NHL Rumor Mill – March 11, 2019
Latest on the Flyers and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
COULD THE FLYERS TRADE A DEFENSEMAN THIS SUMMER?
COURIER-POST ONLINE: In a recent mailbag segment, Dave Isaac was asked which Flyers fan favorite has the best chance of being traded at the 2019 NHL Draft or in the offseason. He noted defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was the subject of speculation leading up to the recent trade deadline. Trading him then, when his play wasn’t at peak level, wouldn’t have fetched a quality return. He doesn’t see any sense in moving Gostisbehere “unless they’re in the market for a top-tier defenseman to play with Ivan Provorov, which may be the case.”
Isaac points out Provorov and Travis Sanheim are due new contracts this summer and Robert Hagg, and Phil Myers are due next summer. Carrying eight defensemen, he believes they can’t keep everyone, suggesting “two of (Andrew) MacDonald, Gostisbehere and Hägg leave for a new acquisition.” He wonders if general manager (and former Minnesota Wild GM) Chuck Fletcher might try to acquire Jared Spurgeon from his former club.
Isaac also speculates the Flyers could be among the bidders for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin via unrestricted free agency. If they want to go the offer-sheet route, Toronto’s Mitch Marner or Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point would garner interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flyers are going to move Gostisbehere, they must ensure they can replace him with a quality return. Spurgeon may be a better all-around defenseman than the 25-year-old Gostisbehere but he’s older (29), carries a larger cap hit for next season (over $5.18 million) and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. He also carries a 10-team no-trade list and the Wild might not be keen to move him.
The Flyers might be able to move MacDonald in a cost-cutting deal if they’re willing to include a decent draft pick or prospect. Otherwise, their best option might be going the buyout route.
With over $46.8 million invested in 13 players, the Flyers have sufficient cap space to re-sign Provorov, Sanheim, and winger Travis Konecny, re-sign or replace Brian Elliott or Cam Talbot and still pursue an impact player like Panarin via free agency.
WILL THE CANUCKS RE-SIGN EDLER OR SIGN AN IMPACT PLAYER?
THE PROVINCE: Ed Willes believes a contract extension between the Vancouver Canucks and defenseman Alexander Edler seems inevitable, but he wonders what the terms could be. Canucks general manager Jim Benning remains confident an agreement can be reached with the veteran blueliner, who remains fiercely loyal to the only NHL team he’s ever played for. Edler turns 33 in April and has an injury history that could raise concerns.
VANCOUVER SUN: Willes also believes the Canucks are still about five or six players away from being taken seriously as a playoff contender. They still lack scoring punch beyond their top line and their blueline remains porous. While some of the solutions could come from within their system, Willes believes the Canucks need to add an impact player on defense and at least one at forward. They haven’t had much luck via unrestricted free agency but he feels they have little choice after four straight seasons near the bottom of the standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have over $50.5 million invested in 15 players. Edler is their noteworthy UFA while Brock Boeser, Ben Hutton, Josh Leivo, Nikolay Goldobin, and Markus Granlund are their notable restricted free agents.
Edler might be receptive to a two- or three-year contract worth between $5 million to $5.5 million per season. Boeser is coming off his entry-level contract and could seek a lucrative long-term deal. The others should be affordable re-signings unless the Canucks intend to use the money they would’ve used to re-up those players to put toward adding talent via the UFA market.
Efforts to add via unrestricted free agency could also depend upon how much Canucks ownership is willing to spend for 2019-20. The Canucks currently have a payroll of $70.7 million, well below the $79.5 million. If they hold the line around $70 million, they’ll have around $20 million to re-sign their key free agents and to invest in one or two UFA additions. The cost of re-signing Edler and Boeser will take a big bite out of that cap space.