NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2020
The latest on Brendan Gallagher, Mike Hoffman, Tyler Johnson and Johnny Boychuk in today’s NHL rumor mill.
GALLAGHER’S FUTURE IN MONTREAL IN DOUBT?
TSN: Darren Dreger wonders about Brendan Gallagher’s future with the Montreal Canadiens after contract talks broke off. Discussions between the right-winger and the Canadiens were going well until they acquired Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli and now general manager Marc Bergevin is playing hardball with the Gallagher camp.
Gallagher is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, giving the two sides plenty of time to negotiate a deal. However, this situation has some observers wondering if Bergevin might consider trading the 28-year-old winger. Frank Seravalli believes the Vancouver Canucks would be among the suitors, pointing to their need for a scoring winger and Gallagher’s ties to Vancouver.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallagher’s situation could be a preview of what most of next year’s UFA class could experience. The cap is expected to remain flat again for 2021-22 and that will force general managers to be less accommodating with their pending UFA talent than they were in the past. The acquisitions of Anderson and Toffoli also provide Bergevin with leverage that he didn’t have before the offseason began.
Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have $1.998 million in cap space. Seravalli believes they have some ability to move out some contracts, suggesting Loui Eriksson or Brandon Sutter, as well as noting uncertainty over winger Jake Virtanen’s future. He feels GM Jim Benning would like to make one more splash in this offseason.
The Canucks might be interested in Gallagher if he hits the trade block, but I doubt they can put together a deal to land him. The winger carries a cap hit of $3.75 million. Benning will have to move over $4 million to take him on, assuming he can put together an enticing package for Bergevin. Other clubs with more roster and salary-cap flexibility could outbid the Canucks.
UPDATE ON JOHNSON
TSN: Seravalli reports Tyler Johnson has expanded his list of trade destinations from five to eight clubs. His camp is also willing to accept some suggestions from Tampa Bay Lightning management to best facilitate a trade that will get the club out of salary-cap hell.
The Lightning could be forced to include a draft pick with Johnson or any other player (Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde) they would consider moving in a cost-cutting trade. Those players, however, hold all the cards with their no-trade clauses.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning will probably have to pay far more than they would prefer to move one of those players. Every GM in the league knows their cap situation and won’t make it easy for them.
LATEST ON HOFFMAN
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Mike Hoffman is holding firm on his value and belief he’s a $5.5 million to $6 million player. He believes the 30-year-old winger can be had on a one-year contract. The Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators are the most interested, though the Canucks and Canadiens could get into the mix if they can move some pieces.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss indicates the problem for Bruins GM Don Sweeney is signing a player such as Hoffman would take up a big chunk of his $12 million in salary-cap space. The other clubs said to be interested in the winger will face the same issue. Hoffman and the remaining players in this year’s UFA market could be waiting a while to get what they want or be forced to significantly lower their asking prices.
ISLANDERS TRYING TO MOVE BOYCHUK
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple cites a report by The Fourth Period claiming the New York Islanders were close to trading Johnny Boychuk on Monday evening. The 36-year-old defenseman carries an annual average value of $6 million over the next two seasons, though in actual salary he’ll be owed just $5.25 million for the duration of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication if efforts to trade Boychuk are ongoing following their trade of Devon Toews on Monday to the Colorado Avalanche. The veteran blueliner also carries an eight-team list of trade destinations, though perhaps he can be persuaded into broadening that list.