NHL Rumor Mill – September 28, 2019
A look at five NHL clubs that could soon make a move in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton speculates the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, and Winnipeg Jets could be worth watching as the season approaches. One of them could soon make a move to become cap compliant or to reduce their roster to 23 players.
The Flames are among those that must become salary-cap compliant before the seasons opens on Oct. 2. They could achieve that by demoting someone like Dillon Dube to the minors. But if he cracks the roster, they could be forced to make a trade.
Winger Michael Frolik and defensemen T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic surfaced in this summer’s rumor mill. Jusso Valimaki’s knee injury makes it unlikely the latter two will be moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Flames sit above the $81.5-million salary cap by over $658K. Frolik was nearly shipped to the Minnesota Wild at last season trade deadline for winger Jason Zucker. He’s in the final season of his contract ($4.3 million salary-cap hit) with a 10-team no-trade clause.
Despite trading Justin Faulk this week to St. Louis, the Carolina Hurricanes remain overstocked on defensemen. Clinton suggests it might be necessary to move another one, with Trevor van Riemsdyk and recently-acquired Joel Edmundson as candidates. Dealing one of them might be a better way to become cap compliant than demoting a young player earning the league minimum.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are less than $500K above the cap ceiling. I doubt they’ll move Edmundson as he brings grit and Stanley Cup experience to their blueline corps. Meanwhile, van Riemsdyk is still recovering from off-season surgery. if he’s unable to start the season, the Hurricanes will get short-term cap relief by placing him on LTIR.
Clinton doubts the Stars want the distraction of unsigned blueliner Julius Honka on the sidelines. General manager Jim Nill acknowledged Honka requested a trade. The 23-year-old puck-moving rearguard has what Clinton considers untapped offensive potential and could blossom with a change of scenery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Montreal Canadiens were rumored to be interested in Honka. So far, however, nothing’s come of it. The market for Honka might not be to Nill’s liking right now.
The Vancouver Canucks could demote Tim Schaller and perhaps Nikolay Goldobin to get down to a 23-man roster. Clinton suggests shopping Schaller and perhaps Loui Eriksson. He acknowledged Eriksson’s $6-million cap hit makes it unlikely he gets move but feels it’s at least worth exploring.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think there’s much of a market for those players. Jake Virtanen has also surfaced in recent trade talk.
If Dustin Byfuglien doesn’t return to start the season, the Jets will need short-term blueline help. Clinton wonders if a deal could be made for one of the Hurricanes’ depth defenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the clubs on this list, the Jets could have the more dire need to swing a trade. They needed depth on the right side of their blueline well before Big Buff took his leave of absence. They won’t be able to replace what Byfuglien brings to their lineup but they’ll have to add an experienced right-side rearguard as a stopgap.