Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 8, 2018
Latest on the Senators, Panthers and Rangers in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SENATORS FACE BUSY OFFSEASON
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch examines what is expected to be a busy offseason for the Ottawa Senators. Topping the list, of course, is determining the future of captain Erik Karlsson, who has one year remaining on his contract. The two sides can open contract discussions on July 1 and word is the Karlsson camp could seek an eight-year deal worth between $80 million to $100 million. There was interest in Karlsson from other clubs leading up to the trade deadline and it could persist through the offseason.
Like Karlsson, center Matt Duchene is also slated next year to become an unrestricted free agent. The Sens must discuss a contract extension with Duchene, whose decision could be based upon the direction the club intends to take. Restricted free agents Mark Stone and Cody Ceci will have to be re-
A decision will also have to be reached regarding the future of head coach Guy Boucher. The Sens could be reluctant to make another coaching change over cycling through six coaches in 10 years. The Senators must hope struggling goaltenders Craig Anderson and Mike Condon can bounce back.
Garrioch doubts the Senators will attempt to buy out the remaining four years of Bobby Ryan’s contract. He feels there’s a chance Marian Gaborik could be a buyout candidate, as could winger Alex Burrows.
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes Karlsson is destined to leave the Senators, as he doubts the small-market club can afford to invest 20 percent of their cap payroll into one player, no matter how dynamic he may be. With the Sens facing a major rebuild, Shinzawa believes the picks and prospects they could get from a Karlsson trade will help their reconstruction.
Shinzawa suggests the New York Rangers as a suitable trade partner as they have the ability to re-sign Karlsson and depth in futures to part with in a trade. He believes Karlsson could help the Rangers’ rebuild gain traction.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson and the Senators could surprise us by announcing an agreement on an expensive long-term extension for the superstar. However, I’m in the camp that believes he’s played his final game with the Sens. Given the Rangers’ depth in draft picks this year (10 altogether, including three in the first round, two in the second and two in the third), they could be an enticing trade target. However, they could consider Karlsson too pricey and, at 28, too old to fit into their long-term plans.
Cap Friendly indicates the Vegas Golden Knights have also stockpiled a fair number of picks over the next three drafts. They attempted to acquire Karlsson at the trade deadline and could revisit their interest this summer.
Duchene’s situation could also get interesting. He’s spent most of his career with rebuilding clubs and might lack the patience to stick with the Senators if they go for an all-out rebuild.
As for possible buyouts, I agree they probably won’t attempt to buy out Ryan’s hefty contract. In fact, I expect they’ll try to shop him to a club with extra cap space this summer. If Gaborik hasn’t fully recovered from his recent back surgery before the end of June they won’t be allowed to buy him out. As for Burrows, he’s on a plus-35 contract so they won’t get any cap relief from a buyout.
WHO COULD BECOME THE NEXT RANGERS’ HEAD COACH?
NEW YORK POST: In the wake of the New York Rangers firing head coach Alain Vigneault, Larry Brooks looked at several possible replacements. He lists the University of Denver’s Jim Montgomery, Boston University’s David Quinn, Union College’s Rick Bennett, the AHL’s Toronto Marlies’ Sheldon Keefe and former NHL coaches Dan Bylsma, Darryl Sutter, Dave Tippett and Patrick Roy.
Another option could be Bill Peters of the Carolina Hurricanes, who has an out-clause in his contract and could seek other positions. Brooks also includes Columbus Blue Jackets bench boss John Tortorella. “Unlikely to become available, but if somehow he does if Columbus goes down early, Rangers could become interested in reunion.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers insist on a full rebuild putting most of the focus on youth, they could target a coach who works well with developing young players. If not, perhaps bringing in a veteran coach with some championship experience will be an option.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE PANTHERS?
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski suggests the Florida Panthers should look into adding a top-six winger this summer. One option via free agency this summer could be New Jersey Devils winger Michael Grabner. He also thinks they must make a decision about physical third-pairing defenseman Alex Petrovic, who’s a restricted free agent this summer. While the Panthers like the intangibles he brings, Wyshynski feels they should look into trading him if their interest is in improving the overall team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Panthers don’t like what they see in this summer’s crop of free-agent wingers, perhaps they might consider bundling Petrovic with a draft pick or prospect to a team with limited salary-cap space in hopes of landing a winger? Just musing out loud.