NHL Rumor Mill – August 5, 2021
What’s the latest with the Wild? Could the Penguins trade Marcus Pettersson or shop for a goaltender? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
UPDATE ON THE WILD
TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani recently reported monitoring the trade market is among several items Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin has on his plate this summer. He believes Guerin could get back into the bidding for Jack Eichel if the Buffalo Sabres lower their asking price.
The Wild GM is also expected to keep an eye on the market to fill some holes at forward. If nothing’s available via trade, he could dip in the shrinking free-agent pool. Some available veterans include James Neal, Tomas Tatar, Tyler Bozak and Kyle Palmieri.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo weighed in on Kevin Fiala’s impending salary arbitration. He believes the winger has popped up in trade talks. If he’s not signed for longer than three years it could hurt his trade value. As an example, Russo believes the Sabres wouldn’t be interested in Fiala as part of a trade for Eichel if he’s on a short-term contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin has to be careful how much he invests in his payroll beyond next season. The Parise and Suter buyouts will bite deeply into their cap space from 2022-23 to 2024-25 to the tune of over $42 million total. He has to keep that in mind even if he decides to jump back into the Eichel sweepstakes. It could force him to look for affordable short-term options via free agency to plug holes up front for this season.
LATEST ON THE PENGUINS
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reporting there are some clubs with an interest in Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson. However, they’re not enamored with his contract. The 25-year-old Pettersson is earning $4.025 million annually through 2024-25.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kingerski points out absorbing half of Pettersson’s deal won’t help the Penguins over the long term. While they’d get some short-term savings, the dead cap space of $3 million (including last year’s buyout of Jack Johnson) over the next four years isn’t the way the Penguins should go.
In other words, Pettersson’s not going anywhere in the foreseeable future unless the Penguins can find a club to take his full contract off their hands without taking much salary back in return.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: On Tuesday, Mike DeFabo reported Penguins president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, claimed his club is happy with their goaltending. “Do we want to have a solution with a more experienced guy if we hit a rut? The answer is maybe,” said Burke, adding the caveat, “Depending on the cost.”
DeFabo reports the cost involved in signing starting goalies this summer was much higher than Penguins starter Tristan Jarry’s $3.5 million. Burke and general manager Ron Hextall examined Jarry’s full body of work and decided to put their limited salary-cap space into addressing other roster needs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jarry’s struggles in the 2021 playoffs sparked considerable speculation the Penguins would seek a replacement via trade or free agency. Their limited cap space, however, kept them from bidding on this summer’s best free-agent options. There’s not much available in the trade market right now.
That explains why they’ve changed goalie coaches this week. They want to work with Jarry and improve his performance.