NHL Rumor Mill (Part 2) – October 6, 2020
Check out the latest speculation on the notable unrestricted free agents in Part 2 of today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports it doesn’t sound as though there’s a lot of interest in Taylor Hall’s rights in the trade market. That doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of interest in the 28-year-old left-winger when the free-agent market opens on Friday. Dreger indicates Hall intends to take his time with the free-agent process and may not make his decision on where he’ll sign until Saturday or even Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t blame Hall for taking his time. I think he wants to play for a contender and will carefully weigh his potential destinations, even if it’s just on a one- or two-year deal.
Pierre LeBrun reports it appears Florida Panthers winger Mike Hoffman is heading to market on Friday. However, if the Panthers can free up some cap space before then, they would circle back and make another offer to Hoffman. LeBrun believes the 30-year-old winger could interest clubs that fail to sign Taylor Hall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman led all of this year’s UFA class with 29 goals and 59 points in 69 games. He’s averaged 20-or-more goals and 48-plus points in each of the last six seasons.
NESN.COM: Ricky Doyle reported Monday that Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney acknowledged he hasn’t had any progress in contract talks with Torey Krug. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
Sweeney, however, hasn’t ruled out signing Krug if the blueliner doesn’t find any worthwhile offers on the open market. “Several free agents have gone and tested the market and come back to the same place that they were at, and it’s something we would also considered,” he said, adding there was no animosity with Krug.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krug’s departure is being treated as a foregone conclusion. Given the flattened salary cap for next season, however, we can’t rule out the possibility that he might not find better offers than the six-years (at $6.5 million annually) by the Bruins.
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports re-signing Jacob Markstrom remains high on Vancouver Canucks’ GM Jim Benning’s to-do list. “We’re going to keep working with his agent and see if we can find common ground,” said Benning. Markstrom, Chris Tanev and Tyler Toffoli are unrestricted free agents. The Canucks GM admitted it would be difficult to re-sign all three if he can’t reshape the club’s cap situation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, if he can’t find someone to take Loui Eriksson ($6 million annual average value through 2021-22) or Brandon Sutter ($4.35 million for 2020-21) off his hands, one of those three UFA will be playing elsewhere next season.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis lists the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper, former Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray as possible replacements for Corey Crawford if the Blackhawks fail to re-sign him by Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Greiss, Khudobin and Lundqvist would be free-agents signings and likely affordable short-term ones. Kuemper and Murray would have to be acquired via trade. Of this group, Kuemper would be the best target. The 30-year-old goalie had solid stats over the last two seasons and carries an affordable $4.5 million AAV for the next two seasons. Recent reports, however, suggest the Coyotes aren’t as keen to move him as originally believed.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Oilers GM Ken Holland will seek a short-term replacement for sidelined defenseman Oscar Klefbom via the UFA market. Klefbom could require surgery on his injured left shoulder that could force him to miss most or all of 2020-21.