NHL Rumor Mill – August 9, 2019
The latest on Chris Kreider and Jesse Puljujarvi in today’s NHL rumor mill.
KREIDER’S FUTURE STILL UNCERTAIN IN NEW YORK.
NHL.COM: Dan Rosen reports Chris Kreider is expected to start the upcoming season with the New York Rangers. The 28-year-old left winger is a year away from unrestricted free agent status and his future with the Rangers is unclear as trade speculation continues to swirl.
Rangers president John Davidson said he “totally expects” Krieder to be in training camp but suggested it was difficult to make promises regarding a new contract. “He’s got one year left, and that should be a whole lot of importance to him to come in and have a great camp and a great year, and we’ll just see where it all goes,” said Davidson.
General manager Jeff Gorton echoed Davidson’s comments. Neither executive ruled out trading Kreider even if the Rangers were in playoff contention. While they consider Kreider a vital part of the roster, Rosen thinks there’s a chance the winger could be dealt before this season’s trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Ted Holmlund considered Davidson’s comments on Kreider a “lukewarm vote of confidence.” The Rangers no longer need to trade him to free up salary-cap space after buying out Kevin Shattenkirk last week. Nevertheless, we can’t dismiss the possibility of Kreider getting traded between now and the February trade deadline.
Cap Friendly indicates they have over $64.8 million invested in 14 players for 2020-21. The good news is Kreider is their only core player up for a new contract. The bad news is re-signing him could cost over $6 million annually, pushing the Blueshirts to over $71 million invested in 15 players. Assuming a salary cap of $84 million, they’ll have less than $13 million to fill out the remainder of the roster.
UPDATE ON PULJUJARVI
TSN: The agent for Jesse Puljujarvi said his client’s preference is to play in the NHL this season, but he’ll play in Europe if he isn’t traded by the Edmonton Oilers. Markus Lehto told Finland’s MTV Sports a trade remains possible, even likely, but finding a suitable return for the 21-year-old winger has proven difficult thus far. Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent but Lehto said money has nothing to do with his trade request.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, a Puljujarvi trade is possible but GM Ken Holland isn’t going to do it unless he gets a decent return. It’s apparent he hasn’t received any offers to his liking.
Puljujarvi still has potential to blossom into an NHL scorer but his struggles over the past several seasons have hurt his trade value. With the Oilers still holding his NHL rights, my guess is Puljujarvi plays in Finland next season and both sides will revisit this situation next summer.