NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2018
Updates on Erik Karlsson, Artemi Panarin, Max Pacioretty, Jeff Skinner and Jacob Trouba in your NHL Rumor Mill.
KARLSSON, PANARIN, PACIORETTY AND SKINNER
NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman yesterday provided updates on the status of Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin, Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty and Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner.
Regarding the trade chatter earlier this month linking Karlsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights, Friedman doubts it was as close as rumor had it. He said an NHL GM last week told him there’s a sense that Karlsson would prefer remaining an Ottawa Senator but not under the current situation. Friedman sees one holdup being ownership wanting winger Bobby Ryan to be part of the deal. He doesn’t see many teams able to do it.
If Karlsson goes to Tampa Bay, Friedman doesn’t see him getting the eight-year, $11-million extension that Drew Doughty got with the Los Angeles Kings. If he goes to the Stars, it’ll likely be as a rental. He feels the Golden Knights would have more interest in Senators’ forward Mark Stone than Karlsson. Ultimately, Friedman believes we’re in a holding pattern as offers that would entice the Senators pull the trigger aren’t there right now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a lot of factors affecting a Karlsson trade. His status next summer as an unrestricted free agent and the high cost of re-signing him are the biggest. Taking on his current $6.5-million cap hit is another. The Lightning were rumored to be trying to get a third team involved in hopes of shedding extra salary to make room for Karlsson.
The Sens’ high asking price, which could also include taking Ryan’s $7.25-million annual cap hit through 2021-22 off their hands, is certainly a big sticking point. They reportedly wanted the Stars to include top blueline prospect Miro Heiskanen and the Lightning to give up promising young rearguard Mikhail Sergachev.
When the Chicago Blackhawks last week shipping Marian Hossa’s contract to Arizona, Friedman wondered if they would be looking at Pacioretty. He believes the Canadiens will trade their captain sooner or later. He also notes Skinner is a similar player to Pacioretty and thinks those two are in a holding pattern as well.
Friedman believes teams are looking at those assets and hoping to out-wait Montreal and Carolina in hopes of getting a better deal. He noted the Pittsburgh Penguins had looked at Skinner and wouldn’t be surprised if they have more interest in the Hurricanes’ winger than in Pacioretty.
Friedman also pointed out that Hawks general manager Stan Bowman had hinted he might wait to see how arbitration affects certain teams before making their move and believes they’re not the only team thinking that way.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Karlsson, Pacioretty and Skinner are eligible next summer for UFA status. The Canadiens had a deal in place at the draft that would’ve sent Pacioretty to the Kings but it fell through over lack of agreement on a contract extension. If both players are intent on testing next summer’s UFA market, it effectively makes them rental players for the coming season and could affect their trade value.
Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins’ recent addition of Derek Grant leaves them with just over $1 million in projected cap space. They’d have to shed considerable salary to take on Pacioretty’s $4.5-million cap hit or Skinner’s $5.725-million.
The Blackhawks, however, have over $5.4 million in cap room. Depending on what they’d have to give up, they could have an easier time fitting either guy under their cap ceiling.The Canadiens and Hurricanes would likely want a good young center (hello there, Nick Schmaltz) in return.
Based on Panarin’s reluctance to sign a contract extension at this time and his unwillingness to talk contract after Sept. 13, Friedman believes the Blue Jackets have rechecked the trade market to see who’s really interested in Panarin, what the market is and if there’s any clubs willing to swing a deal at this particular time.
Friedman’s not saying a deal will happen but he thinks the Jackets are serious about looking into it. He wonders if teams that are investing big into next season, such as the San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs, might be interested. While the Leafs can’t afford to extend Panarin he wonders if they’ll take a shot with him for a year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks’ re-signing of Evander Kane earlier this year has them set at left wing, so I don’t think Panarin’s a fit there. Based on their failed attempt at wooing John Tavares, they seemed to have more interest in landing a center.
Panarin would be a better fit with the Leafs, as he would replace the departed James van Riemsdyk at left wing. However, the Jackets want a return that helps them right away and reportedly aren’t interested in a package of picks and prospects. The asking price could be Mitch Marner or William Nylander. Since the Leafs can’t afford to extend Panarin, I doubt they’re interested in giving up a young asset for a player who could bolt via free agency next summer.
WHAT NEXT FOR TROUBA?
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe reports it’s possible an arbiter could award Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba a one-year, $5.5-million contract tomorrow. That would split the difference between what Trouba sought ($7 million) and the Jets’ proposal of $4 million. It’s also possible the two sides could reach agreement on a contract before the arbiter’s decision.
Wiebe now wonders what the long-term future holds for Trouba. He doubts the Jets will trade the blueliner if he’s unhappy over the award. He also expects Trouba will remain a Jet through the end of 2018-19, but next summer’s contract talks could get complicated with the rearguard a year away from UFA eligibility. If the two sides can’t agree on a long-term deal then, perhaps the Jets will explore his trade value next July.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Paul Wiecek thinks the history of bad blood between Trouba and the Jets worsens by going through the arbitration hearing. He believes this will leave a lasting scar in their relationship that will eventually lead to the defenseman’s departure out of Winnipeg.
Wiecek wonders if Trouba simply doesn’t want to play in Winnipeg. He points out teammates such as Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Connor Hellebuyck had no problem accepting lucrative long-term deals with the club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Wiebe that the Jets won’t trade Trouba if he gets an arbiter-awarded contract for 2018-19. A lot can happen over that period and perhaps the two sides can work out a reasonable deal next summer. But if they can’t, I think the Jets could seriously consider trading him by late-June or early-July.
Sure, they could keep Trouba for one more year and lose him for nothing to free agency, and perhaps that’ll be worth it if he helps them win the Stanley Cup by then. But it’s rarely a wise decision to lose a valuable asset for nothing.