NHL Rumor Mill – April 22, 2022
Updates on Kris Letang and Patrice Bergeron plus four free agents who could use a strong finish to this season in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports there’s been ongoing talk between the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Kris Letang. While Letang wants to focus on the season, there’s been more of a connection between his camp and the Penguins, though the progress has been slow.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang, 34, is completing an eight-year contract worth $7.25 million per season. Earlier this year, there was talk he would seek a raise based on his strong performance this season. With 64 points in 74 games, he’s just three away from tying his personal best set in 2015-16.
The Penguins must also attempt to sign fellow UFAs Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust. Malkin, 35, has indicated he’s willing to accept a pay cut. The 29-year-old Rust is finishing a four-year, $14 million contract and will justifiably seek a raise on a long-term deal.
Letang has said he’d like to retire as a Penguin. Unless he’s willing to accept a pay cut or perhaps a modest raise on a short-term deal, he could price himself out of Pittsburgh. The Athletic’s Josh Yohe guesses Malkin stays, Letang signs with the Montreal Canadiens and Rust cashes in with his hometown Detroit Red Wings. We’ll find out by July 13 if those scenarios come to pass.
There’s been less discussion between the Boston Bruins and Patrice Bergeron but that’s by design. There’s a willingness to be patient between the two sides.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron and the Bruins agreed to shelve contract talks until the end of this season. I expect he wants to finish his career in Boston and the Bruins want to keep him. Their contract negotiations will start in earnest following the playoffs.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens believes pending free agents such as the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome, the Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser, New Jersey Devils’ P.K. Subban and Dallas Stars Alexander Radulov could benefit from a strong finish to this season.
Strome overcame a struggling start to this season to score a career-best 21 goals this season. He’s a restricted free agent and the Blackhawks could be reluctant to pay $3.6 million to qualify his rights for another year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus believes Strome faces a murky future in Chicago. However, he believes the 25-year-old forward’s solid play over the past four months could earn him a new contract with another NHL team if the Blackhawks let him walk.
The 25-year-old Boeser is also a restricted free agent. The Canucks could be unwilling to pay $7.5 million to qualify his rights given how injuries have hampered his production.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser was the frequent topic of trade speculation this season. Unless he’s willing to accept a pay cut to stick with the Canucks next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s shopped this summer regardless of his performance over his remaining games. If anything, a strong finish would burnish his value in this summer’s trade market.
Stephens acknowledges that Subban and Radulov are now past their prime. Nevertheless, he suggests the pending UFAs could have value playing sheltered minutes on bargain contracts with contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 32-year-old old Subban is no longer the flashy mobile defenseman that garnered him the Norris Trophy in 2013 and made him a finalist for the award in 2017. However, he could have value as Stephens suggests in a third-pairing role.
Age and injuries have caught up with the 35-year-old Radulov. I don’t dismiss the possibility he could sign with another NHL club on a cheap one-year deal. Still, I think that he’s at the point in his career where he might need a training-camp tryout next fall to earn a new contract.
I honestly believe Malkin and letang are back. Rust no so sure. They’d have find ways to dump zucker and one of their ld men to keep their top 6 together. Not impossible but their are a lot of teams out there that will want to move out of expensive contracts.
Rust to Detroit???? He is past the age that Stevie would sign long term. He may get 7 x $6-6.25M on the open market. I don’ see Stevie offering over 4 yrs.
I think Hex/Burkie will make decisions based on playoff results. If the Penguins win a round, two or more then trying to retain Letang and Malkin makes sense depending on dollars and term. If Pitt gets blown out in the first round I can see letting Malkin and Letang move on.
The only untouchable would be Sidney, everyone else is moveable.
Penguins were much better than I thought theyd be this season. Good enough to win a round? Id have to say yes.
With Ron on this
Would love to see them stay… but losing first round…. Hard for HexBurkie to pay market value for them to stay
It (first round) just may be vs Blueshirts…. and they’d have to be (with Shesterkin) pretty large favourites
I think Pens have much better shot v Canes
If somehow Pens end up EWC2…. can’t see them beating Cats
So…. Odds are (as at now) not favouring the re-up of the 3
Can’t see Rusty back regardless
Zucker a must to move (and yes I’m saying that after his nice goal last night)
I strongly believe they both stay either way. Malkins and rangers cap hits will essentially juxtapose. Might even shave about a mil there for the pens. So rust and or Rakel only stay if they unload salary. If jmjr was still gm and Mario still a bigger owner I’d place a bet on them two staying regardless. It’s a new era in the burgh.
Always like Boeser. However, he is not worth what he would have to be qualified at. Trade him to Buffalo, they have the cap space to give him a deal at $6M+ x 2-3 yrs.
RIP Guy you were an ICON.
Great player, best of the 70’s and an all time great.
I think there’s a chance Malkin ends up on the panthers. Makes too much sense.
Letang they resign, because lets face it, they have no one to replace him.
Rust would depend on his ask, anything over 5m let him walk.
Giroux would re-sign before Malkin is considered, I would think…..
What has Giroux ever won? IMO, if the panthers don’t win the cup this year they’ll go after playoff experienced players this summer.
I think Malkin in Florida makes very little sense. At center, they have Barkov signed for 8 more years, Bennet for 3 more, and Lundell for 3 and then will be an rfa.
Where does Malkin fit in?
Florida has 77 million committed to 14 players (and buyout hits) next year. They have 9-10 UFA’s / Rfa’s to sign or replace. Where do they get the cap space to fit Malkin or Giroux?
Good take Cap!
Did anyone watch Price last night?
He made my Flyers look good last night, so that should tell you something.
Good luck trying to move that contract even at half price.
Lit up by the feeble Flyers……. how sad for Les Glorioux.
Lj, I’m in full favor of rebuilding.
If Bergy signs, I don’t think it would happen.
As long as Bergy and Marchand are in the fold, it’s a patch work to keep going to the playoffs.
How often do you get a chance to trade an elite winger, who will be 34 in May; 3yrs left on his contract at a very good cap hit of $6.125
The risk is minimal and the upside is very good for a cup contending team.
Radulov, goes to play next season with Jagr. He’s a liability these days.
Bergeron has clearly lost a step. He’s still a top-notch defensive forward.
He isn’t a number 1C
The issue Boston will have is still thinking they can win the cup.
They need an over haul.
There only flashy skill prospect is Fabian Lysel, while not dismissing the other prospects, there similar in style.
If Bergy retires (he wont) I wouldn’t mind trading Marchand to help speed the rebuild process.
Marchand has a very affordable cap and is still elite.
I would think the return would be sizable.
If Bergy doesn’t retire you are less in favour of a rebuilding process?
At this point Caper they have to take stock if it is a 1st round and out then probably Boston needs to start the rebuild or retool whatever they will call it.
They have some solid pcs to work with in goal(swayman) and on defense(MC), there top 6 will be the issue.
Trading those picks away going for the cup the last 5 years has left there prospect pool weak.
Let LeTurnover walk, won’t be able to afford Rust and resign Malkin who already said he’d take less to stay.
Try to sign Rakell and bring in a brand new 4th line with some heavy players.
Pens will get bounced in the first round again, whether Jarry plays or not.
Bruins will sign Bergeron and Bergie will make it work Boston won’t rebuild with McAvoy ,Marchand Pasta, Lindholm Swayman, Coyle, Lysell ,Carlo , Ullmark all in the fold. Strong team for years to come. Lots of young Providence Bruins looking good and should push for roster spots.