NHL Rumor Mill – May 1, 2020
Check out the latest speculation on Taylor Hall, Alex Pietrangelo, and Tyson Barrie in today’s NHL rumor mill.
CAN THE OILERS AFFORD TO BRING BACK HALL?
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if they wanted to bring back Hall, assuming he’s willing to return to Edmonton, they can’t afford it. As per Cap Friendly, the Oilers have over $72 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21.
Mitchell and Willis suggest trading Kris Russell, buying out James Neal, and signing Ethan Bear and Andreas Athanasiou to affordable short-term deals. In theory, that would free up enough to sign Hall to a deal worth over $8 million annually.
Trading Russell, however, isn’t a certainty. It would make sense to dump Neal if there are compliance buyouts this off-season, but everything I’ve read and heard about that of late indicates the owners are cool to that notion.
If so, the Oilers will have to use the normal buyout route. It will free up over $3.8 million in annual cap room, but also leave over $1.9 million in annual dead cap space over the next six years.
More importantly, signing Hall for over $8 million annually would see the Oilers invest nearly $30 million in long-term cap space in him, Connor McDavid, and Leon Draisaitl. Given the potential effect of the pandemic upon league revenue and the salary cap for the next several years, it’s probably not a good idea to tie up so much money in just three guys.
WILL THE AVALANCHE TARGET HALL OR PIETRANGELO?
THE DENVER POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Chambers was asked about the Colorado Avalanche pursuing Taylor Hall or St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo via the off-season free-agent market. Chamber claims they aren’t interested in either player.
“The Avs will continue to build from their prospects, not free agency. They love their top-six forwards and don’t have room for another right-shot defenseman, with Connor Timmins set to come up and join Cale Makar and Erik Johnson on the right side.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chambers suggested talk of the Avs looking at Hall or Pietrangelo was based on speculation from other media types. General manager Joe Sakic reportedly expressed some interest in Hall before he was traded last December by the New Jersey Devils to the Arizona Coyotes. The Avs’ cap space for next season (over $59 million invested in 10 players) also stokes that conjecture.
However, the Avs must re-sign or replace such notables as Ryan Graves, Andre Burakovsky, Nikita Zadorov, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Valeri Nichushkin. Even if Sakic re-signs them all to affordable contracts, he probably won’t have enough to target a big-ticket UFA. He must also ensure sufficient long-term cap room to re-sign Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar next summer. If Sakic decides to add to his roster, I think it’ll be via the trade market rather than free agency.
WHERE COULD BARRIE END UP?
SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked where he thought Tyson Barrie will end up playing next season. The 28-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and isn’t expected to be re-signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It’s believed Barrie has some interest in going home to British Columbia, but Fox doubts he’s a fit with the Vancouver Canucks when they’ve already got an elite power-play quarterback in Quinn Hughes. He suggests “Detroit, Chicago, New Jersey, and Los Angeles make for interesting fits on paper,” but thinks Winnipeg would be a more compelling destination.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Fox pointed out, Barrie would have to be willing to play for a rebuilding club to join the Red Wings, Blackhawks, Devils, or Kings. The Jets, however, remain a playoff contender loaded with scoring forwards who could further benefit from Barrie’s offensive skills from the blueline. With Dustin Byfuglien off their books, perhaps Barrie would be an enticing, more affordable option.