NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2019
Will the Rangers pursue Artemi Panarin via free agency? Could the Devils trade Taylor Hall this summer? The latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
PANARIN ON RANGERS’ RADAR?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Bob McKenzie yesterday told Edmonton’s TSN 1260 not to be surprised if the New York Rangers pursue Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin via free agency this summer. While the Rangers are in the midst of a roster rebuild by loading up with draft picks and younger players, he also believes they want to get better in a hurry. He expects they’ll pursue someone like Panarin via free agency or could look at making a hockey trade to bring in an impact player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers have over $61.9 million invested in 17 players for 2019-20. Assuming the cap reaches a projected $83 million, they’ll have over $21 million to invest in those free agents and to pursue a big-name talent via free agency or the trade market.
Their notable free agents include Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, Neal Pionk, Anthoney Deangelo, and Fredrik Claesson. All are restricted free agents and should be affordable re-signings, leaving sufficient cap room to be competitive bidders for someone like Panarin.
COULD THE DEVILS TRADE HALL THIS SUMMER?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero will have no choice but to trade Taylor Hall if the left winger doesn’t commit to a new contract by the draft weekend (June 21-22). Hall has one season remaining on his current deal and becomes eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks ended with the line, “Isn’t that right, Scott Malkin?”, referencing one of the co-owners of the New York Islanders, who saw their franchise player (John Tavares) sign with Toronto last summer. In other words, Brooks feels the Devils will want to avoid the same scenario with Hall.
It’s too early to determine if that’s the case, but we can expect speculation over Hall’s future in New Jersey to increase once the playoffs end in early-June and teams become more active in the trade market. The Devils are undoubtedly willing to sign Hall to a lucrative long-term extension, but it could come down to whether he feels the club is heading in the right direction.