NHL Rumor Mill – July 20, 2019
Check out the latest on the Rangers, Islanders, and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.
AFTER SIGNING TROUBA, RANGERS MUST SHED SALARY
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports the Rangers’ re-signing Jacob Trouba yesterday to a seven-year, $56-million contract puts them over the $81.5-million salary cap for 2019-20. That leaves them just over a month to figure out how to get under the cap. It also makes it more difficult for the club to re-sign restricted free agents Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, and Anthony DeAngelo.
Cyrgalis feels that could include trading winger Chris Kreider and his $4.625-million salary-cap hit, or continue shopping center Vladislav Namestnikov ($4 million). He also suggests the possibility of buying out defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk (two years, $6.65-million per season) and Brendan Smith (two years, $4.35 million AAV) more likely. If Smith clears waivers and is sent to the minors, the Rangers would save $1.25 million.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy observes moving out Shattenkirk, Smith, or Marc Staal could help clear up the Rangers’ cap situation. He also points out they each have some form of no-trade/no-movement protection. However, he acknowledged anything is possible with the right deal and the right finessing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Kreider, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, would be the easiest move. Cap Friendly indicates he has an 11-team no-trade list, but he’d be more enticing than Shattenkirk, Smith or Staal in the trade market.
Moving one of those three defensemen won’t be easy. Then again, we’ve seen several trades this summer involving players assumed to be almost unmoveable, like Milan Lucic, Patrick Marleau, and Nikita Zaitsev. As Kennedy suggests, anything’s possible with the right finessing, like absorbing a portion of an annual salary-cap hit or including a draft pick or prospect.
ARE THE ISLANDERS DONE MAKING MOVES THIS SUMMER?
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently wondered if the New York Islanders are done making moves this summer. If so, some questions still need answering.
The Islanders were rumored to be considering an offer sheet for Toronto’s Mitch Marner. However, the Maple Leafs seem willing to absorb whatever Mitch Marner receives and the Tampa Bay Lightning are in the same position with Brayden Point. He asked if there were any other unsigned RFAs worth a major offer.
As for filling the Isles’ fourth-line center position, Staple suggested Derick Brassard or Brian Boyle if they want to go the UFA route. He also thinks they could address their crowded blueline by shopping a defenseman for a draft pick or two. Candidates could include Thomas Hickey, Scott Mayfield, or Nick Leddy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello could wait until later in the summer, or perhaps around training camp or preseason, to make an offer-sheet signing. While I believe Lamoriello may have seriously considered that option, I doubt he’s going to do it. There was some talk of swapping Leddy for a forward but that doesn’t seem likely now.
UPDATE ON MARKOV
TVA SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov is a free agent searching for a new contract. He spent the past two seasons with the KHL’s Kazan Ak-Bars. The 40-year-old blueliner’s reported salary demands ($2.5 million US) are too expensive for KHL clubs. His agent said he’s spoken with several NHL clubs, including the Canadiens, but hasn’t received an answer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Markov is willing to consider a professional tryout offer, I doubt we’ll see him back in the NHL.