Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 1, 2020
A look at seven teams that could weaponize their cap space plus an update on Mike Hoffman in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon recently listed the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, and Los Angeles Kings as seven teams that could use their cap space to target cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary.
All have $11.5 million or more in cap room. Some have already put that available cash to good use, as the Wings acquired defenseman Marc Staal while the Senators landed goaltender Matt Murray.
Dixon noted the rumors linking the Predators to unrestricted free agent winger Mike Hoffman but felt if they were going to sign him it would’ve happened by now. He also wondered if the Devils would use their cap room to absorb a healthy chunk of P.K. Subban’s salary if it would land them a decent draft pick or prospect.
The Blue Jackets must re-sign Pierre-Luc Dubois, who’s a restricted free agent lacking arbitration rights. However, Dixon feels there could be enough space after he signs to perhaps make a bold move.
THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan mused over whether the Predators would weaponize their cap space. An obvious target is the Tampa Bay Lightning, who must shed salary to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev, and Erik Cernak. Trade options could include Alex Killorn or Yanni Gourde. Vingan also suggested trying to sign one of those RFAs to an offer sheet.
Vingan also suggested the Predators target Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault. He also proposed taking a bad contract from the New York Islanders (such as Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ladd or Leo Komarov) for picks and prospects, then burying the veteran in the minors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those seven teams may have the cap space but that doesn’t mean they will target a club looking to dump salary. The Wings and Senators could wait until training camp to see if any teams get desperate to become cap compliant. For now, however, it seems like they’ve made their big moves.
Dixon made an interesting suggestion about the Devils picking up part of Subban’s $9 million annual salary-cap hit to facilitate a deal. At this stage, however, I believe they would prefer acquiring a player that can help them now rather than stocking up further on futures. That’s a move I can see them doing, provided they can drum up interest in Subban, whose stock has declined over the last couple of seasons.
The Jackets could go after another forward once they re-sign Dubois but I think shipping Josh Anderson to Montreal for Max Domi has addressed that issue. GM Jarmo Kekalainen might prefer leaving some cap space available for later in the season.
Panthers GM Bill Zito could also be operating under a cap ceiling lower than the league’s $81.5 million, which would explain why he hasn’t made a big splash yet. Kings GM Rob Blake could make another move or two but so far seems content building up his roster from within.
The Predators reportedly have a serious interest in Hoffman. Maybe general manager David Poile is considering other options, but he could be playing the waiting game in the hope the veteran winger lowers his asking price. And speaking of Hoffman…
THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reporting the offers Hoffman has received thus far are “bargain city.” However, his agent claims his client is willing to wait for the deal he believes he deserves.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports the Boston Bruins are among a half-dozen teams interested in Hoffman. He also cited LeBrun’s report, noting the winger’s received one-year offers between $3.5 million and $4.5 million. Haggerty said it sounds like the Predators, Panthers, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers are also interested in Hoffman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect Hoffman will put pen to paper with one of those clubs until around the start of training camp. Time will tell if he gets a one-year, $6 million deal or settles for less.