Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 1, 2021
WILL FLEURY REPORT TO THE BLACKHAWKS?
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Rob Rossi report multiple sources close to Marc-Andre Fleury said he and his family haven’t yet made a final decision on his future. The 36-year-old goalie is apparently wary of trusting another team after the Vegas Golden Knights traded him to the Chicago Blackhawks. Fleury learned of the trade on Twitter rather than directly from Vegas management.
Fleury has one season left on his contract and could decide to retire instead of report to the Hawks. However, he could be leaning toward reporting to the Blackhawks after making inquiries with people familiar with the club’s ownership, front office and coaching staff. The Hawks have also been in contact with Fleury and remain hopeful he’ll play for them. He could seek assurances he won’t be traded this season.
His reluctance to go to the Blackhawks is based on what’s right for his family and has nothing again against the team or the city. There’s speculation the Blackhawks could trade him back to the Pittsburgh Penguins but GM Ron Hextall doubts the Blackhawks would trade him. The cost of acquiring Fleury would be complicated given their limited cap room.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury apparently received assurances from Golden Knights owner Bill Foley that he wouldn’t be moved despite his lack of a full no-trade clause. Many of his former teammates interviewed by The Athletic said they’d be surprised if he walked away. The story also cited league sources citing their belief Fleury will play this season because he hopes to play for Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Fleury’s concern seems to stem from an unwillingness to move his family to Chicago if they’ll turn around and trade him later in the season. Based on The Athletic’s reporting, he could reach a decision soon.
A trade back to Pittsburgh isn’t out of the question but that appears a long shot at best. It will require a significant cost-cutting trade that could prove too complicated to pull off without weakening the Penguins elsewhere in their lineup.
LATEST EICHEL TRADE SPECULATION
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders if the Buffalo Sabres would be willing to retain half of Jack Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit to facilitate a trade. He envisions a scenario where the Rangers could then pitch promising winger Kaapo Kakko in a package deal including other prospects and perhaps a first-round pick. That would enable the Rangers to re-sign Mika Zibanejad for around $9 million per season, giving the Blueshirts a powerful one-two punch at center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, if you’re gonna dream, dream big!
Brooks also reports the Golden Knights are still believed to have an interest in Eichel, despite their limited salary cap space. Even when Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon was acquiring Evgenii Dadonov from the Ottawa Senators, he was apparently preparing to send multiple assets to Buffalo for Eichel.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy recently reported the Sabres’ asking price from the Golden Knights was believed to be winger Reilly Smith, prospect Peyton Krebs, promising defenseman Nicolas Hague and a first-round pick. However, they’re already sitting just above the $81.5 million salary cap. It’ll be a tight fit even if the Sabres picked up half of Eichel’s cap hit, meaning another cost-cutting deal would have to be made.
CANUCKS UNWORRIED ABOUT POSSIBLE PETTERSSON OFFER SHEET.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma recently reported Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning was wary but unworried about Elias Pettersson receiving an offer sheet. “I don’t think people should be concerned,” he said, pointing out the constructive talks with Pettersson’s agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have over $14 million in cap space with Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Jason Dickinson and Olli Juolevi to re-sign. Hughes is ineligible to receive an offer sheet because he hasn’t played enough NHL games to qualify. An offer sheet for Pettersson could complicate things for the Canucks but I don’t think they have too much to worry about here.
Assuming the Pettersson camp is open to an offer sheet, the compensation rate due to the Canucks, if he were signed away to a deal worth between $6.16 million and $8.22 million, is a first-round pick, a second and a third. From $8.23 million to $10.276 million, it’s two firsts, a second and a third. Beyond that, it’s four first-rounders.
I don’t see teams pitching over $8.22 million annually for Pettersson. The Canucks can easily match that so there’s little incentive to try.