NHL Afternoon Rumor Mill – June 19, 2019
The Ducks buy out Corey Perry, updates on Jake Gardiner, plus the latest on the Bruins and Blackhawks in today’s NHL afternoon rumor mill update.
DUCKS BUY OUT PERRY
TSN: The Anaheim Ducks have bought out the final two years of right wing Corey Perry’s contract. Because of his no-movement clause, he doesn’t get placed on unconditional waivers. Perry becomes an unrestricted free agent. Ducks general manager Bob Murray called the move “one of the most difficult decisions” in his 44 years in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In his prime, Perry was one of the best players in the league. During his 14 seasons with the Ducks, he scored 372 goals and 776 points. He helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and in 2011 took home the Hart and Art Ross trophies.
In recent years, however, Perry’s production steadily declined. A knee injury limited him to just 10 points in 31 games this season. Nevertheless, he’ll likely draw interest in this summer’s UFA market. His lack of speed and age (34) will likely limit him to a low-cost, one-year contract. Don’t be surprised if his name frequently surfaces in the UFA rumor mill.
LATEST ON JAKE GARDINER
VANCOUVER SUN: Patrick Johnston reports the Canucks are interested in pursuing Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner when he hits the open market on July 1. Sources say Gardiner is intrigued by the Canucks, but Johnston believes they won’t be the only suitors. He expects the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, and Dallas Stars could use a blueliner of his skill set. Johnston also points out recent rumors suggesting Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere might be available and hopes the Canucks would pursue him.
THE ATHLETIC: Sean Shapiro believes the Dallas Stars have Gardiner on their list of free-agent targets. He would fit the role of top-four defenseman but Shapiro points out he comes with some risk. The 28-year-old is a left-handed shot who can only play on his strong side. He will require a lucrative new contract and missed time this season with a back injury. Shapiro thinks the Stars could also target Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Erik Karlsson no longer on the market, Gardiner becomes this summer’s top UFA defenseman. He could seek around $7 million per season on a long-term deal. I believe the Stars’ priority is re-signing Mats Zuccarello or finding a suitable replacement up front. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $70 million tied up in 19 players. Once they sign Zuccarello or another forward there might not be enough left for Gardiner. Stralman could be a more cost-effective option.
The Canucks, on the other hand, have plenty of salary cap space and an urgent need for experienced blueline depth. Still, GM Jim Benning will have to prove to Gardiner that the Canucks are heading in the right direction.
BRUINS SEEK A TOP-SIX WINGER
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty yesterday reported Bruins president Cam Neely suggested his club could target a top-six forward in the near future. “I know it’s been talked about at length about another top-six forward, so we’ll see where that ends up,” Neely said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could add more fuel to the Torey Krug trade speculation that surfaced in recent days. He’s a year away from UFA status. Haggerty recently suggested he’d be a perfect trade chip to land that elusive top-six winger.
One name to keep an eye on for the Blackhawks when free agency begins…Anders Lee. I’m told his preference is to return to NYI, but might be looking for more term that they’re willing to offer.
— Jay Zawaski (@JayZawaski670) June 18, 2019