NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2020
Could Islanders center Mathew Barzal receive an offer sheet this summer? Can the Isles afford to pursue a big-ticket UFA like Taylor Hall? Could the Rangers find it costly to re-sign Tony DeAngelo? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ISLANDERS SPECULATION
NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman spoke about the possibility of New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal receiving an offer sheet this summer. He pointed to the Montreal Canadiens’ attempt to sign Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho last summer. He also believes there were some considered for Mitch Marner, but he decided to stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and that the Arizona Coyotes would’ve attempted to offer-sheet Auston Matthews had he not re-signed with the Leafs by July 1 last year.
Friedman believes we’ll see more offer sheets in the future. Barzal could be a target if he’s unsigned by July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract and lacking arbitration rights. The threat of an offer sheet could provide his representatives with significant leverage to secure a lucrative raise on his next deal. The Isles, however, have over $71.3 million invested in 18 players, leaving little wiggle room to ink Barzal to a big raise and address their other roster needs.
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple believes the Islanders must find a top-six scoring winger, but it won’t be easy. General manager Lou Lamoriello will be courting a salary-cap disaster if he revisits his attempt to acquire Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise this summer. If he attempts to sign Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall via the free-agent market, he’ll have to cut payroll to make room for his $8-$9 million annual average value. That could mean attempting to move out defenseman Nick Leddy or winger Leo Komarov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the league does to address ongoing coronavirus concerns this season will also affect the Isles salary cap (and those of every other NHL club) for 2020-21. The recent projection of a cap between $84 million and $88 million seems optimistic now.
Assuming the cap reaches $84 million, the Isles will only have around $12 million available, with most of that to be taken up re-sign Barzal and defensemen Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews. Pursuing Parise or Hall could become more complicated. Slashing payroll to add a scoring winger could create more holes elsewhere in the lineup.
RE-SIGN DEANGELO COULD GET EXPENSIVE FOR THE RANGERS
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently mused over the potential cost for the New York Rangers to re-sign Tony DeAngelo if it goes to arbitration this summer. The 24-year-old defenseman has 53 points on the season. “What do you think each point might be worth now in an arbitrator’s straight calculation — $100,000, maybe?”, asked Brooks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: By that calculation, it would cost the Rangers $5.3 million annually to re-sign DeAngelo. He didn’t have arbitration rights last summer and was forced to accept the Rangers one-year, $925K contract. It’ll be a different story this summer.
With over $67 million committed to 15 players, the Rangers have the cap space to re-sign DeAngelo to a substantial raise. Nevertheless, it could make it difficult to re-sign or replace their other RFAs, such as Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, and Alexandar Georgiev, who also have arbitration rights.