NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2018
After trading Marian Hossa, do the Chicago Blackhawks have other moves in store? Could the Detroit Red Wings move the recently re-signed Andreas Athanasiou? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT WILL THE BLACKHAWKS DO NEXT?
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien wonders what the Chicago Blackhawks will do with the cap space free up by shipping the contract of virtually retired winger Marian Hossa yesterday to the Arizona Coyotes. He lists Columbus Blue Jackets winger (and former Blackhawk) Artemi Panarin, Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty, Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner and defenseman Justin Faulk and Ottawa Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson as the most enticing trade targets. However, if he wonders if they can afford to land any of them.
O’Brien considers Faulk as perhaps “the best consideration of them all”, as he would provide much-needed depth to the Blackhawks defense corps. He also carries an affordable $4.83-million annual cap hit through 2019-20, whereas the others are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus also wonders what the Blackhawks will do with their extra cap space. He feels the Blackhawks must do something this summer. They can’t go into 2018-19 with their current roster and expect to make the playoffs in the very competitive Central Division.
Lazerus suggests bringing back center Marcus Kruger in the Hossa trade could make Artem Anisimov more expendable, which could free up an additional $4.55 million per season. That could create room to pursue Faulk or maybe Faulk and Skinner. He also suggested it could be enough to pursue Pacioretty or maybe even go for broke and chase Karlsson.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Joe Knowles believes the Blackhawks now have greater flexibility to bolster their blueline. He points out they’ve reportedly inquired about Faulk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With their current cap space ($9.3 million, according to Cap Friendly), the Blackhawks have the room to improve their defense corps, which I consider their biggest need this summer. There’s not much skilled depth beyond the aging duo of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Moving Anisimov would certainly provide more room to add a defenseman and a scoring winger but addressing both needs via trade won’t be easy.
Given the Hurricanes’ recent additions of Dougie Hamilton and Calvin de Haan, it appears Faulk’s days are numbered in Carolina. The Hurricanes, however, reportedly want winger Brandon Saad in return. While shedding Saad’s $6-million cap hit might be enticing, that move could weaken the Blackhawks’ scoring punch. Maybe something can be worked out to include Skinner in the deal but that could be a deal too complicated to work out.
I don’t doubt the Blackhawks would love to bring back Panarin, who could be dealt if he’s unwilling to commit to a long-term extension with the Blue Jackets. The asking price, however, will be a player who can help them now and other assets for the future. Probably too expensive for the Blackhawks.
The Canadiens will want a scoring center in return for Pacioretty, who could be determined to hit the open market next summer if the Habs aren’t willing to re-sign him. The Senators’ asking price for Karlsson and the high cost of re-signing him before next summer puts the Blackhawks out of the bidding for his services.
COULD THE RED WINGS SHOP ATHANASIOU?
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Despite the Red Wings’ recent re-signing of winger Andreas Athanasiou to a two-year, $6-million contract, Helene St. James said it wouldn’t be surprising if they traded him at some point. “If they get a good offer — at least a second-round pick or a good prospect, preferably a defenseman — he could be flipped to help the rebuild,” she wrote.
St. James acknowledged Athanasiou’s speed and offensive skills but noted he’s a streaky scorer and his defensive game needs improvement. She suggested his new contract could also bolster his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Wings will take a “wait-and-see” approach with Athanasiou. He has good offensive skills but he always seems to leave you wanting more. If he fails to significantly improve in 2018-19, I can see the Wings attempting to move him before the Feb. 25th trade deadline.