NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2019
Updates on Mitch Marner, Charlie McAvoy, and Jason Pominville in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TSN: In an interview with Bob McKenzie, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas remains optimistic about getting Mitch Marner re-signed before training camp opens on Sept. 13. He said he had discussions with the restricted free agent winger’s agent as recently as last week.
McKenzie’s colleague Pierre LeBrun reports Dubas has no interest in trading Marner. “That’s not a real avenue that we’ve even remotely explored. It’s our full intention that Mitch Marner will be a Toronto Maple Leaf for a very long time and that’s everything we’re working towards.’’
Writing for The Athletic, LeBrun reports contract term appears to be the sticking point for Marner and other noteworthy RFAs such as Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen, Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk.
Regarding Marner, he believes a three-year bridge deal has been discussed but isn’t sure what the annual average value would be. There’s a sense teams could prefer avoiding situations where the player walks directly into unrestricted free agency upon completion of their new deals.
THE LEAFS NATION: cites TSN’s Darren Dreger saying there’s talk of the Leafs and the Marner camp discussing a three-year deal with an AAV of $9.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out by next Friday if Duba’s optimism will be rewarded. Marner has indicated he won’t attend training camp without a contract and has already looked into training with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland’s National League A.
I don’t doubt Dubas’lack of interest in trading the young winger. Nevertheless, that probably won’t stop the trade speculation if his contract impasse drags into training camp. I daresay we’ll also hear talk of offer sheets but I doubt that scenario will unfold.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites sources claiming the Boston Bruins are set to return to talks “in earnest” with restricted free agent defenseman Charlie McAvoy. With training camp fast approaching, there’s increased urgency to get a deal done.
Earlier this year, there was talk the blueliner sought a deal comparable to Florida’s Aaron Ekblad’s eight-year, $60-million contract. It’s believed the Bruins countered with something around $5.5 million. Given the Bruins’ current salary-cap crunch and the need to also re-sign Brandon Carlo, there’s talk a bridge deal has been discussed.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins could get some cap relief if veteran forward David Backes is placed on long-term injury reserve. There’s talk the 35-year-old winger, who has a history of concussions, has been dealing with an undisclosed injury this summer.
The Bruins currently have around $7 million in salary-cap space with McAvoy and Carlo to re-sign. Placing Backes ($6 million AAV) on LTIR would alleviate that problem.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Marner, we’ll learn by the end of next week if the Bruins can hammer out a deal with McAvoy (and Carlo) before training camp opens.
If they end up placing Backes on LTIR they won’t have to worry about making a cost-cutting trade to free up space to re-sign their two blueliners. Of course, that’ll depend on how long he’d be sidelined. If he receives medical clearance to return to action this season, the Bruins will have to shed salary to become cap compliant.
Won’t be long before hockey’s back in full swing. On that note, hearing the #Habs are considering 36-year-old Jason Pominville, who had 16G and 31PTS (avg TOI 12:28) in 73 gms with Buffalo last season. There have been some talks. Nothing imminent, but something to look out for.
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) September 3, 2019
Jason Pominville skating in Buffalo still. When asked by @pham1717 about the report he’s negotiating with the Canadiens his reaction was, “Really!? Wow! I’ve been on the ice.”
— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) September 3, 2019