NHL Rumor Mill – July 30, 2018
Latest on the Lightning, Stars and Panthers in your NHL rumor mill.
LIGHTNING’s DEFENSE OPTIONS
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Smith was asked about the status of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s trade talks with the Ottawa Senators regarding defenseman Erik Karlsson. While a report earlier this month suggested a deal was done pending a trade call, Smith was told it was never close. He said the Lightning expressed interest in Karlsson at the February trade deadline and will continue to look into it, but such a move would be complicated. There’s a belief the Senators aren’t necessarily in a rush to move Karlsson until they get the right price.
If the Lightning cannot land Karlsson, they could consider other options to bring in a right-side defenseman. Smith believes they’ll keep an eye on Winnipeg Jets blueliner Jacob Trouba, who was recently awarded a one-year, $5.5-million contract via arbitration. Other options could include Carolina’s Justin Faulk or Vancouver’s Chris Tanev.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Lightning hope to land Karlsson it’s assumed they’ll have to shed sufficient cap room to absorb his $6.5-million cap hit for 2018-19 and to re-sign him to a hefty raise. That’s why there was talk of the Lightning trying to get a third team, like the New York Rangers, involved in the deal.
If Karlsson proves too expensive to acquire, I can see general manager Steve Yzerman looking at more affordable options like Trouba, Faulk or Tanev.
UPDATE ON THE STARS
NHL.COM: While the NHL trade market has been quiet of late, Mark Stepneski recently reported Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said discussions with teams about possible moves still continue. “I can’t name things, but there is still lots out there,” Nill said. “We’re talking to teams. There is still a lot of movement happening within the business. I can’t say there is anything happening overnight, but there is a lot of dialogue still.” Stepneski notes the Stars were in the middle of the Erik Karlsson trade talks earlier this month but things have since died down.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill cannot publicly say which teams he’s talking to or which players he’s interested in as that would be considered tampering. I think he’s still interested in landing Karlsson.
Unlike the Lightning, the Stars wouldn’t have to shift much salary to take on Karlsson’s cap hit. Cap Friendly indicates they have a projected $6 million in available cap space with Gemel Smith as their only unsigned free agent.
The problem is likely the Senators’ asking price, as they reportedly want top prospect Miro Heiskanen as part of the deal. If Karlsson proves too costly to acquire via trade, Nill could also look at more affordable options at some point.
PANTHERS NOT DONE DEALING?
NHL.COM’s Jameson Olive recently caught up with Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon. “A quick takeaway from it is that he said there’s still a few players out there that the
#FlaPanthers like, so they might not be done this summer.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon already made a significant offseason move by giving up two draft picks to acquire winger Mike Hoffman from the San Jose Sharks. The Panthers have been linked to Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty and could perhaps have some interest in Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin or Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner.
Then again, perhaps he’s looking at signing an unrestricted free agent, though the market is now pretty much drained of quality talent.