NHL Rumor Mill – March 14, 2019
Latest on Brayden Point and William Karlsson plus an update on the Predators in today’s NHL rumor mill.
POINT WAITING FOR OFFSEASON TO START CONTRACT TALKS
TSN: reports Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point will wait until the offseason to begin contract negotiations. Point told Pierre LeBrun he informed the Lightning of his decision in November. He joins Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner, a fellow restricted free agent who also recently revealed his decision to wait until the offseason to start discussions toward a new contract. LeBrun also reported in his notebook for The Athletic (subscription required) that an offer sheet from a rival club isn’t part of the plan for Point and his agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Point might not be receptive toward an offer sheet but the Lightning still faces a difficult effort re-signing him. Cap Friendly reveals they have over $73 million invested in 16 players for 2019-20, with Adam Erne and Cedric Paquette also becoming restricted free agents while defenseman Anton Stralman, Braydon Coburn, Dan Girardi, and Jan Ruttu are slated to become unrestricted free agents.
Assuming the cap reaches $83 million as projected, the Lightning will have less than $10 million to re-sign or replace those players. Even if Point re-signs for less than market value (which could happen because of the absence of a state tax in Florida), his new contract could eat up 75 percent of their remaining cap space.
I expect they’ll sign Point while Erne and Paquette should be affordable re-signings, but they must free up some cap space to replace those aging UFA blueliners. The frequently sidelined Ryan Callahan ($5.8 million annually through 2019-20, modified no-trade clause) is a constant subject of trade speculation, with some suggesting they could attempt to bundle him with a draft pick or prospect to a club with the cap space to take him off their hands. Tyler Johnson ($5 million annual salary-cap hit through 2022-23, no-trade clause) has also occasionally popped up in trade chatter.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS NEED TO SHED SALARY TO RE-SIGN WILLIAM KARLSSON
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Having re-signed Mark Stone to an eight-year, $76-million contract, the Vegas Golden Knights have over $83 million invested in 17 players. Jesse Granger believes they’ll have to shed salary to free up room for Karlsson’s new contract, though general manager George McPhee doesn’t appear too concerned about it. Granger speculates they could shed salary by shopping Cody Eakin or Ryan Reaves, who both have one year remaining on their contracts. Another could be moving Colin Miller, who’s earning $3.875 million annually for three more years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights will get $5.25 million of cap relief to start the season by placing the all-but-retired David Clarkson on long-term injury reserve to start the season. Nevertheless, McPhee will have to make a couple of salary-dumping deals.
Re-signing Karlsson, a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, will cost at least $5.25 million, which is what he’s making on his current one-year contract. Moving Eakin and Reaves would free up over $6 million. That would free up enough room for Karlsson and others but it’ll be a tight fit.
UPDATE ON THE PREDATORS
THE TENNESSEAN: In a recent mailbag segment, Paul Skrbina was asked about the possibility of the Nashville Predators signing Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene as a free agent this summer, re-signing Wayne Simmonds or re-signing Brian Boyle. He thinks Predators GM David Poile might pursue Duchene, pointing out the club has the salary-cap space to sign him. He doesn’t rule out re-signing Boyle but sees Simmonds as strictly a rental player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have over $74.5 million tied up in 18 players for 2019-20. Assuming an $83 million salary-cap, that leaves less than $9 million. Duchene is earning $6 million annually on his current deal and could seek around $8 million per on his next contract. Unless the Preds shed salary, he’s not coming to Nashville.