NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2019
The latest on Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Ilya Kovalchuk in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SHOULD THE SENATORS TRADE PAGEAU?
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Ottawa Senators are keeping mum regarding Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s contract status. That’s understandable given their recent history with unrestricted free agents like Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, and Mark Stone. They have no intention of speaking publicly about this situation until the winger is re-signed or traded.
Pageau, 27, is earning an annual average value of $3.1 million. Despite his strong start to this season (11 goals, 19 points in 20 games), McKenzie considers him to be a 10-20 goal, 30-40 point player. The market value suggests he’s worth between $3.65 and $4 million annually. McKenzie speculates Pageau could want over $4 million annually to remain with the rebuilding Senators.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell wonders if Pageau will want to stick with a rebuilding club or look at joining a possible Stanley Cup contender. His versatility and all-around skills would make him an attractive trade option for playoff contenders. If re-signing Pageau isn’t possible, Campbell advocated trading him while his trade value is at its highest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Campbell points out, the young Senators would benefit by keeping Pageau in the fold. Nevertheless, they should explore the trade market to get the best possible return while his value is high if there’s no chance of re-signing him.
UPDATE ON KOVALCHUK
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports discussions continued between the Los Angeles Kings and Ilya Kovalchuk’s representatives regarding the winger’s future with the club. He’s on a 35-plus contract, meaning his full salary-cap hit ($6.25 million AAV) counts against the Kings’ salary cap if his contract is terminated or he retires.
LeBrun believes the better option is trading Kovalchuk but there’s no market for him right now. His agents would like to see him back in the lineup to generate interest in his services but that’s not happening for the time being.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A recent report claimed the Kings intended to terminate Kovalchuk’s contract. LeBrun’s report suggests they’re not close to that option yet. Divorce is coming for Kovalchuk and the Kings, but it won’t be an easy one and could take longer than both sides want.