NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2019
A look at 10 supposedly untradeable contracts in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Noting the recent Milan Lucic trade, Ken Campbell feels no NHL contract is truly “untradeable” anymore. Nevertheless, he provides a list of 10 players with seemingly unmoveable deals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, Campbell isn’t saying the following contracts can’t be traded. It would be difficult to move them, but a bit of creativity and a willing trade partner could make it happen. He also looked at contracts with four-or-more seasons remaining. That’s why Loui Eriksson isn’t on this list.
Nashville’s Kyle Turris, Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader, and Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo come in at 10 through eight on Campbell’s list. Turris has five years remaining on his contract worth $6-million annually. He lacks no-trade protection. Abdelkader, 32, has four years left with an annual average value of $4.25-million. Okposo has four years remaining ($6 million AAV) and has battled injuries and concussion-related illness in recent years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris could be the easiest to move if the Predators picked up part of his cap hit or took back a toxic contract in return. The 29-year-old center had a rough 2018-19 but played well for Canada at this year’s World Championships. He could be poised for a bounce-back performance, which could also make him enticing if the Preds want to move him. Abdelkader’s declining play and Okposo’s injury history are significant sticking points.
Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz and Minnesota’s Zach Parise and Ryan Suter fill positions seven through five. Schmaltz is starting a seven-year deal worth an AAV of $5.85 million and suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2018-19. Parise and Suter are aging veterans with six seasons remaining on their identical $98-million contracts with full no-movement clauses.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Including Schmaltz on this list could be premature. While Campbell notes he’s had only one good NHL season thus far, he did tally 14 points in 17 games with Arizona before his injury. With a strong recovery, he could quickly regain his offensive form and become a solid addition for the Coyotes. Parise and Suter, on the other hand, are now past their prime and age and injuries could take their toll. Parise turns 35 on July 28, Suter on Jan. 21.
The New York Islanders’ Andrew Ladd, Philadelphia’s Kevin Hayes, and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook fill spots four through two. Ladd was frequently sidelined by injuries, has a full no-trade clause this season and four years remaining on his deal with an AAV of $5.5 million. Hayes inked a seven-year, $49-million contract that Campbell doesn’t believe will age well. Seabrook has five years left ($6.875 million AAV) with a full no-movement clause to 2021-22.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd’s injury history could be a killer here unless he becomes a permanent long-term injury reserve candidate. As we’ve seen, those contracts can be desirable for cap-strapped clubs. I agree with Campbell that Hayes’ deal could become burdensome during its latter years. Seabrook’s name surfaced in trade speculation last season but came to nothing. Moving his contract remains a daunting challenge.
Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber topped Campbell’s list. The 34-year-old has seven years left on his deal worth over $7.9 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber’s contract was traded once before. It could be moved again. He’s still an effective top-pairing defenseman, making him valuable in the trade market. He also lacks no-trade protection.
The threat of salary-cap recapture is there if he retires, but it’s the Nashville Predators on the hook for the bulk of it, especially the latter years. If you’re a Predators fan, pray he doesn’t call it quits before 2025-26.