NHL Rumor Mill – September 30, 2019
Penguins exploring potential trades for Jack Johnson plus the latest on the Wild and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.
PENGUINS CLOSE TO TRADING JOHNSON?
THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports sources saying the Pittsburgh Penguins are exploring potential deals that could involve defenseman Jack Johnson. The blueliner has been informed by Rutherford that he could be traded within 48 hours.
The Penguins are above the $81.5-million salary-cap and must become cap compliant before the start of the season. Johnson is signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $3.25 million. He’s been surpassed on the Penguins depth chart by rearguard Juuso Riikola.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for clubs to become cap compliant is Oct. 1 at 5 pm ET. Rossi also indicates the Penguins could get some temporary cap relief if Sidney Crosby or Bryan Rust are sidelined to start the season. Both are nursing injuries suffered during pre-season play.
Rossi didn’t indicate the potential destinations for Johnson. It could be a club with cap room in need of depth at left defense. The Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, and the Los Angeles Kings could fit that profile but that doesn’t mean they’re among the potential suitors. The Kings, for example, are already loaded with aging talent on long-term deals.
Of course, there could be other clubs hoping to squeeze the Penguins for a high draft pick or top prospect in the deal. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires.
VICTOR RASK FACING UNCERTAIN FUTURE IN MINNESOTA?
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien took note of a recent report indicating Victor Rask might be the odd man out among the Minnesota Wild forwards this season. The 26-year-old forward struggled in recent years, managing just three points in 23 games with the Wild following a mid-season trade from Carolina.
Rask is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $4 million. O’Brien feels the Wild should put him in a position to improve his numbers and trade value. That would be better than making him an expensive healthy scratch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask had consecutive 40-plus point seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17 but his production significantly tumbled since then. Coach Bruce Boudreau suggested he’s struggling with his confidence. Scratching him from the lineup won’t help.
Even if Rask’ performance improves his contract won’t be easy to move. It could mean picking up a big chunk of his cap hit or include a sweetener in the deal.
CANADIENS NOT MOVING PRIMEAU
TSN: Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently confirmed he’s received calls about highly touted goaltending prospect Cayden Primeau. “I’ve received calls in the past, yes,” he told TSN Radio 690. “A few. Unless you offer me a number-one center around the league, which is not going to happen.”