NHL Rumor Mill – April 21, 2021
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan believes a significant shakeup is coming this summer for the struggling Calgary Flames. He believes they should focus on moving underachieving forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan but also felt they should be open to offers for winger Matthew Tkachuk.
The 23-year-old Tkachuk has a year left on his contract at $7 million before becoming a restricted free agent. He has 10 goals and 30 points in 45 games, prompting Brennan to claim he isn’t providing the Flames what he’s being paid to give.
Brennan acknowledged trading Tkachuk shouldn’t be at the top of the Flames offseason “to do” list but feels they should be willing to listen to offers. He goes on to suggest the Senators make a pitch to reunite Matthew with little brother Brady in Ottawa, wondering how much more it might cost above a first-round pick and Logan Brown to get a deal done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brennan’s merely spitballing, of course. We don’t know if the Flames will put Tkachuk on the block or even listen to offers, though nothing should be off the table at this point.
We also don’t know if the Senators would consider making a pitch for Matthew but their first-round pick will certainly be part of the asking price if they do. The Flames will want more than Logan Brown unless another good young player or prospect is also part of the offer. There’s also the question of how much Matthew will want on his next contract and the willingness of the Senators (or another club) to pay it. It will likely be more expensive than his current deal.
I believe the Flames will retain Matthew for at least one more season to see how he responds if Gaudreau and/or Monahan get traded this summer. They have to move quickly on Gaudreau as he’s an unrestricted free agent next summer but there’s no reason to do so with Tkachuk given his RFA status next year.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun canvassed “half a dozen NHL front office executives” to determine how much Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman might get via this summer’s free-agent market. The responses varied between $4.5 million and $5.5 million. LeBrun believes Hyman’s agent could also use Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher ($6.5 million annually) as a comparable in contract talks.
LeBrun believes the number is going to have to start with a four if Hyman wants to stay with the Leafs under a tight salary cap. It’ll start with a five if he tests the open market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hyman’s completing a four-year, $9 million contract ($2.25 million annual average value). He’s become an invaluable member of their core as a tenacious, versatile forward.
While Hyman and Gallagher play a similar style, the latter has better stats and plays a leadership role. The Leafs winger isn’t getting a contract comparable to the Habs alternate captain.
Cap Friendly indicates the Leafs have $68.1 million invested in 13 players for 2021-22. In addition to Hyman, they must also re-sign or replace Frederik Andersen, Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds, Nick Foligno, Jason Spezza, Ben Hutton, Zach Bogosian and David Rittich.
As LeBrun said, if Hyman wants to stay in Toronto he’ll have to accept something between $4 million and $4.99 million.