NHL Rumor Mill – July 6, 2019
Offer-sheet rumors dogging Mitch Marner and Patrik Laine, plus an update on the Blackhawks, in today’s NHL rumor mill.
IS MARNER ABOUT TO RECEIVE AN OFFER SHEET?
SPORTING NEWS: Sammi Silber cites reports suggesting Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner could soon receive an expensive offer sheet. Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Joey Vendetta confirmed a report from The Fourth Period claiming at least one NHL clubs was “very seriously considering” tendering an offer sheet to Marner. Vendetta speculated it could be worth $12.5 million.
YAHOO SPORTS CANADA: Kyle Cantlon cites NHL Network’s Mike Kelly speculating the New York Islanders could target Marner with an offer sheet. Cantlon also suggested the New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, and Philadelphia Flyers were among clubs with salary cap space to sign Marner to an offer sheet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: More than one person has pointed out the Islanders lack sufficient salary-cap space to sign Marner. Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello is the former Leafs GM. However, with over $8.6 million in cap room, he’d have to ship out a couple of salaried players to make it happen.
The Leafs, meanwhile, are in a vulnerable position. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $3.7 million in cap space. If necessary, they can place permanently sidelined Nathan Horton ($5.3 million) and Zach Hyman ($2.25 million) and Travis Dermott ($863K) on long-term injury reserve, but that won’t be enough to match a $12.5 million offer sheet. Whether or not a club will go for it, or if Marner will sign an offer sheet, remains to be seen.
WILL THE CANADIENS PURSUE LAINE WITH AN OFFER SHEET?
RDS.CA: cites a report by The Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta claiming multiple teams, including the Montreal Canadiens, had considered pursuing Marner. He’s heard the Canadiens “may be focused” on Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine.
TVA SPORTS: Yvon Pedneault said he’d be very surprised if the Canadiens made an offer sheet to another player. Earlier in the week, their attempt to sign Sebastian Aho was matched by the Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $7.4 million in cap room, the Canadiens don’t have enough to make a significant, unmatchable offer to Laine or Marner. I don’t expect them to go the offer sheet route again this summer. They took a calculated gamble with Aho. It didn’t work and so they’ve moved on, as evidenced by their signings of Ben Chiarot, Nick Cousins, and Philip Varone this week. If the Habs make more moves, it could be for more affordable additions via trade or free agency.
UPDATE ON THE BLACKHAWKS
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Earlier this week, Ben Pope wondered if Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman will make a bold move to upgrade his forward lines. He notes Ryan Dzingel is the only “upper-tied” UFA remaining on the market. However, Bowman would have to ship out a salaried player to make room for Dzingel. Pope feels the more likely scenario is Bowman re-signing restricted free agent Brendan Perlini.