NHL Rumor Mill – September 27, 2018
Latest on William Nylander and Zack Smith in your NHL rumor mill.
LEAFS GETTING OFFERS FOR NYLANDER
SPORTSNET: During an appearance on Prime Time Sports on Tuesday, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas remains confident of re-signing restricted free agent William Nylander, who is working out back home in Sweden. He said he’d prefer getting the 22-year-old signed to a long-term contract. Dubas also admitted he’s received calls from rival GMs expressing interest in Nylander but insists he’s not on the trade block.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun also reported a couple of teams have contacted Dubas over the past seven days regarding Nylander but both were told he’s not available. ” In the meantime, you’ve heard whispers from around the league and I think it’s people gossiping more than anything else about the value of an offer sheet,” said LeBrun. He’s doubtful a club will attempt to go that route, pointing out the Leafs have plenty of salary-cap space to match.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Nylander camp seeks between $7.5 – $8 million annually while the Leafs have offered around $6 million per. Dubas knows time is on his side. The start of the season is fast approaching and Nylander has no leverage unless a rival club sends him an offer sheet, something I don’t see happening right now.
Of course, the longer this impasse drags on the more speculation will grow over the youngster’s future in Toronto. The Nylander camp could ask for a trade but I doubt the Leafs honor that request.
Bear in mind, the Leafs have until Dec. 1 to get Nylander under contract or he becomes ineligible to play for the remainder of the season. I don’t think either side wants to see it get to that point.
WHAT NEXT FOR ZACK SMITH?
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s no guarantee Zack Smith will remain with the Senators after he cleared waivers yesterday. GM Pierre Dorion attempted to move the veteran forward since last season. He couldn’t find any takers for Smith’s $3.25-million annual salary-cap hit unless he agreed to take a salary back, something the club didn’t want to do.
With teams knowing the Senators are serious about moving Smith, perhaps a deal might be possible if the Sens are willing to absorb part of the 32-year-old’s cap hit.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun also reported on the possibility of a trade if the Senators agreed to take back a contract or absorb part of Smith’s cap hit. However, LeBrun feels Smith could spend the season in Ottawa, suggesting this move was “just one quick attempt by the Senators to see if there was a taker.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the comments section yesterday, some folks wondered why the Senators tried to waive Smith as a cost-cutting measure as demoting him would only free up $925K of his cap hit this season. The reason is they didn’t intend to demote him. They were merely seeing if someone would take him and his full cap hit off their hands.
Some also noted the Senators have plenty of cap room so there was no need to make a cost-cutting move. However, it’s apparent ownership wants to shed more salary. Just because the Senators have over $8 million in salary-cap room (stick tap to Cap Friendly) doesn’t mean ownership is comfortable with that.
Unless the Senators agree to take back a salaried player or pick up part of Smith’s cap hit, I doubt they’ll find any takers.