NHL Rumor Mill – May 1, 2019
The latest on Evgeni Malkin, Kevin Shattenkirk, Mitch Marner, P.K. Subban, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
MORE MALKIN TRADE SPECULATION
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports some NHL clubs believe there could be something to the recent Evgeni Malkin trade rumors. The 33-year-old center has a full no-movement clause. Recent buzz suggests he’s taking time to decompress and consider if he’ll waive it and where he’d be willing to go. Friedman believes it would be a short list, suggesting the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers as possible destinations. Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux is reportedly against trading Malkin.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: If the Penguins are going to trade Malkin, Paul Zeise believes they should engage in a full roster rebuild. That includes trading Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist, and finding a taker for Jack Johnson’s contract. He doubts the Penguins would get the type of return for Malkin that would keep them in contention for the Stanley Cup.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Kevin Gorman believes trading Malkin would create more problems for the Penguins. He feels Malkin’s no-movement clause doesn’t give the Penguins any leverage. He suggests surrounding the center with a better supporting cast.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t sound like the notion of trading Malkin is going down well in the Pittsburgh media. I don’t fault Penguins management considering their options but his no-movement clause handcuffs them.
If Malkin doesn’t want to move, there’s nothing they can do to change his mind. They won’t reduce his ice time or banish him to the press box. If he is willing to accept a trade, there’s a good chance the clubs on his list either can’t afford his $9.5 million annual average value or the Penguins’ expensive asking price.
COULD THE RANGERS SHOP SHATTENKIRK?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers acquisition of prospect defenseman Adam Fox yesterday could lead to a trade of Kevin Shattenkirk. The 30-year-old defenseman signed through 2020-21 with an annual salary-cap hit of $6.65 million.
Brooks believes the Rangers could pick up 50 percent of his annual average value. However, they got little interest in him at the trade deadline. Those who inquired insisted the Rangers take back an onerous contract in return. Brooks also believes a corresponding decision will have to be made about acquiring Winnipeg Jets blueliner Jacob Trouba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shattenkirk’s injury history and the decline in his performance accounts for the lack of interest in the trade market. Picking up half of his salary-cap hit will help but potential suitors could still want a draft pick or prospect included in the deal. His 10-team no-trade list could also hamper efforts to move him.
OTHER RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it’s believed Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner could seek a deal comparable to teammate Auston Matthew’s $11.6 million AAV. The Leafs, meanwhile, don’t see him surpassing Chicago’s Patrick Kane ($10.5 million). They would prefer something similar to Vegas’ Mark Stone or Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov ($9.5 million) but they play in no-tax states.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Marner accepts less than $10 million annually. I can see him accepting $10.5 million, especially if the deal is front-loaded. Still, his agent could insist on something between $11-$12 million. As Friedman noted, it’ll be an interesting couple of months in Toronto.
If Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban is available this summer, Friedman points out he would’ve become a Vancouver Canuck in 2016 if the Montreal Canadiens found a way to draft center Pierre-Luc Dubois.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Canucks getting into any sweepstakes for Subban. The asking price will include a scoring forward like Elias Pettersson or Brock Boeser. Forget about it.
Zach Bogosian’s hip surgery could change the Buffalo Sabres plans for Rasmus Ristolainen. It’s rumored the Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning discussed a trade involving the defenseman. However, general manager Jason Botterill could instead look at how to help Ristolainen improve his game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Ristolainen wants a trade, I think it would be a mistake to move him. Better to find a coach or perhaps a veteran blueliner to mentor the youngster.
Friedman believes the Winnipeg Jets will try to re-sign unrestricted free agents Brandon Tanev and Ben Chiarot. To free up salary-cap room, they could shop center Mathieu Perreault. Friedman also wondered if they’d consider trading winger Nikolaj Ehlers.
Most expect Jacob Trouba to be traded. He becomes eligible next summer for UFA status. One observer wondered if the Jets could keep him for next season as an “own rental”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the Jets preferred to keep Trouba as an “own rental”, they still have to re-sign him this summer. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll likely seek around $7 million per season. With Patrick Laine and Kyle Connor to re-sign, the Jets won’t have enough to re-sign Trouba and fill out the remainder of the roster.