NHL Rumor Mill – July 17, 2018
Latest on the Boston Bruins plus updates on Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba in your NHL rumor mill.
A LOOK AT THE BRUINS’ DEFENSE AND GOALTENDING.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont wonders what the Boston Bruins defense corps will look like next season with their recent addition of John Moore via free agency. He suggests Moore, being a left-hand shot, “all but eliminates him” from being Zdeno Chara’s partner on the top pairing, leaving Charlie McAvoy in that spot. If Moore moves to the second pairing with Brandon Carlo, that could bump high-salaried Torey Krug ($5.25 million annually) to the third pairing.
Rumors had Krug on the trade block this spring but Dupont points out the Bruins would miss his point production. If Krug stays put, Moore could drop to the third pairing, which was filled last season by Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller. Dupont suggests perhaps moving McQuaid ($2.75-million cap hit), thus giving the Bruins around $5.75 million in cap space for 2018-19, giving the Bruins seven defenders (with Matt Grzelcyk) to work with.
NBC SPORTS: Joe Haggerty believes the Bruins’ addition of Jaroslav Halak as their new backup could provide some much-needed competition for starting goaltender Tuukka Rask. He speculates it could also open the door to the Bruins’ trading Rask for the right offer to shed the latter’s $7 million annual cap hit through 2020-21.
Haggerty pointed out Rask struggled in last spring’s playoffs, raising questions about his performance in big games. “So why not start to explore what Rask could yield in a hockey trade, and even pull the trigger if the price is right given that Halak is there as a proven starting goaltender?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what moves the Bruins’ make regarding their defense corps. One of those eight will have to be dealt or demoted. Certainly Chara, Moore, McAvoy and Carlo aren’t going anywhere and they recently re-signed Grzelcyk to a two-year deal worth $1.4 million annually. Krug, McQuaid or perhaps Miller could become fodder for trade speculation, perhaps during training camp or preseason in September.
It’s laughable to suggest Halak’s addition could give the Bruins a reason to trade Rask. Halak’s been plagued by injuries and inconsistency in recent years. Sure, he could help spark a little bit of competitiveness with Rask but he won’t steal away the starter’s job on a full-time basis.
UPDATES ON PANARIN AND TROUBA.
SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler cites The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reporting there was no contract progress between Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and winger Artemi Panarin during yesterday’s meeting between the two in Paris.
Previous reported indicated the Jackets would like to re-sign Panarin, an unrestricted free agent next July, to a long-term contract extension but the winger is reluctant to discuss a deal at this time. His agent, Dan Milstein, said his client is unsure if he wants to commit to a long-term stay in Columbus. He also confirm Kekalainen has been testing the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen and Milstein reportedly both expect Panarin will be on the Jackets roster when the season opens in October. Nevertheless the winger will remain a fixture in this summer’s trade-rumor mill. The Jackets’ asking price is believed to be a good player who can help them immediately as well as assets that could help them for the future.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe wonders if the Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba can reach an agreement on a new contract before his arbitration hearing on July 20. Though Trouba and his agent sought a trade two years ago, the blueliner’s situation has changed since then as he’s now taken on a more prominent role as a right-side defenseman alongside Josh Morrissey. He also sees the second-most ice time among the Jets on a nightly basis.
As a skilled all-around defenseman, re-signing Trouba will prove expensive. Wiebe wonders if a six-year, $36-million deal will be enticing for the 24-year-old blueliner. If this goes to arbitration, he speculates the Jets could point to Columbus’ Seth Jones (six years, $5.4-million annually) as a comparable.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it could cost closer to $7 million annually for the Jets to get Trouba signed to a long-term deal. There’s still time to get a new contract hammered out but the clock is ticking here with his arbitration hearing looming on Friday. If this goes to arbitration and Trouba gets less than he wants, it could stoke speculation that he’ll seek a trade.