Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 15, 2018
Could the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils pursue one of the big names believed available in this summer’s trade market? Find out in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
PENGUINS COULD LOOK TO INTERNAL LEFT-WING SOLUTION
TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie last week reported the re-signing of Jamie Oleksiak leaves the Penguins “presumably set on defense”, leaving left wing as the only area to be addressed. While Montreal’s Max Pacioretty and Carolina’s Jeff Skinner are among the biggest names in this summer’s trade market, general manager Jim Rutherford claims he’s comfortable with his current lineup heading into training camp. “With that being said, at this point in July, sometimes the odd player slips through the cracks. Thought they were getting signed on July 1. We’ll stay in the loop on that if we can find somebody that we feel can help our team. Other than that, that’s about it.”
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Rather than swing a trade for Pacioretty or Skinner, Jason Mackey reported the Penguins pan to test center Derick Brassard at left wing during training camp. Brassard has spend his entire NHL career as a center. If that experiment works well, Mackey speculates Rutherford could perhaps trade left wing Carl Hagelin “and appropriate his salary elsewhere.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the past several weeks the anticipation was Rutherford sought balance between his defense and forward lines. Having addressed the blueline, however, they don’t have much cap space to take on additional salary.
There’s been frequently speculation suggesting Rutherford, the former GM of the Hurricanes, was targeting Skinner as a trade option. However, Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins have a projected $745K remaining. Unless Rutherford can do a dollar-for-dollar trade scenario or shed salary elsewhere, he doesn’t have much choice but to seek internal solutions to his club’s left-wing problem.
Hagelin’s limited production and $4-million cap hit is tough to offload as that move could also perhaps cost them a draft pick or prospect. Brassard has an eight-team no-trade list and a $3 million cap hit, as the other $2 million is held by the Vegas Golden Knights.
Rutherford’s found creative ways to bolster his roster before so we can’t rule out the possibility he’ll do so again. However, a deal that lands Pacioretty or Skinner could prove out of reach this summer.
NO BIG MOVES FOR DEVILS?
NJ.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Chris Ryan was asked if he sees the New Jersey Devils making a trade for a player like Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. He doubts they’ll go that route, noting the Devils already have depth at left wing. Panarin will also be in line for a big raise at the same time as Devils star Taylor Hall.
Regarding the defense, Ryan feels Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson is a long shot but pointed out Carolina’s Justin Faulk could be available. However, “Faulk is a right-handed defenseman, and the Devils do have Sami Vatanen and Damon Severson lined up there.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have over $23 million in cap space and were expected to make a splash in this summer’s trade or free-agent market. So far, their only notable addition was signing depth defenseman Eric Gryba to a one-year, two-way deal.
I doubt the Devils are on Karlsson’s list of preferred trade destinations. If they were to pursue Panarin, they’ll likely want to talk contract extension first, something he’s coy about doing with Columbus and the reason why his name has surfaced in the rumor mill.
Faulk is a right-handed shot but he’s also a skilled top-four defenseman who wouldn’t cost anywhere near as much as Karlsson, who also shoots right. If there’s an opportunity to acquire Faulk, I think the Devils should look into it.