Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 14, 2021
The latest on Tomas Hertl, a suggestion for the Ducks to embrace a full rebuild, and speculation over whether the Penguins should shop for a backup in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz still believes there is a 50-50 chance Tomas Hertl signs a contract extension with the San Jose Sharks. While the 28-year-old center seems happier this season, that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to finish his career in San Jose or the Sharks want to sign him to a long, expensive contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl has said he hopes to speak with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson later this season about a contract extension. However, it won’t be easy to fit a new deal for him under their cap hit for next season.
Cap Friendly shows them with almost $62 million invested in 15 players for 2022-23. Assuming Hertl and Wilson agree to a $7 million annual average value, that won’t leave much room to bolster their roster unless they can shed some salary. Some will suggest buying out Evander Kane’s contract but that would leave a lot of dead cap space over the next six seasons.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Anaheim Ducks should embrace a true roster rebuild following Bob Murray’s resignation as general manager. He suggested attempting to move John Gibson in a well-timed, sell-high trade.
The 28-year-old goaltender carries a $6.4 million annual cap hit through 2026-27. Otherwise, they risk his performance declining by the time they’re truly ready to contend. O’Brien acknowledged trades involving prominent goalies with term on their contracts traded during the season but felt they should be aggressive and creative in pushing their rebuild.
With Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson on expiring contracts, O’Brien proposed shopping them (along with Gibson) at the March trade deadline. They could also weaponize their cap space by moving those players out to create enough room to target teams willing to pay a premium to unload some contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll likely get a better grasp of what the Ducks interim management intends to do by the second half of the season. They could start shopping those pending free agents and veterans like Gibson who might not fit into their long-term plans if they’ve tumbled out of playoff contention by March. However, they could also retain those players if they’re in the thick of the postseason race.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski wondered if the Penguins will be shopping for a reliable backup as Casey DeSmith has allowed four or more goals in seven of his last 10 starts dating back to last March.
Kingerski noted sources said Penguins management was interested in finding an experienced backup over the summer. Brian Burke (president of hockey operations) downplayed those rumors last month but Kingerski speculates that might be more the result of a bad trade market than a lack of interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Josh Yohe doesn’t think it’s time yet for the Penguins to start searching for a better backup. However, he feels DeSmith needs to pick up his play and soon. A few more shaky performances and the Penguins won’t have much choice but to find a suitable understudy for starter Tristan Jarry.