NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2020
In today’s NHL rumor mill, we take a look at the latest Blues speculation plus several suggested second-line center and defense targets for the Jets.
LATEST ON THE BLUES
STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat, Tom Timmermann was asked if the St. Louis Blues could trade Jaden Schwartz, Jake Allen, or both as cost-cutting measures.
He feels trading Allen would be the easiest solution to freeing up salary-cap space to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo. The improvement in his play this season could improve his trade value.
If Schwartz intends to seek a significant raise on his next contract in 2021, the Blues could be forced to move him. Trading him early when a team can get a full season out of him before his contract expires would improve his value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $79.4 million invested in 20 players, with Pietrangelo and RFA blueliner Vince Dunn their priorities to re-sign. Shedding Schwartz ($5.35 million through 2020-21, 15-team no-trade list) and Allen ($4.35 million through 2020-21) would free up $9.7 million in cap room. That’s enough to re-sign Pietrangelo, but not for Dunn.
Unless Blues management intends to let Pietrangelo walk after this season, they’ll probably have to dump around $14 million to retain their cap, re-sign Dunn, and leave sufficient cap space for other roster moves next season.
SECOND-LINE CENTER & DEFENSE OPTIONS FOR THE JETS
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Murat Ales suggested 16 candidates to address the Winnipeg Jets’ second-line center position for 2020-21.
In-house options include Bryan Little, Andrew Copp, and Jack Roslovic.
Unrestricted free agent possibilities include re-signing Cody Eakin or pursuing the Islanders’ Derick Brassard, Minnesota’s Alex Galchenyuk, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund, Arizona’s Carl Soderberg or Florida’s Erik Haula.
Trade options include Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson, Montreal’s Max Domi, or Dallas’ Roope Hintz.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic could be the most likely in-house option. He wants to move up into the Jets’ top-six. It might be worthwhile to give him that opportunity. If it doesn’t work, they can turn to the in-season trade market.
Granlund might be the best of those proposed UFA options, though he’s spent more time on the wing in recent years. Unless Johnson waives his no-trade clause, he’s not going to Winnipeg. Despite the speculation in the Montreal media over Domi’s future with the Habs, I think they’ll re-sign him. The Stars aren’t moving Hintz, as the big 23-year-old sophomore winger is blossoming into one of their core forwards.
Ken Wiebe (subscription required) looks at 10 defense options via the off-season free-agent and trade markets. The UFAs include Washington’s Brenden Dillon, Calgary’s Travis Hamonic, Toronto’s Tyson Barrie, and Tampa Bay’s Kevin Shattenkirk. His trade targets include Anaheim’s Josh Manson, Carolina’s Jake Gardiner, New Jersey’s Damon Severson, and Minnesota’s Matt Dumba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dillon, Hamonic, and Barrie could be reasonable options. Hamonic is a Manitoba native and could be keen on returning home if the Flames don’t re-sign him.
I don’t see the Ducks parting with Manson, the Devils with Severson, or the Wild with Dumba. Given the state of their respective bluelines, they need those rearguards if they hope to be competitive next season. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, might gladly listen to offers for Gardiner, but I doubt the Jets’ management would be interested in him.