NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2020
The latest on Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault and Mike Hoffman in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson noted TSN’s report earlier this week claiming the Vegas Golden Knights were looking into shopping winger Max Pacioretty. He examined their options if they decide to go that route.
Emerson cited TSN’s speculation the Golden Knights could use the cap flexibility from moving Pacioretty to perhaps sign a more affordable player such as Mike Hoffman or Erik Haula. Replacing Pacioretty with Hoffman would make sense offensively but Emerson wondered if a better positional player like Haula (a former Golden Knight) might be a better idea.
Haula would be a more affordable option than Hoffman, and the savings could be put toward perhaps adding another player such as Anthony Duclair. However, Emerson feels the Golden Knights would have a bigger target in mind if they traded away Pacioretty.
They could attempt to sign New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal to an offer sheet but that seems unlikely, especially if the compensation to the Isles becomes four first-round picks. Emerson proposed going the trade route, suggesting the Nashville Predators (Viktor Arvidsson or Filip Forsberg) or New York Rangers (Ryan Strome or Pavel Buchnevich) as possible trade partners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights owner Bill Foley recently dismissed the notion of trading Pacioretty. Given the dire dearth of real trade rumors, however, it won’t stop folks from speculating about what they could get in return by shopping him.
The Predators could attempt to shake things up and they have the cap space to take on Pacioretty’s contract. However, I don’t believe Nashville general manager David Poile would take on a 32-year-old winger carrying a $7 million annual average value for the next three seasons, and I don’t see him parting with Arvidsson or Forsberg.
Strome ($4.5 million AAV) and Buchnevich ($3.25 million) surfaced in trade speculation earlier this year but GM Jeff Gorton probably prefers starting the season with those two in his lineup and see how the season unfolds.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited two NHL sources claiming the Los Angeles Kings are interested in attempting to land the player they thought they had two years ago. The Kings tried to acquire Pacioretty from the Montreal Canadiens at the 2018 NHL Draft but the deal fell through and the winger was subsequently shipped to Vegas.
Murphy also reported the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Winnipeg Jets were mentioned by sources as potential suitors for Pacioretty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings’ situation changed since the summer of 2018. They weren’t invested in a full rebuild back then. GM Rob Blake has since put his focus on stocking his roster with promising youth. I don’t see Pacioretty as a fit there.
The Devils have lots of cap space and could use a winger like Pacioretty but they might not be on his list of preferred destinations. The Isles lack the cap space and still need to sign Mathew Barzal. The Sabres made their big offseason acquisition by signing Taylor Hall.
Having lost Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov to free agency, the Panthers could be looking at adding a scorer like Pacioretty, but I wonder how keen they’d be to take on his cap hit. The Jackets are putting their focus on getting Pierre-Luc Dubois under contract. The Jets’ priority is shoring up their blueline once they put Bryan Little on LTIR.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien also took note of Foley denying the Pacioretty trade rumor but the Golden Knights owner admitted in the same interview his club needed to shed cap space. O’Brien proposed winger Jonathan Marchessault as the more likely trade candidate as he’s younger by two years and carries a more affordable cap hit at $5 million annually.
While acknowledging the Golden Knights could be exploring their options in the trade market, O’Brien doesn’t expect they’ll move either player. The club is in win-now mode and has a better chance of doing so with both forwards in the lineup. He suggests a smaller trade or two could alleviate their cap issues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Golden Knights are nearly $975K over the $81.5 million salary cap. They could get cap relief by trading or demoting a lower-salaried player.
Management might prefer shipping out a higher-salaried player to have more cap wiggle room for the coming season. But as O’Brien points out, their chances of winning the Stanley Cup this season are better with Pacioretty and Marchessault in the lineup.
TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie recently asked a panel of guests if Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin might be tempted to sign Mike Hoffman to a one-year, $5 million contract.
Hoffman’s spat with former teammate Erik Karlsson during their final season with the Ottawa Senators raise concerns over the winger’s behavior, but he wasn’t a problem with the Florida Panthers. Signing Hoffman, however, would mean moving out Tomas Tatar and Brett Kulak to clear sufficient cap room.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Could Bergevin make a pitch for Hoffman? Sure, anything’s possible. Will he? No. The Canadiens GM made his big offseason moves by shipping Max Domi to Columbus for Josh Anderson and signing Tyler Toffoli to a four-year contract. Hoffman won’t be signing with the Habs.