NHL Rumor Mill – July 20, 2018
Latest on Tyler Seguin and Artemi Panarin plus an update on the Penguins in your NHL Rumor Mill.
SHOULD CANADIENS TARGET SEGUIN NEXT JULY?
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan wonders if Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin would want to play for the Montreal Canadiens if he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. He notes the Canadiens struck out on John Tavares and Paul Stastny this summer, as the pair indicated they had no interest in coming to Montreal.
The Habs would have the cap space to spend on UFAs next summer, if any of them want to come to Montreal. Cowan notes The Hockey News recently name Seguin as next summer’s top UFA.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t hold your breath, Canadiens fans. If Seguin hits the open market next summer, why would he want to come to a team that’s overdue for a rebuild? A club that’s in one of the most demanding markets in hockey and also has the highest taxes in the league?
Don’t tell me he’d be enticed by the opportunity to play for hockey’s most storied franchise. The Canadiens won their last Stanley Cup 25 years ago, haven’t come close since and aren’t even in the conversation as legitimate Cup contenders for 2018-19. Don’t try to convince me he wants to play alongside Carey Price and Shea Weber or to reunite with his buddy and former Stars teammate Jordie Benn. Those aren’t good enough reasons to entice him to Montreal.
Sure, the Canadiens will have the cap space to make Seguin a lucrative offer if he tests the UFA market. They also had the cash to make competitive pitches for Tavares and Stastny this summer. If money wasn’t good enough to even get them into the bidding for those two, why would anyone think that’s enough to entice Seguin?
PANARIN GIVES BLUE JACKETS A CONTRACT DEADLINE
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin informed general manager Jarmo Kekalainen “that he wants all business matters pushed aside as of Sept. 13, the day training camp opens in Columbus and across the NHL. Panarin’s agent confirmed this.” Dan Milstein said his client hates the business side of hockey and wants to focus on playing.
Portzline said that deadline is meaningless as Panarin is currently unwilling to negotiate a contract extension. He feels it could carry more weight on the trade front if the Jackets decide to move the winger. Portzline assumes the Jackets could get a larger return from a team that knows it could sign Panarin to an extension. If the winger insists on that deadline, the Jackets will have less than two months to make their best trade or a deal that provides the best short-term return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Panarin isn’t interested in talking contract, the Jackets must either trade him or lose him for nothing next summer to free agency. If they don’t move him before the start of the season, they risk having his contract status becoming an unnecessary distraction. While both Kekalainen and Milstein say they expect Panarin will be in the Blue Jackets’ lineup at the start of the season, it doesn’t mean he’s going to finish the season with them.
LATEST ON THE PENGUINS
TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie reports the Pittsburgh Penguins addition of Derek Grant yesterday gives the club a logjam at center. “Of the 15 forwards who could conceivably be on the team’s opening night roster, six – Crosby, Malkin, Grant, Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan and Matt Cullen – list center as their primary position.”
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said some of those centers, such as Grant, Cullen and Sheahan, can also play on the wing. Bombulie also suggests a trade is a possibility. Outside of untouchables Crosby and Malkin, Brassard could fetch the best return, perhaps to bring in a scoring left winger. He also acknowledged Brassard might also address that need if they try him at that position.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bombulie cites Rutherford saying the addition of Grant provides his coaches with more flexibility. It also gives the Penguins GM depth at a position that other teams lack. That could make Rutherford very popular among clubs in need of centers with depth in wingers later in the season.