NHL Rumor Mill – September 17, 2018
The potential cost for the Bruins to pursue Artemi Panarin plus the latest on Darnell Nurse in your NHL rumor mill.
SHOULD THE BRUINS PURSUE PANARIN?
BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont mused over the potential cost for the Boston Bruins to pursue Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin. Noting the $2.75 million in salary-cap relief they received by shipping Adam McQuaid last week to the New York Ranger, Dupont points out they’re “on the cusp” of being able to afford Panarin’s $6-million cap hit for this season. They also have depth in young roster players and prospects to tempt Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.
Dupont wonders if Panarin, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July, would re-sign a long-term deal with the Bruins and if they would pony up $8 million per season to make him happy. He believes the Blue Jackets might want young forwards Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Donato in return but feels it would be worthwhile to acquire a winger who’s averaged 80 points per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adding an 80-point winger would provide a big boost to the Bruins second-line scoring depth. However, most of the Bruins speculation this summer suggested a preference for a power forward like Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, who’d be more affordable than Panarin.
If the Bruins are interested in Panarin they’ll want assurances they can re-sign him before pursuing a trade. For now, I think Bruins GM Don Sweeney is content to evaluate his roster over the course of this season to see how those younger assets perform.
Another factor could be salary-cap space beyond this season. Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have over $62 million tied up in 16 players with young defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, as well as promising forward Danton Heinen, due to become restricted free agents next summer. They’re likely to seek significant raises. There’s also captain Zdeno Chara to re-sign. Shipping out DeBrusk (863K cap hit for 2019-20) and Donato (another RFA) for an $8 million winger won’t leave much cap room to re-sign those other players.
WILL MORRISSEY’S NEW CONTRACT AFFECT NURSE’S NEGOTIATIONS?
NBC SPORTS: With the Winnipeg Jets re-signing defenseman Josh Morrissey to a two-year, $6.3-million contract, Scott Billeck wonders what effect it will have upon the Edmonton Oilers’ negotiations with restricted free agent blueliner Darnell Nurse. He cites TSN’s Frank Seravalli suggesting this deal should solidify the Oilers’ stance, pointing out Morrissey’s offensive numbers are better despite seeing less power-play time compared to Nurse.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites TSN’s Dustin citing multiple sources claiming the Nurse camp has placed his value at just over $4 million per season. If the Oilers are offering $3 million per season on a two-year bridge deal, Staples wonders if the two sides can meet in the middle at around $3.5 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Morrissey deal just set the value for Nurse’s next contract. I can’t see the Oilers ponying up more than that. The question now is, how long will the Nurse camp stretch this out before finally accepting the inevitable?