NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2019
Latest on P.K. Subban and Kyle Turris plus a look ahead for the Avalanche in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST PREDATORS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: If the Nashville Predators were to trade P.K. Subban, Adam Vingan spoke with several of his colleagues to inquire what type of return he might fetch. They examined the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh Penguins as possible trade partners.
John Glennon wondered what the Predators will do with center Kyle Turris this summer. Injuries limited him to 23 points in 55 games. His contract ($6 million annually through 2023-24) will be difficult to trade unless the Predators absorb part of it and package him with a promising young player. A contract buyout would mean the Predators would carry an annual cap hit of $2 million per season for the next 10 years.
THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina noted Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene recently traveled to Nashville with several of his teammates. Duchene is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Predators lacked scoring punch this season and could use a top-six forward. Predators general manager David Poile hinted at offseason changes following his club’s first-round playoff elimination.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vingan and his colleagues were spitballing about what those clubs might offer up for Subban. They don’t believe the Leafs would part with Mitch Marner or the Flyers with Jakub Voracek. They don’t see the Canucks giving up any of their good young forwards. They also feel the Penguins would only go after Subban if they trade Kris Letang, which seems unlikely.
I don’t see Turris drawing much interest in the trade market this summer. Wouldn’t surprise me if Poile stands pat and hopes the center regains his form next season.
Cap Friendly indicates the Predators have over $76 million invested in 22 players. They can’t afford a UFA like Duchene unless they shed a big contract like Subban’s.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE AVALANCHE?
ESPN: Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters believe re-signing Mikko Rantanen and bolstering their goaltending depth will be among the offseason priorities for the Colorado Avalanche. They have plenty of salary-cap room to re-sign Rantanen, who could become the Avs’ highest-paid player.
It’s possible they could re-sign pending UFA Semyon Varlamov to a short-term deal but he’d have to accept a pay cut and a reduced role. They also advocate the ongoing incorporation of talented youth (such as Cale Makar) into their roster.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steven Ellis believes GM Joe Sakic’s youth movement is paying dividends. With their salary-cap space, Sakic could test the free-agent waters if he wishes to bring in a second-line scorer. Ellis suggested Micheal Ferland or Gustav Nyquist as free-agent options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember when we all chided Sakic as an incompetent general manager two years ago? Joke’s on us as the Avalanche continue to improve with their young talent. He doesn’t have to make any major acquisitions this summer if he doesn’t want to.
With over $46.8 million invested in 13 players, they have more than enough to re-sign Rantanen to a big raise (I’m guessing $9 million per season). Some might question paying him more than Nathan MacKinnon but that’s just the nature of the market now. The rising cap means good young players get more than a comparable did three years ago. MacKinnon’s $6.3 million salary-cap hit was considered a huge investment in 2016. Now, it looks like a bargain.
After re-signing Rantanen, Sakic will have enough to re-sign or replace UFAs like Varlamov, Colin Wilson, and Derick Brassard, as well as other RFAs like Alex Kerfoot, J.T. Compher, and Nikita Zadorov.
Provided ownership is willing to spend toward the projected salary cap of $83 million, there’s room to add a secondary scorer via free agency. I expect Sakic will explore the trade and UFA markets for an affordable second-line option.