Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 10, 2019
Latest on Erik Karlsson, Tyson Barrie, and Kevin Shattenkirk in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SHOULD THE SHARKS RE-SIGN ERIK KARLSSON?
THE MERCURY NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Paul Gackle was asked how much it might cost the San Jose Sharks to re-sign defenseman Erik Karlsson and if they were a better team with him. Gackle speculates Karlsson could seek between $11 million and $13 million on an eight-year contract, taking up a significant chunk of the Sharks’ salary-cap space.
Karlsson’s injury-related absences from the lineup this season haven’t adversely affected the Sharks. Indeed, Gackle believes they’re better without the former Norris Trophy winner. If they don’t re-sign Karlsson, he feels they should put that cap space toward re-signing their other free agents or to pursue other UFAs this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of CBA rules, Karlsson and the Sharks could not sign a new contract until March 1. With the club playing so well in Karlsson’s absence, perhaps GM Doug Wilson is taking a wait-and-see approach.
Karlsson was acquired for the purpose of turning the Sharks into a Stanley Cup contender. While his presence in the lineup certainly doesn’t hurt their chances, their performance without him suggests he might not be as vital to their long-term plans as originally perceived.
COULD THE AVALANCHE PART WAYS WITH BARRIE THIS SUMMER?
DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports the combination of two promising young puck-moving defensemen in Cale Makar and Conor Timmins could make Tyson Barrie expendable before the final year of his contract with the Colorado Avalanche expires at the end of next season. He suggests Barrie’s $5.5-million cap hit could be used elsewhere, while Makar and Timmins are on affordable entry-level deals.
Barrie said he loves playing in Denver and intends to seek a contract extension with the Avalanche as soon as possible. Chambers feels they won’t trade him if they don’t believe they can trade him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie has frequently surfaced over the last two years in the trade-rumor mill. However, it may be premature to suggest he’s on his way out of Colorado.
Makar and Timmins are promising but they haven’t played a single NHL game yet. Timmins has also been waylaid this season by a concussion. My guess is the Avs will retain Barrie for next season and see how well Makar and/or Timmins adjust to the NHL game, provided they can crack the roster on a full-time basis.
COULD THE RANGERS BUY OUT SHATTENKIRK?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Rangers could be forced to consider buying out the remaining two years of Kevin Shattenkirk’s contract if he fails to show improvement over the remainder of this season. His performance has declined since suffering a knee injury in 2017 and he’s struggled to adjust in a league that’s trending toward speed. He’s also been a healthy scratch twice this season.
Brooks feels a buyout wouldn’t be preferable but neither is the prospect of Shattenkirk become a regular roster scratch. Buying out Shattenkirk would come at a salary-cap hit of “$1,483,333 for next season, $6,083,333 for 2020-21 and $1,433,333 for each of the two seasons following that.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second season that bites hard into the Rangers’ cap hit. If it stayed at around $1.4 million per season throughout, I don’t think Rangers management would think twice about buying out Shattenkirk.
They could attempt to move him in a cost-cutting trade but they’ll either have to take back a toxic contract in return or package Shattenkirk with a first- or second-round pick or a top prospect. He also has a 10-team no-trade list. They could be forced to keep Shattenkirk for next season and buy him out then, but the cap hit for the first year would be $5.316 million.