Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 5, 2020
Check out the latest unrestricted free agent speculation in today’s NHL rumor roundup.
TSN: Craig Button was recently asked to determine which NHL teams would be the best fit for this year’s top unrestricted free agents.
Button believes defenseman Alex Pietrangelo would be better off staying put with the St. Louis Blues. He’s the captain of the defending Stanley Cup champions and should be a Norris Trophy contender for the next several years. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has managed his salary cap very well.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The flat salary cap of $81.5 million for next season won’t make it easy for Armstrong to re-sign his captain. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $79 million invested in 20 players, with Pietrangelo and blueliner Vince Dunn to re-sign. Armstrong must shed some considerable salary to re-sign those two.
Button also believes the Boston Bruins can re-sign rearguard Torey Krug. Like the Blues, the Bruins managed their cap well.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have more cap room than the Blues, with $63.5 million committed to 18 players. In addition to Krug, Zdeno Chara, Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Matt Grzelcyk, Kevan Miller and Joakim Nordstrom are also free agents, with Chara, Miller, and Nordstrom in the UFA category. Assuming they get Krug for around $7 million annually, it could complicate efforts to re-sign and replace the rest. Still, they’re in a better place cap-wise to re-sign their key players.
Asked about Taylor Hall, Button believes the Colorado Avalanche could be a good fit. If Hall wants to chase the Stanley Cup, Button recommends signing a one-year deal with the Avs. Given the ongoing uncertainty over the salary cap, a strong performance next season in Colorado would put Hall in a great spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s no secret Avs GM Joe Sakic attempted to acquire Hall before the New Jersey Devils shipped him to the Arizona Coyotes. He could be interested in the former Hart Trophy winner is willing to accept a one-year deal that doesn’t interfere with other signings this year.
Colorado has just over $59 million tied up in 10 players, with notables such as Andre Burakovsky, Ryan Graves, Nikita Zadorov, Vladislav Namestikov, and Valeri Nichushkin to re-sign or replace. Sakic could also be leery of making a long-term investment in a big-ticket free agent when Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar, and Philipp Grubauer are slated to become free agents next summer.
Button suggested Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner return to where his NHL career started by signing with the Ottawa Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On paper, this looks like a reasonable idea. The rebuilding Senators need an established starting goaltender and they have the salary-cap space (only $41.9 million invested in just nine players) to make Lehner a very wealthy netminder.
However, we don’t know if cantankerous Senators owner Eugene Melnyk would approve such an expensive foray into the UFA market. Lehner could prefer signing with a contender rather than joining a rebuilding club, especially one with unpredictable ownership.