NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2019
Four teams with restricted free agent challenges plus updates on Kevin Shattenkirk and Jesse Puljujarvi in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FOUR TEAMS FACING RFA CHALLENGES
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz suggested the Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, and Boston Bruins could face some salary-cap headaches as they attempt to re-sign key restricted free agents.
The Jets have over $17 million in salary-cap space but most of it will be taken up re-signing young wingers Patrick Laine and Kyle Connor. It could cost at least $14 million to re-sign the duo, leaving little room to fill out the remainder of the roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will have 19 players under contract once they re-sign Laine and Connor and could shed a salary in a deal that fetches them a more affordable player in return. Nikolaj Ehlers ($6 million annual average value ) and Mathieu Perreault ($4.125 million AAV) have frequently surfaced in the off-season rumor mill. Then again, depending on the cost of re-signing Laine and Connor, they could seek more affordable additions from within their ranks or via free agency.
The Lightning have around $5 million in cap space and will get $5.8-million more if needed by placing winger Ryan Callahan on long-term injury reserve. That’ll provide additional room to re-sign center Brayden Point. However, they also have an arbitration hearing coming up for Adam Erne while Andrei Vasilevskiy, Anthony Cirelli, and Mikhail Sergachev will be RFAs next summer. Gretz wonders if a forward like Alex Killorn could become expendable.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once the Erne situation is sorted out, the Lightning will know how much cap space they’ve got to work with for Point. I expect it’ll cost around $8 million annually to re-sign him. If Erne gets under $3 million, the Lightning might not have to move anybody to squeeze Point’s new cap hit within their payroll.
With around $5 million in cap space, the Vancouver Canucks lack sufficient cap room to re-sign RFA winger Brock Boeser. They’ll be forced to shed a veteran like Loui Eriksson, Brandon Sutter, Tanner Pearson, Antoine Roussel or Jay Beagle.
The Boston Bruins have around $7 million in cap space with defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo possibly costing a combined $10 million. Shedding a veteran like David Backes, Charlie Coyle, Kevan Miller, or John Moore would help.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the other clubs on Gretz’s, the Canucks can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the off-season but must be cap compliant before the season opens. Eriksson and Sutter are frequently mentioned as trade options but their declining performances and expensive contracts could be difficult to move.
Backes, Miller, and Moore could be shopped though Backes’ cap hit is also pricey. Coyle would attract more interest in the trade market but I don’t believe the Bruins will move him.
MORE SHATTENKIRK BUYOUT SPECULATION
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks still believes the Rangers will buy out the final two seasons ($6.65 million AAV) of Kevin Shattenkirk’s contract. He acknowledges it’s an imperfect solution to free up salary-cap space for this season, leaving over $6 million in dead cap space on the Rangers’ 2020-21 payroll.
They’ve been shopping Shattenkirk since February but Brooks believes that would mean taking back an onerous contract or including a first-round pick as a sweetener. The blueliner also carries a 10-team no-trade list that could include all seven Canadian clubs.
Brooks is against trading winger Chris Kreider for futures to resolve their current cap issue. He also said the Rangers have been trying to move center Vaclav Namestnikov but can’t find any takers for that final year ($4 million AAV) of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Rangers have a 48-hour window starting today to buy out a player. We’ll find out very soon if they’ll go that route with Shattenkirk.
LATEST ON PULJUJARVI
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the possibility of the Oilers trading Jesse Puljujarvi is less likely than it seemed earlier this summer.
Efforts by the young winger’s agent to force a trade by threatening his client will play in Europe appear to have backfired. Trade offers have left Oilers management unimpressed and they won’t move him simply for the sake of doing so. While a Puljujarvi trade could still take place, Staples feels it’s more likely the youngster will report to training camp in September.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there was a decent return to be had for Puljujarvi, Oilers general manager Ken Holland would’ve moved him by now. Unless someone makes an enticing offer before training camp opens in September, the young winger and his agent will have to decide if he’ll report to camp or play in Europe. Either decision will suit the Oilers just fine.