NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2021
TSN: Darren Dreger reported last night on the contract talks of the Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes and the Ottawa Senators’ Brady Tkachuk. The trio is training together in Michigan as they await the finalization of their new deals.
While the Canucks are making progress with Pettersson and Hughes, discussions are grinding on between the Senators and Tkachuk’s representatives. While the relationship remains amicable, Dreger indicates the structure of the deal remains the sticking point.
If Tkachuk accepts a long-term deal, Dreger believes he’ll want bonus money and some no-trade protection. If it’s a bridge deal, he speculates the annual average value could be too much for the Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports out of Ottawa claim the Senators have tabled an eight-year deal worth an annual average value of $8 million. The length and AAV could be fine with the Tkachuk camp, but they want a portion of his actual salary to come in the form of signing bonuses.
Players with signing bonuses in their contracts get that money upfront in one lump sum at the start of each season. More star players are insisting on that because of the flattened salary cap for the next several years. The Senators, however, don’t include signing bonuses in their contracts.
As per Cap Friendly, Tkachuk isn’t eligible for no-trade protection until he’s played seven NHL seasons because he made his NHL debut at age 19. That means it wouldn’t kick in under his new contract until after the fourth season.
The no-trade protection should be the easiest of those issues to hash out but that depends on whether the Senators will allow for a full no-trade or a partial one. Their position on signing bonuses could be the biggest stumbling block if they’re unwilling to relent.
Turning to the standoff between the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel, Dreger reports the NHL and NHLPA have been speaking to all parties involved and have been for some time. An interesting twist is that teams with trade interest in Eichel are being given medical information as it comes in.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s heft contract, the Sabres’ expensive asking price and the ongoing uncertainty over his medical status remain significant impediments toward getting a trade done. Nevertheless, the fact interested clubs are being allowed access to Eichel’s medical records suggests they could allow him to undergo the disc replacement surgery he’s been pushing for. Whether that means we’ll see a deal made soon remains to be seen.
VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson the Canucks have been shopping defenseman Travis Hamonic ahead of today’s opt-out deadline. It hasn’t been confirmed by Hamonic’s agent if his client would show up to play for an American team if traded or opt-out of this season regardless.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic hasn’t reported to Canucks training camp amid concerns over the league’s COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming season. Players have until today to opt-out of participating.
Hamonic passed on the 2020 playoff bubble because his then-infant daughter was hospitalized with a respiratory ailment. We’ll find out by the end of today whether he’ll be playing this season and if it’ll be with the Canucks.