NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2019
Updates on Phil Kessel, four possible offer-sheet targets, and the latest on Andrei Markov in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz is puzzled by Minnesota Wild general manager Paul Fenton’s attempt to acquire Phil Kessel. Fenton reportedly offered up forwards Jason Zucker and Victor Rask to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Kessel and defenseman Jack Johnson. Kessel, however, declined to waive his no-trade clause, in part because he doesn’t consider the Wild a Stanley Cup contender.
Gretz believed Fenton’s proposed deal runs counter to the moves the Wild GM made during the season. He shipped out veterans Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, and Mikael Granlund for younger, affordable players. His effort to acquire Kessel would be shipping out younger players for aging veterans.
TRIBLIVE.COM: NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick claims Kessel will waive his no-trade clause for only one team. “I know where he wants to go and we’ll see if he gets that option,” Roenick told 550 AM in Buffalo. “He does want to go west. There is one team that he does want to go play for, and I don’t think he’ll stand for anything less.”
Roenick didn’t name that team, only hinting it’s in the American southwest. That appears to be the Arizona Coyotes, who’ve been linked to Kessel in the rumor mill.
SPORTSDAY: Josh Lile wonders if Kessel would make sense for the Dallas Stars. He believes they should at least look into that possibility. They can afford his $6.8-million salary-cap hit and he could provide them with some much-needed scoring depth. The return, however, could be a problem. Lile points out the Stars lack a player like Minnesota’s Jason Zucker to offer up to the Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If social media is anything to go by, most Wild fans are relieved that Kessel put the kibosh on that proposed deal. Gretz wasn’t the only person perplexed by Fenton’s supposed pitch for Kessel. If the Wild was one veteran scorer away from winning the Stanley Cup, it would’ve made sense. But they’re nowhere near that status.
Core forwards Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Eric Staal are in their mid-thirties and their best years are behind them. Taking on the 31-year-old Kessel and the three years remaining on his contract would’ve made them older and wouldn’t have led to any significant cap savings.
As Roenick suggests, the Coyotes could be Kessel’s preferred destination. However, I think the Penguins would want a good young forward (hello there, Clayton Keller) in return. Kessel’s cap hit could also be a concern for the Coyotes.
The Stars could use Kessel’s scoring punch. However, there’s no indication they’re on his eight-team trade list.
TOP OFFER-SHEET TARGETS
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton lists Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Mitch Marner and Kasperi Kapanen, Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Points, and Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson as prime offer-sheet targets. They play for teams with limited salary-cap space for 2019-20.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clubs with plenty of cap room next season, like the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers could make a pitch for one of those four this summer. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if somebody will go that route. Every summer, we hear conjecture about offer sheets but such deals never materialize.
As Leafs super-fan Steve Dangle observes, if an offer sheet signing is going to happen, this is the best time to do it. If it doesn’t happen, however, he believes we should all agree to never, ever, talk about them again. I can get behind that.
Former #Habs defenceman Andrei Markov has received contract offers from three NHL teams and one KHL team.
— Andrew Zadarnowski (@AZadarski) May 28, 2019