NHL Rumor Mill – August 18, 2021
ESPN: Greg Wyshynski reports Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is entering the final year of his six-year contract. He asked Panthers general manager Bill Zito if there was a date when he’d have to consider trading the 25-year-old center.
Zito said there isn’t one, expressing confidence they’ll get a deal done. He expects an extension will “probably” come before the start of the upcoming season.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards doesn’t see Barkov going anywhere. He reports contract extension talks have been ongoing for some time and are going well. It’s believed they’re close to a deal or have already reached an agreement.
Richards feels the reason why it hasn’t been done yet is there’s no rush. Barkov is still training in Finland but Richards believes the deal will be announced when he returns to South Florida to gear up for the coming season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some teams like to announce the re-signing of core players right away. Others, like the Panthers, prefer to wait until their players are in town to make the formal announcement.
The Panthers are a team on the rise with the potential to become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for the next several seasons. Barkov is a crucial piece of those plans. He’s their franchise player who won his first Selke Trophy last season leading his club to their best performance in years.
Barkov will remain a Florida Panther. The only questions are for how long and for how much. I’m guessing an eight-year deal worth over $9 million annually.
NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Heika was asked how the Dallas Stars will address their logjam in goal if Ben Bishop should return to action at some point this season. He remains sidelined recovering from surgery last fall.
The Stars also have Anton Khudobin and Braden Holtby under one-way contracts while promising Jake Oettinger is on a two-way deal that doesn’t require waivers. If Bishop returns, Khubodin or Holtby could be traded. For now, they don’t appear interested in moving a goalie before the start of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop missing all last season recovering from surgery factored into their decision to sign Holtby. They want to ensure they’ve got sufficient depth if he can’t return and if Khudobin or Oettinger struggle this season. Sitting $4.9 million over the cap, they’ll get some relief if necessary by placing Bishop’s $4.916 million annual cap hit on long-term injury reserve.
Unless Oettinger outperforms Khudobin and Holtby in training camp and preseason, he’s likely headed back to the farm to start the season.
NHL.COM: David Satriano believes the Stars could seek another veteran forward this season rather than relying on young players in their system.