NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2019
Latest on Mitch Marner, Sebastian Aho, Wayne Simmonds, Brett Connolly and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL MARNER SIGN AN OFFER SHEET?
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston wonders if Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner will use the restricted free agent window to meet with other teams. Only one other player (Shea Weber in 2012) has done so publicly. He noted the Marner camp “want to get the lay of the land through phone conversations.” It remains to be seen, however, if a rival club will sign him to an offer sheet.
Dreger says on TSN1050 that there are 3 teams meeting with Marner for sure and maybe a 4th.
Dreger says that an agent and a NHL exec told him could be an offersheet “in the teens”. 13, 14Mx5 years.
If another team wants to pay 13M+4 1sts for Marner they can go right ahead lmao
— James (@Account4hockey) June 25, 2019
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paying over $13 million annually for four years plus giving up four first-round picks as compensation is a hefty price for Marner. He’s a terrific young player and I have no issue with him using his rights as a restricted free agent to explore his options. However, he’s not a generational talent like Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. Any team ponying up that much will be overpaying for his services.
However, Marner’s also worth much more than those who believe he should get slightly more than William Nylander’s $6.96 million per season. He’s led the Leafs in scoring twice in his short career, becoming the first Leaf since Mats Sundin to reach 90 points. His camp can make a good case that he’s worth $11 million per season.
UPDATE ON THE HURRICANES’ KEY FREE AGENTS
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell continues talks with Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney. Both goaltenders are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Waddell’s had daily discussions with Mrazek but less so with McElhinney. He also indicated Scott Darling could be bought out, though the club is exploring other options.
Waddell believes there’s no rush to get a decision from captain Justin Williams about his plans. He added he had a good talk with Justin Faulk’s agent. Faulk has a year remaining on his contract. Waddell claims he feels no sense of urgency to re-sign or trade Faulk.
The Hurricanes GM also said discussions are ongoing with Sebastian Aho, expressing confidence the RFA center will be re-signed before training camp. Waddell also dismissed talk of Aho or other RFAs getting offer sheets, claiming it’s being overblown by the media.
— 𝑩𝑳𝑯⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (@BeerLeagueHeroe) June 24, 2019
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were a Hurricanes fan I wouldn’t be too concerned about that eight-year offer for Aho. That could merely be their opening pitch.
Aho is definitely worth more than that. He was their leading scorer in each of the last two seasons and their top scorer in this year’s playoffs. The 21-year-old center is steadily improving, going from 49 points as a rookie in 2016-17 to 65 points in 2017-18 to 83 points this season. He’s getting much more than $6 million annually.
CANADIENS INTERESTED IN SIMMONDS?
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: The Montreal Canadiens are among what’s believed to be a dozen teams to contract Wayne Simmonds. The 30-year-old right winger is slated to become a UFA on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buyer beware with Simmonds. In his prime, he was a skilled, physical two-way winger. Pelvic surgery last spring, however, took a toll on his performance this season. For the first time since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, he didn’t reach 20 goals or 45 points. He might be worthwhile on a one- or two-year deal but I’d be reluctant to invest too much for too long.
OILERS TALKING WITH CONNOLLY
THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites an interview with UFA winger Brett Connolly’s agent Gerry Johansson with 630 CHED’s “Oilers Now”, indicating he’d had a good conversation with the Edmonton Oilers about his client. “There’s not a much better opportunity in the NHL than the right side in Edmonton,” he said. “That’s a pretty big opportunity for someone like Brett. And obviously he’s a (Prince George, British Columbia) guy, so he’s a western Canadian.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers lack skilled scoring depth at right wing. Connolly’s completing a two-year, $3-million contract with the Washington Capitals.
Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers have over $8.33 million in salary-cap space. If Connolly’s seeking a reasonable raise (around $4 million annually), the Oilers can afford him. However, they might have to part ways with Alex Chiasson or shed some salary to sign him or other players.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 25, 2019