NHL Rumor Mill – July 18, 2018
Will the Blackhawks make another notable move this summer? Will there be an end to the offer-sheet drought? Find out in today’s installment of your NHL rumor mill.
NO BIG MOVES COMING THIS SUMMER FOR THE BLACKHAWKS?
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports help might not be coming to the Chicago Blackhawks this summer. Despite freeing up salary-cap room by shipping Marian Hossa’s contract last week to the Arizona Coyotes, general manager Stan Bowman “sounded as though he has come up empty-handed” in making bigger moves while speaking with the local press yesterday. He did leave the door open for a late-summer or early-fall deal once teams have evaluated their rosters during preseason play.
Lazerus believes Bowman would love to land a winger for Patrick Kane’s line or a defense partner for Duncan Keith. However, he’s not going to part with promising young forwards Nick Schmaltz and Alex DeBrincat to do so. The recent return of Marcus Kruger could make center Artem Anisimov expendable but Lazerus doubts they’ll get much for him except more cap space, which they already have.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors linked the Blackhawks to Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner and defenseman Justin Faulk, as well as Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty. Lazerus ponders the possibility of the asking price for one of those players dropping later on in 2018-19.
It’s obvious Bowman doesn’t want to part with key pieces of his club’s future (Schmaltz or DeBrincat) to bring in a veteran forward (Skinner or Pacioretty) who could depart via free agency next summer or a defenseman such as Faulk, even though he’s signed through 2019-20. It would be best to wait and see if the asking prices drop for those guys, but Bowman cannot sacrifice his good young players for quick fixes.
The Blackhawks must restock their roster with young talent capable of eventually replacing their veteran core players down the road. If that means missing the playoffs or becoming a marginal postseason contender for the next two or three years, so be it.
NHL OFFER SHEET DROUGHT LIKELY TO CONTINUE
THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports the recent drought of NHL offer sheets isn’t likely to end this summer. In an informal straw poll of nine NHL general managers, none believed we’ll see an offer sheet this summer. “I just don’t see where a team could get a player without the team matching,” said one Western Conference GM.
“In the NHL’s salary cap era, there have been eight offer sheets. All but one (Dustin Penner) was matched,” observed Custance. The last offer sheet came in 2013, when the Colorado Avalanche matched one signed by Ryan O’Reilly with the Calgary Flames.
Custance noted a list compiled by colleague Jonathan Willis of attractive offer sheet targets, such as “Calgary’s Noah Hanifin, Detroit’s Dylan Larkin, Winnipeg’s Nic Petan, Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse and Toronto’s William Nylander.” However, he believes we shouldn’t hold our breath expecting any of those players to sign one this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Custance pointed out general managers don’t like them because they drive up salaries without actually landing the player, team owners aren’t comfortable going that route, and players often instruct their agents to get a deal done with their respective teams.
He noted there are several theories that could improve the odds (better compensation, targeting teams that don’t offer signing bonuses or young players looking for opportunities elsewhere). Even those, however, aren’t likely to considerable increase the number of offer sheets.