NHL Rumor Mill – February 11, 2019
Latest on the Ducks, Leafs, and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE DUCKS?
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: In the wake of the Anaheim Ducks firing head coach Randy Carlyle, Mark Whicker suggests everyone who can be traded (other than goaltender John Gibson) shouldn’t be surprised if they’re moved by the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
The roster reconstruction cannot truly begin until the Ducks find a way to shed the contracts of aging veteran forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler. “All three have no-movement deals. Kesler is owed $6.67 for the next three seasons after this one. Getzlaf gets $8.275 million and $6 million, Perry $8 million and $7 million.”
Murray said he had “no fear” about asking any of them to waive their clause, but Whicker feels that’s unlikely to happen in 2019. Buyouts would be a drastic option but the Ducks GM has ownership permission to do whatever it takes to get the club back on track.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the three, the 33-year-old Getzlaf would have the most trade value. While his production is down this season he’s still on pace for a 55-point performance and could be rejuvenated on a deeper roster in a second-line role. His annual cap hit, however, would be a big stumbling block unless the Ducks absorb part of it.
Perry was in steep decline prior to suffering a knee injury that sidelined him for half of this season. Kesler hasn’t been the same since undergoing hip surgery two years ago. I don’t see much of a market for either guy unless the Ducks pick up a big chunk of their respective salary-cap hits and include a draft pick or prospect in the deal.
Buying out Getzlaf or Perry would be stretched over four seasons, with the second season as the most costly. Kesler‘s would count as over $2.4 million per season over the first three seasons and over $2.2 million annually over the final three.
SOME COST-CUTTING OPTIONS FOR THE LEAFS
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen suggested William Nylander, Patrick Marleau, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Connor Brown, and Nikita Zaitsev as six possible trade candidate to ease the Toronto Maple Leafs’ upcoming salary-cap crunch.
Boylen believes Nylander holds the longest odds of being traded, noting the winger claimed GM Kyle Dubas assured him he wouldn’t be traded. Marleau’s contract is buyout-proof and he holds a no-movement clause but perhaps there’s an outside chance he returns to San Jose to finish his career.
The Leafs like how Kapanen and Johnsson have developed but it will prove costly to re-sign the duo. Brown has slipped down the depth chart and become more expendable. Zaitsev hasn’t played up to the six-year, $31.5-million contract handed him by former Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello. Dubas might have to pick up part of his $4.5-million annual cap hit to facilitate a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Leafs fans would love to see Nylander traded this summer. As Boylen observed, however, the long contract standoff to sign him would be pointless if Nylander was a player they didn’t want to keep. He’ll silence his critics as he regains his form.
Marleau could waive his clause to return to San Jose this summer but the Sharks have moved on without him. Should they re-sign Erik Karlsson, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi and Timo Meier, they won’t have enough cap space for Marleau even if the Leafs agreed to pick up half of his $6.25-million contract. Retirement won’t help matters. He’s on a 35-plus contract meaning that cap hit still counts against the Leafs payroll.
The Leafs don’t want to move Kapanen and Johnsson. They’d likely prefer moving Brown and Zaitsev. Of the two, Brown’s $2.1-million cap hit for 2019-20 is more palatable for rival clubs than Zaitsev’s $4.5-million through 2023-24. Even by absorbing half of Zaitsev’s cap hit, the long term remaining on his contract could be a deal breaker.
LATEST ON THE SENATORS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports clarity is expected later this week on the status of Senators pending free-agent forwards Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, and Ryan Dzingel. If Duchene and Stone are to be traded, Garrioch speculates the Senators could re-sign Dzingel, though there’s a chance he could also be moved if he’s seeking a long-term deal worth between $5.5-$6 million annually.
The price for Duchene and Stone will be high, as both can be difference-makers for Cup contenders this spring. Garrioch suggests the Senators could seek three assets for each, including a first-round pick. The asking price for Dzingel could be a first-rounder.
Garrioch believes the “Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights, Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins, and Pittsburgh Penguins” are expected to be among the teams shopping around leading up to the deadline.