NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2022
How much could it cost for the Canucks to re-sign J.T. Miller? How will Alex Goligoski’s new contract affect the Wild’s salary-cap payroll for 2022-23? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma suggested it could cost the Vancouver Canucks an annual average value of $8 million over five or six years to sign J.T. Miller to a contract extension. He considers that to be the going rate and term against comparable players such as the New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad and the San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl.
Miller, 29, has one year remaining on his current contract with a $5.25 million cap hit. Kuzma believes the Canucks cannot allow their catalyst on and off the ice to test the 2023 free-agent market.
Doing so, however, will require some creativity by Canucks management to free up sufficient cap space for 2023. Winger Brock Boeser is a restricted free agent this summer who is due a $7.5 million qualifying offer while captain Bo Horvat is also slated to become a UFA in 2023.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That creativity could involve shopping Boeser this summer if they cannot reach an agreement on a new contract. It could also involve trading players signed beyond 2023-24 such as Conor Garland ($4.95 million AAV) or Tanner Pearson (3.25 million).
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien pointed out the Minnesota Wild’s signing defenseman Alex Goligoski to a two-year contract extension worth $2 million per season leaves the club with less salary-cap wiggle room for next season.
The Wild’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last year will eat up a big chunk of their cap space for 2022-23. They now have six defensemen under contract for next season with promising Calen Addison waiting in the wings.
Goligoski’s signing prompted O’Brien to wonder if blueliner Matt Dumba’s days with the Wild could be numbered. He also speculated they could be forced to trade the rights of winger Kevin Fiala, who is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer. In addition, O’Brien pondered whether recent additions Marc-Andre Fleury and Jacob Middleton will be playoff rentals or if the Wild will try to bring them back this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild will be a team to monitor during this summer. The additions of Fleury and Middleton could be general manager Bill Guerin going for it this season because he knows cap constraints could hamper the Wild’s progress in 2022-23. That could also involve moving parting ways with Fiala and with Dumba, who is slated to become a UFA following next season.