NHL Rumor Mill – July 30, 2019
The effect of Andrei Vasilevskiy’s new contract upon the Lightning’s cap space, plus the latest on Mitch Marner and Kevin Shattenkirk in today’s NHL rumor mill.
VASILEVSKIY’S CONTRACT COULD FORCE LIGHTNING TO SHED SALARY NEXT SUMMER
TAMPA BAY TIMES/THE ATHLETIC: John Romano and Joe Smith examined the effect Andrei Vasilevskiy’s new eight-year. $76-million contract will have upon the Tampa Bay Lightning’s salary-cap payroll for 2020-21. Vasilevskiy, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Ryan McDonagh have annual average values between $6.75 million and $9.5 million. Restricted free agent Brayden Point could receive a minimum of $8 million, leaving the Bolts with six players taking up nearly 60 percent of their salary cap.
Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois acknowledged he’ll have tough decisions to make next summer. Last month, he shipped forward J.T. Miller to Vancouver in a cost-cutting deal.
Romano speculates that could mean parting ways with someone like Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat or Tyler Johnson. Smith, however, observes their respective no-trade clauses, and that of forward Yanni Gourde could make it challenging to move one of them for cap flexibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Lightning have over $67.3 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21. Assuming Point is re-signed to a new deal paying him $8 million annually, they’ll be sitting at over $75 million committed to 14 players. Should the cap rise to $84 million next season, that won’t leave enough to re-sign RFAs like Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Mathieu Joseph, and Anthony Cirelli and still provide room to fill out the rest of the roster.
Johnson frequently surfaced in trade speculation over the past two years and could become their prime trade candidate. He has a full no-trade clause, which will significantly hamper efforts to move him. Killorn, Palat, and Gourde would also attract interest if available but, like Johnson, their NTCs could handcuff BriseBois’ efforts to shed salary.
AGENTS WAITING FOR MARNER TO SET RFA MARKET
THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites The Athletic’s Joe Smith reporting a source saying player agents of high-profile RFAs are waiting for Mitch Marner to set the market for their clients. Marner is among several young stars coming off entry-level contracts. Others include Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen, Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine, Vancouver’s Brock Boeser, and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever Marner gets doesn’t mean the others will be getting the same. It’s believed he could receive around $10.5 million annually. Whatever he does receive, however, could raise the ceiling for the rest.
It’s assumed Point could get around $8 million, in part because he plays where there’s no state tax. The decline in Laine’s production last season could keep him in the $8 million per season range. Rantanen and Tkachuk are expected to receive around $9 million while Boeser could come in around $7.5 million.
COULD SHATTENKIRK BE A FIT WITH THE OILERS?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: If the New York Rangers buy out defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk within their current second buyout period, David Staples wonders if he’d be a worthwhile fit with the Oilers. He examined the strengths and weaknesses in Shattenkirk’s game, suggesting he might be worth it on a short-term deal within the range of $1.5 million annually. That being said, he feels it would be a longshot for the Oilers to sign him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out very soon, probably by tomorrow at the latest, if the Rangers intend to buy out Shattenkirk. If they do, he’ll attract interest in a free-agent market that’s been picked almost clean of decent veteran talent. But as Staples observes, Shattenkirk’s preference for playing in the Boston-New York area could make him reluctant to sign with a Western team.