NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2020
Possible Lightning trade candidates, Jeff Carter’s future with the Kings, and the latest Predators speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
POSSIBLE LIGHTNING TRADE CANDIDATES
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Joe Smith believes the Tampa Bay Lightning’s salary-cap crunch for 2020-21 will see Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson, and Yanni Gourde surface in trade rumors. The Bolts must free up salary-cap space to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev.
Killorn will have a modified no-trade clause starting in 2020-21, while Johnson and Gourde have full no-trade clauses. If teams are granted compliance buyouts this summer and the Lightning get desperate, Smith could see Johnson and Gourde among the candidates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve read some pundits suggesting teams with lots of picks, prospects or affordable young players should make trade proposals for Cirelli or Sergachev. Some have also suggested signing one or both to offer sheets.
We can’t dismiss these options, but I don’t see either one happening. The Bolts don’t appear interested in trading Cirelli and Sergachev, and those two might not be receptive to offer sheets.
Smith isn’t saying Killorn, Johnson, or Gourde will be traded. He’s merely suggesting they’ll pop up in off-season speculation. Nevertheless, something’s gotta give for the Lightning to re-sign Sergachev and Cirelli.
Killorn would be the easiest to move, freeing up $4.45 million in cap space. Johnson or Gourde might be willing to accept a trade, but I daresay they’ll have only a handful of preferred destinations. Compliance buyouts are possible, but they’re not a certainty at this point.
COULD CARTER BE HEADING TO PERMANENT LTIR?
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently reported a core muscle injury will keep Jeff Carter out of the Los Angeles Kings’ lineup if the regular season resumes this summer. He wondered if the constant losing of the last three seasons is wearing on the 35-year-old center as much as the physical wear-and-tear, suggesting perhaps a “soft retirement” via long-term injury reserve.
Carter’s annual cap hit for the next two seasons is $5.275 million, but his actual salary is $2 million per season. Trading his contract to a budget team would be a logical way for the Kings to free up additional salary-cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will be up to Carter. If he wants to keep playing beyond this season, the LTIR option is out. He lacks no-trade protection but could be reluctant to uproot himself and his family, hence last season’s speculation suggesting he might retire if traded.
LATEST PREDATORS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan was asked about the chances of the Nashville Predators moving on with Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith next season. Both forwards are unrestricted free agents at season’s end.
Should the salary cap remain at $81.5 million, Vingan believes the Predators probably won’t have enough cap room to re-sign both. He feels it would be easier to re-sign Smith as he won’t cost as much as Granlund.