NHL Rumor Mill – July 22, 2019
Updates on the Rangers and Avalanche, plus six young players who could benefit from a change of scenery, in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SHOULD THE RANGERS TRADE KREIDER NOW?
NBC SPORTS: With the New York Rangers pressed for salary-cap space, Adam Gretz makes the case for the club to consider trading Chris Kreider as soon as possible. The 27-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and his performance could decline this season. Gretz acknowledged Kreider still has value to the Rangers roster but feels the winger would be more valuable as a trade chip.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers are over $900K above the $81.5-million salary cap, with Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. They can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the season opens in October. It’s apparent they’ll have to do something to get under the ceiling before then.
Trading Kreider could be the easiest way to address that problem. He’s carrying an annual cap hit of $4.625 million with an 11-team no-trade list and will draw interest from clubs seeking scoring depth. Rangers management could prefer trading him rather than have questions over his future in New York dogging the team throughout the season. His trade value could be at its highest right now.
It’s also possible the Rangers retain Kreider and look toward other options to free up salary. They could try to trade or buy out Kevin Shattenkirk or Brendan Smith, or shop center Vladislav Namestnikov.
AVALANCHE UNLIKELY TO GO THE OFFER-SHEET ROUTE
THE DENVER POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Chambers said he doesn’t expect the Colorado Avalanche to present an offer sheet to Toronto’s Mitch Marner or Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point. He believes they’re focused on re-signing their restricted free agents like Mikko Rantanen and others.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $16 million in cap space, the Avalanche are perfectly positioned to sign another club’s restricted free agent star to a big offer sheet. But as Chambers points out, Rantanen will likely cost between $8 to $10-million annually to re-sign. That will take a big bite out of that cap space.
I daresay general manager Joe Sakic wants to keep as much long-term space available as possible. Over the next two seasons, Gabe Landeskog, Cale Makar, Philipp Grubauer, and Samuel Girard will be due for new contracts.
SIX YOUNG PLAYERS WHO COULD BENEFIT FROM A TRADE
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Calgary’s Sam Bennett, Edmonton’s Jesse Puljujarvi, and the New York Islanders’ Joshua Ho-Sang are among Jared Clinton’s list of six young players who could use a change of scenery. Dallas’ Julius Honka, Columbus’ Sonny Milano, and Carolina’s Julien Gauthier round out the listing of promising youngsters struggling to play up to expectations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least one of those players could end up with new teams this season. The Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Billeck believes Honka could be a good fit with the Jets as a cheap right-shot defenseman. Puljujarvi’s agent requested a trade but Oilers GM Ken Holland said he’ll move the winger only if he finds a return that benefits his club.
Ho-Sang’s struggled to crack the Islanders roster. Clinton suggests they should move him if they don’t intend to use the young winger. Milano, meanwhile, is sliding down the Jackets’ depth chart and doesn’t seem to fit into their long-term plans. Gauthier also risks the same fate with the Hurricanes.
Bennett’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill over the last two years. Flames GM Brad Treliving has been reluctant to trade the versatile forward. However, the cost of re-signing Matthew Tkachuk and David Rittich could make Bennett a cost-cutting candidate.