speculate the club could be players in this summer’s free-agent market but doubts they’ll pursue big-ticket talent. Instead, they suggest the Canucks could consider short-term options.
THE ATHLETIC: Jason Brough also wondered what the Canucks will do with the cap space they would’ve invested in the Sedins. He cautions that adding an elite player such as John Tavares or Erik Karlsson would be very expensive. Such an addition also wouldn’t ensure the Canucks would become a good team, noting the fact Tavares’ Islanders and Karlsson’s Senators will miss the playoffs this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, the Canucks could make a monster bid for Tavares or try to acquire Karlsson via trade and re-sign him to a long-term extension. However, I doubt very much either scenario takes place. I don’t believe Tavares or Karlsson would be keen to join any rebuilding team. If they want to change clubs, they’re likely to target Stanley Cup contenders or a playoff contender with the potential to become a Cup champion one day.
I expect the Canucks will be busy in the trade and free-agent markets, but it’ll be for one or two affordable veterans on short-term contracts to help take the burden off their promising youngsters.