NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2019
The latest on Braden Holtby, Torey Krug, and David Krejci in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NO HOMETOWN DISCOUNT FOR HOLTBY
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan recently listed six reasons why Capitals fans shouldn’t expect Braden Holtby to accept a hometown discount. The 29-year-old goaltender is eligible for UFA status next summer and in line for a big raise over his current $6.1-million AAV.
Regan cites Sergei Bobrovsky as a comparable. The former Columbus Blue Jackets goalie signed a seven-year, $70-million deal in July with the Florida Panthers. He also reminds us Holtby filed for arbitration in 2015 before he and the Capitals agreed to his current deal. Accepting a lesser deal probably wouldn’t sit well with the NHLPA.
Holtby will likely want a no-movement clause to ensure he’s not left unprotected in the 2021 expansion draft. His next contract will also be his last big deal plus it is also human nature to seek the best deal he can get.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have over $62 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21. Long-time Caps center Nicklas Backstrom is also slated to become a UFA next summer.
Unless the Caps shed salary, they cannot afford to re-sign both to hefty raises and still have enough to suitably fill out the rest of the roster. They must also keep an eye on 2021, when team captain and franchise player Alex Ovechkin will be eligible for UFA status.
Talking to Capitals fans (especially my friends on the Face Off Hockey Show), they seem resigned to this season being Holtby’s last in Washington. They could trade him this season but I don’t see that happening unless the Capitals fall out of playoff contention by the trade deadline.
UPDATE ON KRUG AND KREJCI
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: With the Boston Bruins pressed for salary-cap space, Joe Haggerty recently observed Torey Krug’s been the subject of trade speculation. The 28-year-old is coming off a tremendous post-season where he was the Bruins best defenseman. He’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent status and is due for a significant raise over his current $5.25-million salary-cap hit.
Haggerty wondered if Krug might be traded should a deal emerge that would fetch the Bruins a top-six winger. Moving him now, however, would leave a big hole on their blueline that would be difficult to fill for a club with Stanley Cup aspirations.
Haggerty also noted David Krejci popped up in trade speculation. The 33-year-old center carries a team-high $7.25-million annual average value and his no-movement clause recently became a modified no-trade.
While Krejci’s trade value will never be higher after a 73-point performance last season, moving him now would leave a big gap in the second-line center position. Haggerty cited Bruins president Cam Neely recently sang Krejci’s praises.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An early exit from the 2019 playoffs might have prompted Bruins management to shake things up a bit by shopping Krug or Krejci. But having come within one game of winning the Stanley Cup, they’ll keep their core intact for another shot at the Cup this season.
They could face shedding some salary if re-signing Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo exceeds their current cap space ($7.2 million). Don’t expect Krug or Krejci to be cost-cutting casualties.