NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2019
Latest on Jonathan Quick and Artemi Panarin plus a look ahead for the Chicago Blackhawks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
POSSIBLE TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR QUICK
THE ATHLETIC: Josh Cooper examined some possible trade scenarios this summer for Los Angeles Kings starting goaltender Jonathan Quick. With the Kings rebuilding with younger, cheaper players, Cooper considers Quick to be one of their top trade chips. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.8 million and lacks no-trade protection.
A former NHL goalie suggested the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers could be good fits. Cooper thinks the Columbus Blue Jackets could seek a replacement for Sergei Bobrovsky if he departs via free agency as expected this summer. He also listed the Calgary Flames and Philadelphia Flyers as possible options. The Kings, however, would have to pick up a portion of Quick’s cap hit in a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick is coming off his worst season as a starter (3.38 GAA, .888 SP) and he has a long injury history. However, he’s only a year removed from a solid 2017-18 campaign (2.40 GAA, .921 SP) and has two Stanley Cups on his resume. If the Kings were prepared to absorb a significant chunk of his cap hit, there could be a team or two willing to gamble on him.
The Oilers recently signed Mikko Koskinen to a three-year deal but they still need help between the pipes. I’m not sure their new GM will be willing to take the risk. The Flyers likely see Cam Talbot in a mentor role backing up promising Carter Hart.
The Hurricanes would probably want the Kings to take Scott Darling and his $4.15-million salary-cap hit (through 2020-21) off their books. The Flames could be an option but that will depend upon the performances of Mike Smith and David Rittich in this year’s playoffs.
The Blue Jackets could certainly be in the market for a new starter if Bobrovsky departs. If the Florida Panthers fail to sign Bobrovsky they might be willing to look at Quick.
PANARIN COULD BE AN EXPENSIVE SIGNING FOR THE RANGERS
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks noted the Rangers got a close look at a potential piece of their future when they played Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. Panarin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and isn’t expected to re-sign with the Blue Jackets. Brooks believes the Rangers will be among the suitors for Panarin, who could command at least $77 million on a seven-year deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of you will probably scoff at the notion of Panarin earning $10 million per season on his next contract. The 27-year-old left winger is among the most highly-skilled forwards in the league right now. He’s going to earn big bucks this summer.
Panarin tallied over 70 points in each of his first two seasons as a Chicago Blackhawks, netted 82 points last season with the Jackets and a career-high 87 this season. He will be the best forward available in this summer’s UFA market and will get at least $10 million per season on his next contract. The Rangers, Islanders, Panthers, and Kings are among the clubs rumored to be very interested in signing him.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLACKHAWKS?
ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters looked ahead at what the offseason might bring for the Chicago Blackhawks, who’ve missed the playoffs for the second straight year. Improving the defense via free agency appears their best bet, as they’ll have around $20 million in salary-cap space to work with this summer.
There’s also been speculation about bringing former Blackhawk winger Artemi Panarin back to Chicago. Given the health concerns of Corey Crawford, it might be wise to have a contingency plan to eventually replace him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blackhawks have over $61 million invested in 16 players, with all their core players under contract through next season. Kaplan and Peters observed general manager Stan Bowman must ensure he leaves some future cap room open for the eventual re-signings of Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome. If late-blooming blueliner Erik Gustafsson has a solid follow-up to this season’s 60-point breakout performance, they’ll have to sign him next summer.
Still, if Bowman can handle this right, he should have sufficient space to address his immediate blueline needs. Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers or Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman could be within their price range. Bowman could also consider going the trade route by targeting clubs looking to shed salary this summer.