Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 19, 2020
Recent Red Wings, Avalanche, and Devils speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
RED WINGS OFF-SEASON NEEDS
MLIVE.COM: In a series of articles last week, Ansar Khan examined the roster needs of the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings. He believes they’ll require a top-six forward if they don’t win the draft lottery and land top prospect Alexis Lafreniere in this year’s draft. Theyll also need a pair of free-agent defensemen and a backup goaltender.
Khan listed the top free agents available at each position this summer. Forwards include Arizona’s Taylor Hall and Florida’s Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov. St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo, Boston’s Torey Krug, and Toronto’s Tyson Barrie are among the noteworthy defensemen, while goalies include Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vega’s Robin Lehner, and Vancouver Jacob Markstrom.
Asked in a recent mailbag if the Red Wings will buy out any players this off-season, Khan doubted they’ll go that route. He felt the Wings don’t want a player’s contract on the books for additional years, even at a reduced rate. Under normal buyout rules, most buyouts count as two-thirds the remaining value of the contract over twice the remaining term.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $46.2 million invested in 11 players, the Wings have sufficient cap space to re-sign key players like Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri, and have enough left to land one or two quality free agents. The problem, however, is enticing them to join a rebuilding roster that’s several years from playoff contention.
We also don’t know if general manager Steve Yzerman is keen to invest big bucks in big-ticket UFAs to accelerate the rebuild. I don’t doubt he’ll try to bring in some short-term veteran help, but I can’t see him overspending to do so.
Maybe Yzerman tries to land Lehner or Markstrom, but he could find some decent backup options in Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss, or Anton Khudobin. There’s been some media talk suggesting Krug, a Michigan native, could sign with the Wings, but I believe he’ll re-sign with the Bruins. Perhaps the Wings GM can add a UFA blueliner like Justin Schultz or Sami Vatanen.
The Wings might not want to go the traditional buyout route, but perhaps they’d consider a compliance buyout if the league and the PA agree to that rumored plan this summer. Frans Nielsen or Justin Abdelkader could be prime candidates.
WILL THE AVALANCHE RE-SIGN NAMESTNIKOV?
THE ATHLETIC: Ryan S. Clark recently wondered what the Colorado Avalanche should do with Vladislav Namestnikov. Acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline, the versatile 27-year-old forward proved to be a solid addition before the schedule was paused.
Namestnikov’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end completing a two-year deal worth $4 million annually. The Avs have over $24 million in salary-cap space, but also have several restricted free agents (include Andre Burakovsky, Ryan Graves, and Nikita Zadorov) to re-sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Namestnikov’s future with the Avs could be determined by whether the season resumes and how he performs if it does. He appeared to be a playoff rental player, but maybe that changes if he plays well and would accept an affordable short-term deal.
DEVILS NEED BLUELINE HELP
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco recently examined the New Jersey Devils’ pressing need for depth on their defense corps. She felt they need another rearguard or two or three on their blueline, especially on the left side.
Any upgrades could come via trades, as the Devils aren’t in a position to throw big money at free agents. They have plenty of currency in draft picks and salary-cap space. She doesn’t rule out signing a veteran free agent on a short-term contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils must first decide who their general manager will be before making significant off-season decisions. They have over $55.2 milliion committed to 13 players. They have three picks in the opening round of the 2020 NHL Draft, but two of those are conditional picks. They also have two fourth-round picks in this year’s draft, plus two third-rounders and two fifth-rounders in next year’s draft.