NHL Rumor Mill – October 3, 2019
Updates on Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn, Joshua Ho-Sang, Jesse Puljujarvi, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman cited an NHL executive suggesting the St. Louis Blues and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo should agree to a new contract unless one side doesn’t want to make it work. Pietrangelo is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.
Friedman points out Pietrangelo turns 30 in January. His negotiations come at a time when teams are spending more on younger talent. Friedman also believes the Blues are “taking a big run” at re-signing pending UFA center Brayden Schenn.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cost and term will be the big issues for Pietrangelo. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong could balk if his captain seeks a seven- or eight-year deal worth over $9 million annually. However, he could also be reluctant to let his top defenseman – the guy who led the Blues to its first-ever Stanley Cup championship – depart via free agency.
With over $67 million invested in 16 players (stick tap to Cap Friendly), it’ll be difficult to keep Pietrangelo and Schenn. Armstrong’s admitted he’ll have to get creative to re-sign both and leave enough for the rest of the roster. That could mean a cost-cutting trade or two before July 1.
If the Blues are out of playoff contention by the Feb. 24 trade deadline, Armstrong could shop Pietrangelo and/or Schenn if there are no agreements on new contracts by that point. Nevertheless, I think he’ll be keen to keep both players in the fold.
Friedman also believes a break is coming between the New York Islanders and Joshua Ho-Sang. He cited Isles GM Lou Lamoriello saying the young winger worked hard to earn a roster spot in training camp but it didn’t work out. Ho-Sang passed unclaimed through waivers earlier this week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some think Ho-Sang might improve with a new club. The fact he passed through waivers, however, indicates nobody else wants to give him that opportunity.
It’s been five years since the Islanders selected Ho-Sang in the first round (28th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. He’s had several opportunities under different coaches and management to crack their roster. The simple truth could be that he isn’t good enough to cut it at the NHL level.
Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland indicated things are quiet on the Jesse Puljujarvi trade front. The young winger is currently playing in Finland waiting for the Oilers to honor his trade request. Holland hopes Puljujarvi’s performance overseas bolsters his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have until Dec. 1 to re-sign Puljujarvi or he’ll become ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season.
Friedman advises keeping an eye on the Arizona Coyotes goaltending. They re-signed Darcy Kuemper and claimed Eric Comrie off waivers this week. With Antti Raanta and Adin Hill also in the fold, perhaps GM John Chayka will use this goalie surplus to swing a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could depend on Raanta. Friedman notes he’s very good when healthy, but he’s struggled through injuries over the past two seasons. He was sidelined during training camp and was sent to their farm team on a two-week conditioning stint. If there’s concern over Raanta’s health, Chayka could need that surplus between the pipes.
Friedman believes the New Jersey Devils looked at Florida Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk. He also noted the Dallas Stars seek a “reasonably high pick (second- or third-rounder) or a prospect” for rearguard Julius Honka.