Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 23, 2018
More offer-sheet speculation, latest on the Flyers’ search for a goaltender and an update on Duncan Keith in today’s NHL rumor roundup.
RFAs “INTRIGUED” BY OFFER SHEETS?
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports many of next summer’s restricted free agents are “certainly intrigued” by offer sheets. While general managers, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Kyle Dubas, believe that’s “white noise”, Kypreos believes behind the scenes there’s a number of teams talking to agents saying they’re willing to offer sheet their player. He adds that there’s a big difference between saying that at Christmas time and being brave enough to do so in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kypreos was referring to Dubas after colleague Chris Johnston talked about the Leafs GM’s ongoing meetings with the agent for Mitch Marner. Johnston said Marner might prefer waiting until the offseason to talk contract, as well as wait and see what happens with fellow RFA Austin Matthews.
In recent weeks, Marner and Matthews have become the subject of growing media conjecture suggesting one or both could be offer-sheeted if still unsigned come July. While it’s certainly possible, it’s also far too early to start speculating about it. We don’t know what Dubas has in store for both guys but we do know he’s unconcerned about an offer-sheet scenario, pointing to how his salary-cap structure is set up to defend against that threat. He also has sufficient cap space to re-sign both before July 1, rendering all of this chatter meaningless.
It’s also worth remembering offer sheets are increasingly rare, with the last one signed in 2013 (Ryan O’Reilly) and the last successful signing (Dustin Penner) taking place in 2007. As Kypreos suggests, all of this offer-sheet talk now could come to nothing by next summer.
FLYERS GOALIE SEARCH
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports it’s no secret the Philadelphia Flyers are shopping around for a veteran goaltender. He said there’s “some link” between the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick. He doesn’t believe they’re in contract talks but thinks there’s been “a conversation”. He adds he wouldn’t be surprised if those links heat up in the new year.
NBC SPORTS: Tom Dougherty took note of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky’s performance during a 4-3 win over the Flyers on Saturday. He cited recent rumors claiming the Flyers could pursue Bobrovsky next summer if he tests the unrestricted free agent market. While bringing the former Flyer back to Philadelphia would be expensive, Dougherty believes Bobrovsky would be a worthwhile bridge to Carter Hart, taking the pressure off the youngster while allowing him time to develop his game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick, who turns 33 next month, is signed through 2022-23 with a $5.8-million annual average value and lacking no-trade protection, so I’m not sure what Kypreos was referring to regarding “contract talks”. Maybe he’s talking about the Kings picking up part of Quick’s annual cap hit?
Quick would be cheaper than Bobrovsky but he’s also older and has a long history of lower-body injuries. While I understand the Flyers’ need for an experienced starter to allow Hart more time to develop his game, Quick could become yet another in a long line of risky quick-fix options.
Bobrovsky, 30, is healthier than Quick but could be much more expensive to acquire. He will certainly seek top dollar next summer as the league’s only active multiple Vezina Trophy winner. His playoff record, however, leaves something to be desired.
KEITH DISILLUSIONED IN CHICAGO?
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports a source close to Duncan Keith claims the long-time Blackhawks defenseman is “disillusioned” in Chicago. Simmons wonders if the 34-year-old would be a perfect fit on the Maple Leafs blueline. “He’s got lots left,” the source said. Would you try to get him if you were the Leafs, I asked. “In a second,” was the answer.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word of Keith’s supposed disillusionment in the Blackhawks has surfaced in the Chicago media this season. He’d have to waive his no-movement clause for any club to acquire him via trade.