NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2021
Flyers chairman Dave Scott weighs in on his club’s performance plus the latest on the Blackhawks and Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Sam Carchidi reports Flyers chairman Dave Scott shares the frustrations of his club’s fans over the course of this season but doesn’t believe radical change is necessary. “We’re closer than our record shows,” said Scott, pointing out this year’s core group is the same that played well under difficult circumstances during the 2020 playoffs.
Scott feels the Flyers need another scorer and a top-pairing defenseman. He also hinted a backup goaltender could be on their wish list. The chairman believes general manager Chuck Fletcher will have sufficient salary-cap space to add some key pieces even if he doesn’t trade a high-salaried player like Jakub Voracek or James van Riemsdyk or lose one of them in the expansion draft.
Head coach Alain Vigneault and his staff have Scott’s support though the chairman wasn’t thrilled by the job they did this season. He also suggested February’s COVID-19 outbreak among several players could account for the club’s difficulties once they returned to action.
Scott said he hasn’t lost faith in Fletcher and looks forward to playing a full 82-game schedule.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to “CraddyShack” for the link. Landing a scorer, a top-pairing defenseman and a backup goaltender will be costly. Cap Friendly shows the Flyers with $70.2 million invested in 18 players under a flattened salary cap for 2021-22. Goalie Carter Hart, defenseman Travis Sanheim and forward Nolan Patrick are restricted free agents.
I don’t see how the Flyers can bring in some key pieces without shedding salary unless it’s a dollar-for-dollar swap or shopping Hart, Sanheim and Patrick. Feel free to weigh in with your proposals in the comments section below.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers considers center Dylan Strome likely to return with the Chicago Blackhawks next season despite his struggles this season and uncertain future. His trade value could be low coming off a down year. There’s a chance he could be selected in the expansion draft if the Blackhawks expose him.
The Blackhawks would like to keep center Pius Suter but Powers is uncertain if they can afford to re-sign him. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. If a contract cannot be worked out the Blackhawks could trade him or let him walk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have $74.3 million tied up in 20 players next season. They can get over $10 million in cap relief by placing the permanently sidelined Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw on long-term injury reserve. That would provide plenty of space for Suter but the Hawks will prefer keeping him on an affordable short-term deal.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka listed a lack of scoring punch among five reasons the San Jose Sharks will miss the playoffs this season. He feels management’s priority is to address this issue in the offseason or the club will head down the same path next season.
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently reported the Sharks have some decisions to make regarding restricted free agent forwards like Rudolfs Balcers, Ryan Donato, Noah Gregor, Alex True, Joachim Blichfeld, Jeffrey Viel and Dylan Gambrell.
Balcers is the only one probably assured of returning in the opening lineup next season because of his solid play among their top-six this season. Donato is the most expensive of the group ($1.9 million) but he’s tumbled down the depth chart this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Addressing that scoring depth issue won’t be easy with the Sharks carrying $68.5 million committed to 13 players for 2021-22. Maybe a couple of those RFAs get packaged into a deal for a scorer but it’ll take something else of significance in that package to get it done. They also have a number of veterans carrying expensive contracts that could be difficult to move this summer.