NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2019
Updates on Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Joe Pavelski, Corey Perry, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”
SPORTSNET: Despite the Colorado Avalanche’s salary-cap space, Elliotte Friedman doesn’t see them as a destination for unrestricted free agent winger Artemi Panarin. He believes they’re also concerned about signing UFAs to long-term deals. That could affect efforts to re-sign key players like Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog down the road. He said they were looking at winger Mats Zuccarello but contract term could be an issue. Friedman thinks Joe Pavelski “makes a lot of sense here”, but the contract term makes it unlikely.
Friedman also said the Avs unwillingness to part with their first-round pick (16th overall) in this year’s draft scuttled a proposed deal for Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers. He doubts they’ll revisit their interest in Kreider. He also shot down rumors linking the Avs to Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic has lots of salary-cap space ($38.9 million, according to Cap Friendly) and is looking for more scoring punch. Shipping out Carl Soderberg earlier this week to Arizona stokes speculation he’s got bigger moves in store.
Like Friedman, I don’t see Panarin heading to Colorado but it didn’t hurt to inquire. Pavelski hasn’t met with the Avalanche but visited the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
If Sakic’s unwilling to invest too much for too long in older UFAs, he could return to the trade market. Some believe he’s preparing to sign Toronto’s Mitch Marner to an offer sheet. However, I’ve read he’s not a fan of offer sheets. I don’t think Sakic’s done making moves.
Speaking of Panarin, Friedman said it looks like the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, and New York Rangers are the front-runners for his services. The Panthers are also linked to UFA goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Friedman speculates Bobrovsky’s new contract could affect Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning netminder is a restricted free agent next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks acknowledged the Rangers are on Panarin’s radar but the Panthers are considered the favorites to sign him. He feels the potential cost of signing Panarin ($11-$12 million per season for seven years) would be too high for the Blueshirts.
Having shipped P.K. Subban and his $9-million annual average value to New Jersey, Friedman wonders if the Nashville Predators will pursue Matt Duchene. The Columbus Blue Jackets center is slated to become a UFA on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Duchene is slated to meet with the Predators today. Darren Dreger reported the 28-year-old center met with the Montreal Canadiens yesterday. While Habs fans are excited over the notion of Duchene signing with the Habs, I think the Preds are going to get him. They’re still a Stanley Cup contender, Duchene loves Nashville, and Tennessee doesn’t have a state tax.
After trading Subban, the Predators might not be done dealing. The Tennessean’s Paul Skrbina wonders if Kyle Turris, Ryan Ellis, or Nick Bonino might become trade candidates.
The Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins are on Corey Perry’s radar. Friedman also wonders if the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators will pursue him. Friedman also wonders if the Canadiens might take a run at New York Islanders winger Anders Lee.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: But is Perry on the Habs and Penguins radar? His declining speed and production are significant concerns. If the Canadiens are looking at Lee they’re going to have competition. Recent speculation suggests the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks could also pursue him.
Friedman thinks forward Gustav Nyquist could be a fit with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He also reports the Calgary Flames could try to move winger Michael Frolik before July 1, with the New Jersey Devils a possibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks haven’t ruled out bringing back Nyquist. He also cites sources saying the Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings (Nyquist’s former team) could also have interest in him.
Speaking of the Devils, Friedman said they’re not moving blueliner Damon Severson. The Minnesota Wild could make a pitch for winger Wayne Simmonds.
The San Jose Sharks would like to move backup goalie Aaron Dell. Mike Smith’s been tied to Calgary, as is former Flyers goalie Cam Talbot. Edmonton and Carolina are also possible destinations for Smith. The Oilers are linked to Petr Mrazek and Semyon Varlamov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have reportedly connected with Smith. If he heads up the road to Edmonton, the Flames could go after Talbot as an affordable short-term replacement.
Despite not qualifying Ben Hutton, the Vancouver Canucks will try to sign him to a more palatable contract. They could still be the favorite to sign Tyler Myers. In need of another left-hand defenseman, perhaps they’ll consider Jordie Benn. The salary-cap recapture penalty ($3.03 million) for Roberto Luongo’s contract will dent their salary-cap space. Friedman also said the rumored “Tyson Barrie-to-Vancouver” deal was never as close as it seemed.
OTHER FREE-AGENT NEWS
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports teams have contacted representatives of Carolina’s Sebastian Aho and Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor. The two are restricted free agents and eligible to receive offer sheets from rival clubs.
The Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, and Buffalo Sabres are among the clubs interested in San Jose Sharks UFA winger Joonas Donskoi.
The Florida Panthers are among six clubs who’ve reached out to UFA defenseman Anton Stralman.