NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2019
Kyle Connor could be an offer-sheet target plus updates on Justin Faulk, Mitch Marner, and Michael Frolik in today’s NHL rumor mill.
CONNOR AN OFFER-SHEET TARGET?
SPORTSNET: Sean Reynolds reports at least three teams have considered signing Kyle Connor to an offer sheet. The 22-year-old winger is a restricted free agent coming off back-to-back 30-goal seasons. Reynolds said several teams checked into offer-sheeting Connor back in June. Contact with them has been ongoing and at least one club “checked in with interest” following the August long weekend.
Reynolds suggests Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller’s new contract (eight years, $7.15-million annually) could be a good comparable. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has said he intends to match any offer for his unsigned RFAs. The Jets have over $15 million in cap space but must also re-sign winger Patrik Laine.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rival GM could wait until close to the start of the season to sign Connor to an offer sheet. it could complicate Cheveldayoff’s efforts to match and remain salary-cap compliant when the season opens next month. That depends on whether Connor’s still unsigned by then and if he’s willing to agree to an offer sheet.
CapFriendly indicates six teams (Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators, and Colorado Avalanche) have sufficient cap space to sign Connor. Half of them – the Bruins, Lightning, and Avalanche – have RFA talent of their own to re-sign.
LATEST ON THE FAULK-TO-THE-DUCKS TRADE RUMORS
THE ATHLETIC: Josh Cooper reports there’s nothing new to report since rumors broke earlier this week claiming the Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes have a deal in principle that would send defenseman Justin Faulk to the Ducks.
Cooper wonders if this situation was made public by the Faulk camp to drum up interest in the blueliner, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He also wondered if the Hurricanes leaked the news to make it known Faulk’s available.
It’s possible the Ducks can’t afford the Hurricanes’ asking price. If a deal doesn’t happen, Cooper wonders what will happen to Ducks winger Ondrej Kase, who was said to be part of the return to the Hurricanes. If this falls through, he also pondered what defensemen the Ducks could pursue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are said to be on Faulk’s 15-team no-trade list. It’s also said Faulk or the Ducks want a contract extension. Ultimately, it’s up to the blueliner to decide if this trade goes through.
LEAFS GM HOPE TO SIGN MARNER BY OCT. 2
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas remains optimistic of getting Mitch Marner signed before the season opens on Oct. 2. He told reporters he won’t comment again about this situation until it’s resolved “one way or another.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Folks will zoom in on the “one way or another” remark to mean Dubas could trade Marner if a deal can’t be reached by Oct. 2. While I don’t rule anything out, I believe the Leafs GM doesn’t want to go that route.
If he changes his mind and put Marner on the trade block it could be difficult finding suitors willing to part with what would be a hefty asking price from Dubas and Marner’s rumored demand. It’s said the winger seeks over $11 million annually on a short-term deal.
LATEST ON FROLIK
SPORTSNET: Eric Francis reports Calgary Flames winger Michael Frolik could be a cost-cutting trade candidate. The Flames still have to re-sign RFA forwards Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane and their combined cost could exceed the club’s $7 million in salary-cap space.
Frolik was nearly shipped to the Minnesota Wild last season but the deal fell through by the trade deadline. He carries a $4.3 million cap hit for this season and Francis suggests moving the winger would address the Flames cap quandary. Frolik said he’s never requested a trade and hopes to remain with the Flames this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frolik seems an obvious trade candidate but his cap hit and 10-team no-trade list could complicate things.