Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 5, 2020
Recent speculation about several of this year’s notable restricted free agents in the Sunday NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: In his recent list of this year’s top restricted free agents, Luke Fox reported the following tidbits:
New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello recently said he’d match any offer sheet for Mathew Barzal. Fox expects the young center’s next contract will be a juicy one.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: How juicy will depend upon where the salary cap sits for next season. Barzal’s completing his entry-level deal and lacks arbitration rights. Assuming the cap remains at $81.5 million, the Isles have over $71.3 million invested in 18 players, with defensemen Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews also due for next contracts. A big raise for Barzal means Lamoriello must shed salary to make room for other signings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bolts have over $76 million tied up in 15 players, with Mikael Sergachev and Erik Cernak the other noteworthy RFAs. Johnson has a full no-trade clause through 2020-21, but Killorn’s shifts to a 16-team no-trade following this season. That makes him the most likely trade chip. Killorn’s versatility and two-way play will draw considerable interest.
Fox believes the New York Rangers trading Brady Skjei to Carolina frees up the cap and roster space to re-sign Tony DeAngelo, though term could be tricky.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks has suggested the cost of re-signing DeAngelo could be a trade candidate. It’ll be interesting to see how Rangers GM Jeff Gorton handles this situation.
Matt Murray could be the odd man out among the Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltenders. Tristan Jarry lacks arbitration rights so his contract extension should be easier to achieve. They also have Casey DeSmith under contract for next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $68.2 million committed to 15 players, the Penguins can’t afford Murray and Jarry. One of them will be moved, and it’ll likely be Murray. GM Jim Rutherford made a difficult choice in 2017 by choosing Murray over Marc-Andre Fleury. He’ll have no qualms choosing Jarry over Murray.