NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2019
The latest on Mikko Rantanen plus an update on the Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT’S UP WITH RANTANEN’S CONTRACT TALKS?
TSN: cited Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic recently telling NHL.com he’d prefer re-signing Mikko Rantanen to a long-term contract. Sakic is also willing to accept a short-term deal. He wants to get the restricted free agent winger re-signed before training camp opens next month.
“There’s a lot of players (in the NHL) in that same situation, a lot of great hockey players that are coming up,” said Sakic. “We’ll just see how all the players and agents handle that. There are comparable numbers that are starting to come in. We’re open to different possibilities.”
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: (Stick tap to Shawn Lamba) Adrian Dater cites sources “close to the situations” claiming there’s been no contact between Sakic and Rantanen’s agent, Mike Liut, since the NHL Draft in June. He also said the Avalanche haven’t made an offer yet.
Dater dismissed the notion of a rival club signing the 21-year-old winger to an offer sheet, citing the Avs’ $16.5 million in salary-cap space. He believes Rantanen will “almost certainly” command at least $8.5 million per season on his next contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No contract talks between Sakic and the Rantanen camp in nearly two months is unusual. Then again, if Liut wants to see what other comparable RFAs like Toronto’s Mitch Marner and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk receive, it makes little sense for Sakic to attempt discussions throughout the summer.
Talks between the two sides will pick up once September rolls around. Sakic wants to get him re-signed before training camp opens and I daresay Rantanen doesn’t want to miss camp. Be it a long- or short-term contract, the winger will get a hefty raise.
And no, I don’t see Sakic trading Rantanen if he’s not signed when training camp opens. Unless Rantanen demands a trade (and that’s not happening), there’s no reason to go to that extreme.
VALIMAKI INJURY PUTS FLAMES IN THE MARKET FOR A DEFENSEMAN
THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cites Sportsnet’s Pat Steinberg reporting Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving will consider all options to find a replacement for sidelined defenseman Juuso Valimaki. Oliver Kylington is a natural internal option but Treliving also intends to explore trade possibilities.
Wegman also notes there are some notable veterans (including former Flame Dion Phaneuf) available in the unrestricted free-agent market. He points out the Flames have under $8 million in salary-cap space and must re-sign restricted free agent winger Matthew Tkachuk. They’ll have to shed some salary if they add a player with a significant cap hit.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Cruickshank reports the Flames’ top-six defense from last season remains intact. He also considers Kylington as a likely candidate to replace Valimaki. He suggests winger Michael Frolik ($4.3 million) as a cost-cutting trade option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Valimaki’s injury should put to rest the trade speculation dogging Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie this summer. Treliving will conduct due diligence to see what affordable options are available in the trade and perhaps the free-agent markets. Nevertheless, it sounds like Kylington (over $730K cap hit) will be Valimaki’s replacement.