NHL Rumor Mill – October 11, 2018
Updates on Artemi Panarin, Alex Edler and Sam Bennett, plus some salary-cap speculation, in your NHL rumor mill.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”
SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman believes Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin could be next to follow “John Tavares’s free-agent setup.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Panarin’s not going to re-sign with the Blue Jackets and will instead meet with several other interested clubs in late-June before deciding on July 1 which one he’ll sign with. Friedman recently suggested the New York Rangers could be a serious contender for Panariin’s services.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, speculated over Panarin “pulling an Erik Karlsson” by not signing a contract extension through a trade, turning the winger into a playoff rental and thus adversely affecting his trade value.
LeBrun believes Panarin wants to go to a big-market club such as one of the New York teams, Tampa Bay or in L.A. For now, he believes the winger wants to focus on helping the Blue Jackets this season and then cashing in elsewhere in the offseason.
I don’t see the Blue Jackets trading Panarin while they’re a playoff contender. However, if they fall out of postseason contention before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline I think they’ll move him to the highest bidder.
Friedman reports Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler has made it clear he doesn’t want to leave Vancouver. His contract expires at the end of this season. Friedman said the Tampa Bay Lightning expressed interest in Edler a year ago. “Someone’s going to want him as a rental, even if he returns to British Columbia next year,” said Friedman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edler has a no-trade clause in his contract and could waive it if Canucks management tells him they don’t intend on re-signing him. Perhaps he’ll also agree to become a playoff rental if he gets assurances from the Canucks that they’ll bring him back next summer.
Friedman said Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett has attracted interest from several clubs over the years, including “Anaheim, Montreal, Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay.” Despite Bennett’s struggles, Friedman isn’t convinced the Flames will trade the youngster, citing his age (22) and concern he could blossom elsewhere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman also mentioned Bennett’s potential and the Flames’ reluctance to move him last week. As I’ve said before, their patience isn’t endless. Bennett’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. If he fails to improve this season I can see them entertaining offers come June.
Friedman also reports the NHL provided 2019-20 salary cap estimates at last week’s Board of Governors meeting. They ranged from $81.4 million to $85.4 million, depending upon the NHLPA’s escalator clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a rumor but it’s worth keeping in mind for future trade/free agent speculation over the course of this season.