NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2019
The fallout from the Karlsson signing and the Trouba trade, plus the latest on the Penguins, Bruins, Canadiens, Islanders, and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
EFFECT OF KARLSSON SIGNING ON SHARKS, UFA MARKET
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: In the wake of the San Jose Sharks re-signing Erik Karlsson, Marcus White examined its effect upon the club for the remainder of the offseason. Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist are their noteworthy unrestricted free agents. Their restricted free agents include Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc. White indicates the Sharks now have around $12.5 million in salary-cap space, leaving general manager Doug Wilson facing some tough choices.
White’s colleague Chelena Goldman expects Karlsson, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Radim Simek will likely be the staples of the Sharks blueline next season. Defensemen Justin Braun and Brenden Dillon are a year away from UFA status. Goldman suggests they could be used in off-season trades.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien observes Karlsson’s signing leaves this summer’s UFA market thin on quality defensemen. The best of the bunch include Toronto’s Jake Gardiner, Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers, Vancouver’s Alex Edler, and Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, Braun carries a salary-cap hit of $3.8 million while Dillon’s is $3.27 million. Both lack no-trade protection. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both are traded in cost-cutting deals. Even then, the Sharks probably won’t have enough cap space to re-sign everyone. Nyquist and Donskoi could be goners. Pavelski, too, if he seeks an expensive new deal.
**UPDATE** Sharks general manager Doug Wilson isn’t wasting time freeing up cap space. He traded Braun to the Philadelphia Flyers for a second-round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2020 Draft.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE JETS AND RANGERS FOLLOWING THE TROUBA TRADE?
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes more changes are coming for the Jets following yesterday’s trade of defenseman Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff faces a potential salary-cap crunch with RFAs Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Andrew Copp to re-sign. McIntyre notes there are plenty of trade rumors swirling around left wing Nikolaj Ehlers. If Ehlers is moved, McIntyre suspects it’ll be more of a hockey trade to address a specific roster need for a center or a defenseman.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers will find it expensive re-signing Trouba. The RFA blueliner could seek at least $7.5- million annually on his next contract. That could affect potential efforts to pursue a scorer like Columbus’ Artemi Panarin via free agency next month. Brooks speculates winger Chris Kreider could be shopped at the upcoming NHL draft if his asking price to re-sign proves too expensive. Kreider’s a year away from UFA status and carries an 11-team no-trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the Trouba trade, McIntyre reported Cheveldayoff said he’s still got a lot of balls in the air right now. In other words, the Jets GM might not be done dealing. Ehlers carries an expensive annual cap hit ($6 million) but lacks no-trade protection this summer. He’ll attract plenty of interest if he hits the trade block.
It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out between Kreider and the Rangers. If they intend to pursue Panarin or Matt Duchene via free agency they could move Kreider to free up cap room. They could also attempt to trade or buy out a defenseman like Kevin Shattenkirk or Brendan Smith.
Following the Sharks re-signing Erik Karlsson yesterday, Brooks wonders if San Jose GM Doug Wilson might try to acquire Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. While the Rangers aren’t shopping Lundqvist, Brooks points out the goalie’s sister lives in the San Jose area plus he’s also good friends with Karlsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks admits this is just speculation on his part. Given the Sharks’ limited cap space and Lundqvist’s no-movement clause, I don’t see the long-time Rangers goaltender going anywhere.
PENGUINS NOT SHOPPING KESSEL, MALKIN, LETANG
NHL.COM: Appearing on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan yesterday, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford admitted Phil Kessel rejected a proposed trade to the Minnesota Wild by invoking his no-trade clause. Rutherford said he’s not actively shopping the winger. When asked about trade rumors regarding center Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang, Rutherford said they’re not untouchable. However, he added they’re not players he’s pushing to move or intends to trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers aren’t buying Rutherford’s claim he’s no longer trying to trade Kessel. However, he won’t be going anywhere unless a club on Kessel’s eight-team trade list makes a great offer or the winger expands that list. I don’t see Malkin or Letang getting traded anytime soon.
UPDATE ON KRUG
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney didn’t outright reject the notion of trading Torey Krug this summer. However, he indicated he’d have to receive a mind-blowing offer to consider it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krug’s coming off arguably the best season of his career. He’s a year away from UFA status and will be an expensive re-signing for the Bruins. Nevertheless, Sweeney’s doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move Krug.
LATEST ISLANDERS SPECULATION
NEWSDAY: With Erik Karlsson and Jacob Trouba no longer available, Andrew Gross wondered who the New York Islanders’ blueline targets could be. Even with their depth on defense, Gross believes GM Lou Lamoriello won’t shy away from an opportunity to bolster his defense. Possible free-agent options could include Toronto’s Jake Gardiner, Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers, and Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman. Calgary Flames rearguard T.J. Brodie could be a trade option.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Yvon Pedneault observed there’s speculation linking the Montreal Canadiens to New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy. The 28-year-old has three years remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million. He also lacks no-trade protection and has dropped out of the Isles’ top-two defense pairings. Appearing on TVA Sports, Pedneault speculates the Isles could shop Leddy for a forward. He suggests it would cost the Canadiens Andrew Shaw and a second-round draft pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $22 million in projected cap space, the Islanders are expected to be busy in this summer’s trade and free-agent markets. If they bring in a blueliner they could put Leddy on the trade block. The Canadiens are in dire need of a top-four left-side defenseman and Leddy could interest them.
Doesn’t sound like the #Canucks and Alexander Edler will get a deal done.
Looks like 1 of the best defenseman in franchise history could be hitting the market.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) June 17, 2019