NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2019
The latest on Erik Karlsson, Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Torey Krug, and Nikita Zaitsev in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SHARKS AND KARLSSON TALKING CONTRACT
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz reports a league source said the San Jose Sharks are discussing an eight-year contract extension with Erik Karlsson. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The Sharks are reportedly offering Karlsson a deal comparable to the eight-year, $88-million deal Drew Doughty received last summer from the Los Angeles Kings. Karlsson has until 11:59 pm ET on June 30 to sign an eight-year deal with the Sharks. After that, he would be limited to a seven-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Karlsson’ recent injury history – including surgery earlier this month to repair a groin injury – the Sharks liked what they saw from him this season. Acquired last September from the Ottawa Senators, Karlsson had 45 points in 53 regular-season games and 16 points in 19 playoff contests.
If Karlsson gets that big contract it could affect the Sharks’ efforts to re-sign captain Joe Pavelski and future Hall-of-Famer Joe Thornton. Like Karlsson, both are due to become UFAs on July 1.
MORE KRUG TRADE SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes deciding Torey Krug’s future is the Boston Bruins’ top off-season priority. He’s a year away from UFA eligibility and in line for a big raise over his current $5.25-million annual average value.
Re-signing Krug could cost the Bruins between $6.35 million to $8 million annually on a seven- or eight-year contract. If they consider that too expensive a risk, Shinzawa speculates they could try to trade him at the NHL Draft next weekend in Vancouver.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted yesterday, Krug surfaced in last summer’s trade-rumor mill but nothing came of it. Being a year away from UFA status, however, could affect his future with the Bruins.
Krug’s an invaluable member of their defense corps and I daresay GM Don Sweeney prefers to keep him. On the other hand, he’d be a great trade asset to land that second-line scoring winger they were lacking this season. This could be worth keeping an eye on in the coming days.
OILERS AND CANUCKS EYEING ZAITSEV?
TSN: Darren Dreger noted the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers have some interest in Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. The 26-year-old rearguard recently requested a trade and Leafs management is attempting to accommodate him. Canucks GM Jim Benning recently said he’s in the market for a top-four blueliner.
SPORTSNET 650: Rick Dhaliwal said the Canucks haven’t made an offer for Zaitsev yet. He expects trade discussions involving the Leafs defenseman will heat up at the upcoming NHL Draft. “Oilers showing interest as well and no offer from them yet.”
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples considers the notion of the Oilers pursuing Zaitsev “wacky”. He wonders why the Oilers would want a third-pairing defenseman carrying a $4.5-million annual salary-cap hit over the next five years. Unless the Leafs are prepared to accept winger Milan Lucic in return, Staples believes acquiring Zaitsev doesn’t make sense for the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The notion of Zaitsev to Vancouver isn’t being well-received by Canucks followers. “No, thanks,” said the Vancouver Sun’s Patrick Johnson on Tuesday.
I don’t doubt there’s been some discussion by the Oilers or Canucks with the Leafs about Zaitsev. Both clubs could be trying to squeeze the Leafs into taking back a toxic contract or packaging a good young player with Zaitsev.
CBJ has not given permission to Panarin/Bobrovsky camp to speak directly to teams. I wondered if they might to help facilitate a sign-and-trade but so far, no. The UFA speaking period opens June 23.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 13, 2019