Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 23, 2019
The fallout from yesterday’s three major trades at the draft and more in the post-draft edition of the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
PREDATORS TO PURSUE DUCHENE?
THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina examined how trading defenseman P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils yesterday will affect the Nashville Predators. He believes the move frees up salary-cap room to re-sign captain Roman Josi and perhaps pursue Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene via free agency. Skrbina cites The Athletic’s Craig Custance reporting Duchene would not strike a deal with the Blue Jackets before Sunday. The Predators are believed a “frontrunner” to land him.
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Duchene’s agent, Pat Brisson, hasn’t closed the door on his client re-signing with the Jackets. Portzline also cites sources saying an offer from the Jackets of between $76 million to $80 million could “perhaps” keep Duchene in Columbus.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Predators have over $13.1 million of cap space. Josi is a year away from UFA eligibility so they can afford to invest in a $9 million per season player via free agency. If they do that, it’ll push their cap room for 2020-21 to over $58 million invested in 13 players. That’s plenty of room to re-sign Josi to a hefty raise but it could complicate efforts to re-sign or replace other players.
FALLOUT FROM THE MARLEAU TRADE
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports trading winger Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday was crucial to free up salary-cap room. They have new contracts in place for restricted free agent wingers Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson. They also hope to re-sign Mitch Marner, though there’ve been no serious discussions in recent days. Marner’s agent intends to listen to offers from other clubs when the RFA interview window opens on Wednesday if it comes to that.
The Leafs were interested in P.K. Subban before he was traded to New Jersey. They’ve made no progress trading Nikita Zaitsev. The Leafs are also are expected to part ways with Jake Gardiner, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell intends to meet with Marleau to see if he’s interested in playing for the Canes next season. “The plan would be to meet with Patrick to see where he’s at and if he wanted to be a Hurricane we’d love to have him as a Hurricane.” Failing that, the Hurricanes are expected to buy out Marleau’s contract. He has a year remaining on his deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $6.25 million.
Waddell also admitted it would take time to re-sign defenseman Justin Faulk to a contract extension. Faulk is a year away from UFA status.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Josh Schrock reports there’s speculation Marleau could attempt to return to the San Jose Sharks if the Hurricanes buy him out. While there’s talk the Sharks could be interested in a reunion with Marleau, they have other priorities to sort out. Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist, and Joonas Donskoi are pending UFAs while restricted free agents Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc are due for significant raises.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Marleau’s cap hit provides invaluable cap room for the Leafs. They’ve got around $13.5 million in cap room, though that shrinks down to $6.9 million after deducting the combined $6.6 million for Kapanen and Johnsson. Placing the permanently sidelined Nathan Horton on LTIR frees up another $5.3 million. They can also exceed the cap by 10 percent during the off-season but must be cap compliant by the start of the season.
It could cost the Leafs around $11 million annually to re-sign Marner, taking up all of that remaining cap room. That leaves nothing to address their blueline needs. If the intent is to re-sign Marner, somebody else on the Leafs must be traded to free up room for the defense. Trading Zaitsev and his $4.5 million annual average value will help but rival GMs aren’t doing them any favors there.
With Marleau’s family returning to San Jose, it’s believed he wants to play there or in a nearby NHL city. I think he’ll be bought out. That’ll make him more affordable for the Sharks to sign, but he’ll have to wait until they get their free-agent situation sorted out.
The Athletic’s Sara Civ said yesterday “the Hurricanes and the Capitals are in talks that involve Justin Faulk on the move and Carolina acquiring the rights to and signing Chase Priskie, Quinnipiac defenseman who didn’t sign with Caps.” She said the extent of those discussions were unclear. Remains to be seen how far that goes.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS?
SPORTSNET: In the wake of the Vancouver Canucks acquiring forward J.T. Miller from Tampa Bay yesterday, Iain MacIntyre reports questions remain on defense. They had interest in Colorado Avalanche blueliner Tyson Barrie but talks cooled as the Avs are believed getting better offers elsewhere. The Canucks weren’t seriously in on the bidding for P.K. Subban before he was shipped to New Jersey. MacIntyre anticipates they’ll be interested in pending UFAs Tyler Myers and Jake Gardiner but they could be expensive.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were linked to Toronto’s Nikita Zaitsev but it appears they’re not interested. If the Hurricanes are looking at trading Justin Faulk, perhaps Vancouver GM Jim Benning should place a call if he hasn’t already done so.
UPDATES ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS, SABRES, AND STARS
THE ATHLETIC: With the Vegas Golden Knights maxed out on salary-cap space and William Karlsson to re-sign, Jesse Granger believes a cost-cutting trade is coming. He said the Golden Knights laid the groundwork during the draft for possible moves with several teams. Potential trade candidates could include winger Nikita Gusev, defenseman Colin Miller, and forwards Cody Eakin, Erik Haula, and Ryan Reeves.
TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reports the Buffalo Sabres are still shopping defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.
THE ATHLETIC: Sean Shapiro reports the Dallas Stars received some interest in defenseman Julius Honka. The former first-round pick has struggled to fit with the Stars. Shapiro suggests the 23-year-old RFA blueliner could be an affordable fit with the San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, or Vancouver Canucks.