NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2019
The latest on Erik Karlsson, Jacob Trouba, Jeff Skinner, Jason Zucker and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NO KARLSSON TO THE CANADIENS?
TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie said there’s absolutely nothing that indicates Erik Karlsson will sign with the Montreal Canadiens this summer. He was responding to an Ottawa Sun report claiming Karlsson hopes to get offers from the Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. The 28-year-old San Jose Sharks defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Lavoie said several people close to Karlsson claim the Sun report didn’t hold water. The blueliner hasn’t yet informed the Sharks of his intentions. Even if he hits the open market, Lavoie said it won’t be down to the Senators and Canadiens. He points out the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning could become suitors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sun report claimed Karlsson’s wife, an Ottawa native, wanted to return to the area or as close as possible. However, the Senators are rebuilding their roster with young players and seem to have moved on. The Canadiens need a left-side defenseman but could consider more affordable options than Karlsson.
The cap-strapped Lightning must shed some salary to make room for Karlsson but they’ve also got to re-sign Brayden Point. Unless the rearguard is willing to accept a big pay cut, I doubt he’ll land in Tampa Bay. The Rangers have the cap space (over $19 million) to sign Karlsson but they could also target Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. They can afford one but not both.
UPDATES ON TROUBA AND MYERS
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe examined which clubs could make the best offer for Jacob Trouba. The 25-year-old Jets defenseman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s also a year away from UFA eligibility. There’s speculation he could be traded before month’s end.
Wiebe lists the Philadelphia Flyers, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, and New Jersey Devils as possible trade partners. Targets for return from the Flyers include defensemen like Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim, winger Travis Konecny, or center Nolan Patrick. Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has surfaced in trade rumors this spring.
Possible targets from the Penguins could include a defenseman like Brian Dumoulin or Olli Maatta or center Nick Bjugstad. Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei or center Brett Howden could interest the Jets, as could Devils defenseman Damon Severson. Wiebe believes the Jets could also target a first-round pick from the Flyers, Sabres, Penguins, and Rangers.
TSN: Should the Jets trade Trouba, Frank Seravalli reports general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will try to re-sign Tyler Myers. The 29-year-old blueliner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Seravalli said there’s no shortage of teams with interest in Myers. The Vancouver Canucks, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars could pursue him. He could earn over $6-million annually on the open market. The cap-strapped Jets could try to get him at a slight discount in exchange for an expanded role on a potential winner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ asking price for Trouba could be a good young player and a first-round draft pick or two promising youngsters. Landing a first-round pick means moving Trouba before the upcoming draft weekend (June 21-22) in Vancouver. I believe the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers could also get into the bidding. A Trouba trade could open the door to re-signing Myers but that also depends on the cost of re-signing Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor.
COULD THE AVALANCHE TARGET SKINNER OR PANARIN?
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers believes Jeff Skinner would be everything the Colorado Avalanche need. The 27-year-old Buffalo Sabres left wing is a four-time 30-goal scorer. Chambers feels Skinner would be a perfect fit on their second line or he could skate on the top line with Gabriel Landeskog moving down to the second. He also praised Skinner’s character and experience.
Chambers also thinks it’s worthwhile for the Avalanche to look into signing Columbus winger Artemi Panarin. While the 27-year-old left winger is probably too expensive, Chambers doesn’t see the harm in trying.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Jason Botterill remains confident of re-signing Skinner. If he hits the open market the Avs could consider calling him. However, they’ll have to get in line as he’ll attract lots of interest.
It doesn’t hurt to look into signing Panarin but I don’t think Colorado’s on his radar. Media speculation suggests he’d prefer signing with teams in Florida (Panthers), New York (Rangers or Islanders), California (Ducks or Kings) or returning to the Chicago Blackhawks.
CANUCKS PURSUING ZUCKER?
MSN SPORTS: cites a report by Mike Halford of Vancouver’s TSN 1040 saying a source claims the Canucks have interest in Jason Zucker. He said there are several proposals on the table for the Minnesota Wild winger.
Zucker carries a $5.5-million annual cap hit through 2022-23. His modified no-trade clause kicks in on July 1. The Canucks have plenty of cap room to absorb his contract, as well as some promising young players to tempt the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild reportedly offered up Zucker for winger Brock Boeser but the Canucks rejected it. Boeser, 23, is a restricted free agent. Unless he’s seeking far more than the Canucks are willing to pay, I don’t believe they’ll part with him. Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and promising blueliner Quinn Hughes are also untouchable. Beyond them, I’m not sure the Canucks have sufficient assets to offer up for Zucker.
LATEST ON PULJUJARVI
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Markus Lehto, who represents Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, denied a rumor claiming his client signed with KHL team Jokerit. “Totally inaccurate,” said Lehto.
THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cited TSN’s Darren Dreger saying league sources believe Puljujarvi remains a strong trade option for the Oilers.