NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2019
The latest on Justin Faulk, Dougie Hamilton, Roman Josi, and Andrei Markov in today’s NHL rumor mill.
COULD THE HURRICANES TRADE FAULK OR HAMILTON?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton notes the Carolina Hurricanes signing free-agent defenseman Jake Gardiner creates a logjam on their blueline. It also pushes them above the $81.5-million salary cap by over $1.5 million, forcing them to become cap compliant before the season opens next month.
One option could be demoting fringe players such as Gustav Forsling and Clark Bishop ($1.57 million combined cap hit). Clinton also suggested trading a defenseman such as Justin Faulk or Dougie Hamilton.
Faulk has a limited no-trade clause, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July and could fetch a solid return. Clinton felt Hamilton, who lacks no-trade protection, wasn’t as integral to the Hurricanes’ blue line last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell addresses this situation. The absence of a clear-cut starting goaltender could entice Waddell to maintain a deep blueline corps. He could go the cheap demotion route and see how things unfold this season.
Faulk is the better all-around defenseman but his UFA status could be a sticking point in any trade negotiations. Hamilton is a right-handed shot with good offensive skills but he’s now on his third team since 2014-15.
UNSIGNED RFAs HOLDING UP JOSI CONTRACT
THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan reports Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi is among several notable potential 2020 UFAs still unsigned as training camp approaches. That’s a big change from last year when notables such as Drew Doughty, Logan Couture, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Ryan McDonagh all re-signed with their respective clubs. So did Ryan Ellis, Josi’s defense partner.
An NHL agent blames it on the current stalemate involving notable restricted free agents and their teams. While it doesn’t directly impact the Predators, it affects their efforts to forecast their already-tight salary cap.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Josi’s current annual average value is $4 million, which he’s also earning in actual salary this season. He’s in line for a significant raise on his next contract, more than Ellis’ $6.25-million AAV.
How much more could be determined by how much RFA rearguards like Boston’s Charlie McAvoy and Columbus’ Zach Werenski receive on their new deals. If either of them gets, say, $8 million annually, Josi’s agent could point to that as a comparable.
NO MARKOV IN MONTREAL
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan cites Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin telling RDS’ Marc Denis he’s not interested in bringing back former Habs defenseman Andrei Markov. The 40-year-old blueliner is hoping to return to the NHL following a two-year absence. His first choice was to return to Montreal, where he spent his entire 16-year NHL career.
Bergevin said Markov has aged, the Canadiens’ organization has changed direction, and they want to give more playing time to up-and-coming defensemen like Noah Juulsen, Victor Mete, Josh Brook, and Alexander Romanov.
Markov said he’s also willing to listen to offers from other NHL clubs. His agent, Allan Walsh, recently claimed numerous teams had called expressing interest in his client.