NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2019
Does a swap of Subban-for-Voracek make sense? Should the Canadiens pursue Justin Williams this summer? Which Capitals could be on the move this summer? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
VORACEK FOR SUBBAN?
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes the Philadelphia Flyers should swap winger Jakub Voracek for Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban. Noting recent speculation suggests the 29-year-old Subban could be available, Carchidi feels he’d be a perfect fit on the Flyers blueline. He points out Subban is a right-handed shot, a former Norris Trophy winner who plays with an edge. He would become a leader in the Flyers’ dressing room and complement Ivan Provorov on their top defense pairing.
Carchidi notes Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher has a close relationship with Predators GM David Poile. He also points out Predators coach Peter Laviolette is a former Flyers bench boss who knows some of their current players well. Carchidi believes Voracek’s offensive skills would make him a good fit with the Predators. If Poile wants a defenseman included in the deal, Carchidi recommends Robert Hagg.
Trading Voracek for Subban would leave the Flyers in need of a scoring winger. Carchidi proposed using their salary-cap space to pursue a winger like Artemi Panarin, Jeff Skinner, Anders Lee or Gustav Nyquist via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carchidi is just making a trade suggestion. He’s not saying the Flyers and Predators are discussing a Subban-for-Voracek swap. Still, it’s an interesting scenario with its share of positives and negatives.
Carchidi touched on the positives for both clubs but there are downsides to this. Subban was plagued by a back injury this season which hampered his production. It could be a sign that his style of play is catching up with him. We also don’t know if Subban’s outsized personality would be a good fit with the Flyers. Voracek’s stats tend to fluctuate from season to season, raising concerns about his consistency. The Preds would get some cap relief, moving out Subban’s $9.5 million for Voracek’s $8.25 million, but they’d be taking on a longer-term contract.
So what say you, Flyers and Predators fans? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.
LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION
TVA SPORTS: Louis Jean reported Carolina Hurricanes captain Justin Williams considered signing with the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent in 2015. He ultimately joined the Washington Capitals.
With Williams due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Jean-Charles Lajoie wondered if the Habs should take a run at signing him. Yvon Pedneault believes they’ll have to overpay because of Quebec’s high taxes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That ship has sailed. If Williams decides to continue playing, he’ll re-sign with the Hurricanes.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes the Canadiens must explore adding an experienced backup to reduce the workload on starting goalie Carey Price. Potential options could include Philadelphia’s Cam Talbot, Carolina’s Curtis McElhinney, and Ottawa’s Anders Nilsson.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Other backup options for the Canadiens could include Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo, Carolina’s Petr Mrazek, Buffalo’s Linus Ullmark, and Chicago Cam Ward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot is expected to be re-signed by the Flyers. I can see the Hurricanes keeping the tandem of Mrazek and McElhinney intact. With Sergei Bobrovsky expected to depart via free agency in July, the Jackets could hang onto Korpisalo. The Sabres consider Ullmark a future starter. That leaves Nilsson and Ward, who won’t be re-signed by their current clubs.
LATEST ON THE CAPITALS
THE ATHLETIC: Chris Kuc speculated Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen could be shopped this summer as a cost-cutting measure. He’s signed through 2020-21 with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.75-million. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan must decide if he’ll re-sign restricted free agent winger Andre Burakovsky and UFA wingers Brett Connolly and Carl Hagelin. Kuc doesn’t expect free agents Brooks Orpik, Devante Smith-Pelly and Dmitrij Jaskin will be back.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan thinks the Capitals would prefer retaining Burakovsky because they don’t have much offense in their pipeline right now. Given their salary-cap constraints, trading Burakovsky is a possibility. If they don’t shed salary, they can’t afford to re-sign Burakovsky, Connolly or Hagelin. Trading Niskanen could address that issue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Capitals have over $72.6 million invested in 17 players. In addition to Burakovsky, Connolly, and Hagelin, they must also re-sign winger Jakub Vrana, who’s coming off an entry-level contract and had a 24-goal, 47-point campaign. They could attempt to sign him to an affordable short-term bridge contract with the promise of a bigger raise after that. However, they’ll still need to free up some room if they wish to re-sign the other three.
Niskanen has a 10-team no-trade list but that still give the Capitals 20 potential trade destinations. He could also agree to expand his list. Given the market for skilled right-shot defensemen, the 32-year-old Niskanen could attract interest in this summer’s trade market.