NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2019
Updates on Brayden Point and Travis Konecny, potential Penguins trade candidates, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
POINT AND KONECNY
TSN: Pierre LeBrun yesterday reported little progress in contract talks between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Brayden Point. LeBrun speculates negotiations “might be even more stalled than people think.” He still believes a deal will get done but “right now not remotely close as far as I can tell.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we saw with Mitch Marner’s negotiations with the Toronto Maple Leafs, things can change very quickly, especially with training camps underway. With Marner under contract, restricted free agents like Point will increasingly draw more attention.
Cap Friendly indicates the Lightning has over $8.4 million in salary-cap space. They’re trying to get Point’s new deal within their cap payroll while leaving sufficient space for anything that might come up during the season.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and head coach Alain Vigneault are disappointed Travis Konecny isn’t in training camp yet. The 22-year-old RFA winger’s camp reportedly prefers a long-term deal and Fletcher said he’s willing to be flexible in negotiations. Hall suggests a long-term deal for Konecny before he reaches a higher level in performance might be better for the Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Ivan Provorov re-signed earlier this week, the Flyers have around $6.6 million in salary-cap space. My guess is they’d prefer to bring in Konecny for around $5.5 million annually in order to leave sufficient wiggle room for other moves this season.
POTENTIAL PENGUINS TRADE CANDIDATES
THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked about the chances of the Pittsburgh Penguins trading Bryan Rust. He thinks the winger is a prime candidate if GM Jim Rutherford feels the need to make a cost-shedding move. Nevertheless, Yohe believes Rust will be in the Penguins’ lineup when the season opens.
Yohe noted they’d love to move Jack Johnson, pointing to Rutherford’s attempt to include the defenseman in a failed late-May attempt to ship Phil Kessel to the Minnesota Wild. He also suggested Nick Bjugstad as a trade option but feels the Penguins don’t want to touch their forward lines.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yohe pointed out Rutherford also said he can find other means to get under the salary cap besides making a trade. I expect Rust, Johnson, and Bjugstad will be skating for the Penguins when the season opens.
Should the need arise to make a trade for cap or roster reasons, we probably shouldn’t overlook the possibility of Rust or Bjugstad getting shopped. I don’t see a market for Johnson unless his performance significantly improves this season.
STARS’ HONKA REQUESTS A TRADE
TSN: cites Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks yesterday reporting Stars GM Jim Nill told him Julius Honka has requested a trade. Nill has reportedly attempted to trade the 23-year-old restricted free agent defenseman during the off-season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick (14th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, Honka’s stock declined as he struggled to crack the Stars roster. They won’t get much in return for him, perhaps a third- or fourth-round pick.