NHL Rumor Mill – June 1, 2020
Check out recent Devils and Blackhawks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FREE-AGENT FORWARD TARGETS FOR THE DEVILS
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Corey Masisak recently examined several potential free-agent forward targets for the New Jersey Devils. Among the possibilities was former Devils turned Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall, Florida Panthers wingers Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov, Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli, Colorado Avalanche forward Vladislav Namestnikov, and Nashville Predators’ forward Mikael Granlund.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Masisak wasn’t saying the Devils will target those players. He’s merely looking at possible options.
He doubted Hall might return to the Devils if he doesn’t find a suitable contract in the UFA market but doesn’t completely rule it out. I believe we’ve seen the last of Hall in a Devils’ jersey. He probably wants to play with a contender, which rules out his former team.
I share Masisak’s view that the lack of impact UFA forwards in this year’s market could put Hoffman and Dadonov out of the Devils’ price range. Toffoli will also probably be too expensive. Namestnikov and Granlund could be more affordable, but their inconsistent play in recent years probably won’t make them a good fit for the Devils.
Bargain options could include Edmonton’s Tyler Ennis, Nashville’s Craig Smith, the New York Rangers’ Jesper Fast, Florida’s Erik Haula, Minnesota’s Alexander Galchenyuk, Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary, Tampa Bay’s Patrick Maroon, Vancouver’s Josh Leivo, and Detroit’s Sam Gagner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith and Fast seem like the best of this bunch. They would bring experienced, affordable depth to the Devils’ forward lines but not enough to move the needle forward.
Masisak also looked at some short-term veterans like Carl Soderberg, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jason Spezza, Patrick Marleau, Corey Perry, and Brian Boyle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: These guys are in the twilight years of their respective careers. Kovalchuk could return to the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs could re-sign Spezza, and Marleau could return to San Jose if there’s a spot available with the Sharks. Like the bargain options, there’s no one in this group who could significantly advance the Devils’ rebuild.
BLACKHAWKS FACING PIVOTAL DECISIONS
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Paul Thompson reports the Blackhawks still have pivotal roster decisions to make following the 24-team playoff tournament. Here’s a look at several of the notable ones.
Long-time starting goalie Corey Crawford is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. If he re-signs it likely won’t be for the $6 million annually of his current contract. His age (35) and recent concussion history are cause for concern.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hawks might not have much choice. They sent Robin Lehner to Vegas at the trade deadline. Malcolm Subban, part of the return in that deal, is not an NHL starter. Washington’s Braden Holtby could be available but he’ll probably be too expensive for the Hawks.
Winger Brandon Saad is eligible next summer for UFA status and carrying a $6 million cap hit for 2020-21. He was a frequent subject of trade chatter this season and could surface again in the rumor mill. However, Thompson suggests the Hawks could keep him if they decide to build on the current roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $75 million invested in 19 players for next season and Crawford, Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalik, and Drake Caggiula due for new contracts, the Blackhawks must shed salary to accommodate those deals. They could get some cap relief if Brent Seabrook goes on long-term injury reserve next season. Nevertheless, they might still have to move out Saad to clear more space.
Winger Andrew Shaw was frequently sidelined over the past three seasons. Given his injury history, he might be a luxury they can no longer afford. Shaw has three years left on his contract with an annual average value of $3.9 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaw could also end up on LTIR to start next season. If his concussions are serious enough, he could be there permanently.
Defenseman Olli Maatta is likely a trade or buyout candidate. He’s got two years left on his contract worth over $4.08 million AAV.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maatta saw third-pairing minutes with the Blackhawks. His performance was going downhill during his final two seasons in Pittsburgh before he was shipped to Chicago. They could try to trade him in the off-season, but the decline in his play could make him tough to move.
Center Zack Smith underwent season-ending back surgery and could be a buyout candidate. He signed through next season with a cap hit of $3.25 million.
SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Smith can’t be bought out if he hasn’t fully recovered from surgery whenever the buyout period rolls around.
Hawks need to sign Strome and Kubalik who both should be reasonable . Strome has not set the world on fire and Kubalik a bridge deal.
I believe Seabrook is done. Double hip surgery (+ another procedure) at his age will be a tough one to come back from.
As mentioned yesterday, not likely Rangers keep Lundqvist, unless they deal Gorgiev. There’s a translated interview floating around that Lundqvist have a Swedish reporter. Seems to hint that he’s open to paying elsewhere if the situation is a fit. IMO, he’d be a better option than Crawford. Sharks could be another team. Rangers should be willing to retain a full 50%, but it would probably make more sense for teams to wait and see if he gets bought out.
I’d have to agree, teams will wait until after the buyout in these uncertain financial times. It’s a shame it has come down to this, not a horrible outcome, just feel he deserved better.
The speculation about a Lundqvist buyout was floating around long before the pandemic paused the schedule and put a dent in NHL revenue.
Lyle is correct. Lundqvist has full nmc. Once deadline passed and Gorgiev wasn’t moved, the writing was on the wall for Henrik. It’s not the best ending for him in NY, but it became clear right away that Shesterkin is #1. I’d say there’s still a chance if right offer came along for Gorgiev, Lundqvist could still be here next season.
Sigh, frustrated Devils fan here. So many decisions to be made, and still circling the drain about GM decision. As Lyle pointed out, the pool of available free agents is either too costly for the production provided or the production at any cost is too minimal. The Devils will have to trade/draft their way back. Patience.
Kevin, yes we (devs) will have to overpay some because most ufa’s want a shot at cup now, rather than later. I’d be thrilled if T.Hall came back., but I also believe that ship has sailed. We need more help on the blueline. A Josh Anderson type up front.? I hope we stay away from petite high skilled fw’s in the draft as well.
CBJ fan here. From established local and national sources, Anderson is available (unfortunately, he is loved by the CBJ fanbase). Reports are they are looking to use their prime trade assets to acquire high skill F help. As an NJ fan, I am curious what pieces you think could make sense in a CBJ-NJ deal centered on Anderson?
Palmieri could be the primary asset going back.
Question for Devils fans. On some other sites, I am reading a Subban at 40% retention to Toronto. I am not saying it is a good idea as I have not seen enough to know how far ( or if) he has regressed recently. With the Toronto media and insinuations that he has dressing rooms issues, I am not sure.
My question to Devil and other fans is…What would Subban at 40% retention cost the Leafs in a trade?
If nothing else the first game in Montreal would be a Bell ringer (pun intended).
Kasperi Kapanen to start. The Devils need scoring wingers.
thanks Lyle…I am one Leaf fan that does AJ or Kerfoot will get you a good D man….so Kasperi + seems reasonable to me if Subban is anything like 80% of what he was his first year in Nashville…
Any speculation on how he would deal with the media or the media with him, or the dressing room impact
Subban would be Subban. He’s a larger than life personality who loves the spotlight. He won’t have any problems dealing with the Toronto media.
Hell, he’ll wallow in it!
The problem with getting a Suban type on Toronto is that he will be set up to fail like Tysim Barrie. Morgan Reilly will get the bulk of the PP time so points automatically go down. If Sub ban or Barrie don’t give you 50 points a year than they’re just not as effective. We have plenty of skilled defensemen with Sandin coming in as well. We need pure solid defensemen and even though I think Subban is capable he will be eaten up in Toronto for not putting up 50+ points. There are plenty of teams that could use Subban but the leafs aren’t one of them.
Why would the leafs be interested in another one dimensional dman? Sandin,lilegren both offensive same with the khl dman they signed. They need defensive dmen
The max I could see leafs giving up for subban would be AJ (not kapanen) and lilligren for subban 50% retained. Any more and he wont be a leaf.
PK 50% is still 4.5m . I watched him live and a few games on the tube. No where near his first years in MTL or Nashville. Mistakes and frustrated. Also second PP on that team . No thanks