NHL Rumor Mill – September 5, 2018
Latest on Max Pacioretty, how Blake Wheeler’s new contract affects the Jets’ salary-cap payroll and what the Blackhawks can do with their remaining cap space in your NHL rumor mill.
UPDATE ON PACIORETTY
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Marc de Foy reports sources say Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty and his representatives won’t negotiate a new contract once the season opens on Oct. 3. That could make the left wing not only tougher to move. He would then become a playoff-rental player, meaning the Canadiens won’t get as much back via trade as they would if he was under contract beyond the coming season.
LA PRESSE: Mathias Brunet believes Pacioretty won’t get a deal similar to the five-year, $41.25-million contract ($8.25-million annual average value) signed yesterday by Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler. He points out Wheeler reached a career-high 91 points last season, tied for the league lead last season in assists (68) and reached 74-or-more points in each of the last three campaigns. Brunet believes Pacioretty could get $7 million per season, as Evander Kane got earlier this year with the San Jose Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is trying to trade Pacioretty he faces two deadlines. If he hopes to get at least a good player in return he’ll have to move his captain before Oct. 3. Otherwise, he’ll likely have to accept a draft pick or two and/or a prospect or two before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline.
Yes, it’s possible a rival GM could panic and part with a promising youngster to Pacioretty. However, it’s worth remembering the Buffalo Sabres only a got a draft pick for Evander Kane at last year’s deadline. Bergevin could face a similar scenario with Pacioretty next February.
JETS FACE SALARY-CAP CRUNCH NEXT SUMMER
SPORTSNET; Following the Winnipeg Jets re-signing Blake Wheeler yesterday, Rory Boylen examines the salary-cap crunch they’ll face next summer. Defensemen Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers and forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor will be in line for new contracts next summer. Assuming Trouba gets $6.5-million per season, current restricted free agent Josh Morrissey gets $5.5 million, Myers between $5.5-$6 million, Connor between $6-$7 million and Laine between $9-$10 million, the Jets would be over $6 million above the salary cap (presuming the cap remains at $79.5 million).
Even if the Jets can somehow get some of those players under more cap-friendly annual average values, Boylen believes reducing that cap overage will remain difficult. “The easiest way to get there would be to let Myers become a UFA, or to trade Trouba.”
He also suggests 30-year-forward Mathieu Perreault’s $4.125-million cap hit could be too expensive for a third line. Affordable younger players such as Jack Roslovic, Kristian Vesalainen, Tucker Poolman and Sami Niku could also push for rosters spots, which could mean making room for them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An increase in the cap ceiling for 2019-20 will also provide some relief for the Jets. If, for example, the cap climbs to $82 million (a strong possibility), that cuts Boylen’s projected $6-million overage in half, making it a little easier to address that issue. Still, they’ll likely have to shed a player or two. Trouba seems the most likely trade candidate, especially if Myers is willing to accept a reasonable deal to stay in Winnipeg.
They would miss Perreault’s two-way skills if he were traded but the oft-injured forward is now 30 and likely to become less effective in the coming seasons. His absence could be offset by one of those promising youngsters. He’s under contract through 2020-21 but Cap Friendly indicates he has a five-team no-trade clause, giving the Jets some flexibility if they want to move him.
HOW WILL THE BLACKHAWKS INVEST THIS SEASON’S CAP SPACE?
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently examined what the Chicago Blackhawks could do with their remaining salary-cap space to bolster their roster for the coming season. They currently have around $6.2 million in available cap room. They could add a seventh defenseman via free agency, as Brandon Davidson will reportedly attend training camp on a professional tryout offer and could receive a one-year deal if they like what they see.
They could also see if anyone is willing to move a depth player via the trade market, or wait for better options later in the season near the trade deadline. Powers also suggests they could stand pat rather than add salary beyond this season, giving them more salary cap room to re-sign restricted free agents like Nick Schmaltz next summer and Alex DeBrincat the year after that.