NHL Rumor Mill – April 29, 2022
More speculation about the Golden Knights’ offseason plans plus updates on Evander Kane and Andrew Copp in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS
DAILY FACEOFF: The job security of Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon was among Frank Seravalli’s 10 burning offseason questions facing the 16 NHL non-playoff clubs.
Seravalli acknowledged the plethora of injuries that walloped the Golden Knights roster this season. However, he cited the almost daily drama that dogged the franchise this season, from shedding Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury last summer to backing the bus over Robin Lehner and a lack of teamwork among their players as they seemingly look over their shoulders wondering who’s next.
The Golden Knights have no salary-cap space, no top draft picks and a shallow pool of prospects. Seravalli feels it’s inevitable that head coach Peter DeBoer will be cut loose but he also wondered if McCrimmon will follow him out the door.
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen also wondered about the futures of McCrimmon, DeBoer and Lehner in Vegas. He felt that moving on from Lehner would create a problem between the pipes for the Golden Knights.
McCrimmon could be on the hot seat this summer along with president of hockey operations and former GM George McPhee. Their lack of cap space will affect efforts to re-sign original Golden Knight Reilly Smith. Winger Evgenii Dadonov could be moved in a cost-cutting deal to a team on his list of preferred destinations.
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz has little sympathy for the Golden Knights as he believes they’re to blame for their plight. He believes the club’s problems run deeper than their injuries this season, pointing out their spending on big-ticket stars created havoc with their salary-cap payroll and cut deeply into their roster depth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Golden Knights with $83.8 million invested in 18 active players for 2022-23. With the cap sitting at $82.5 million, they have little choice but to shed some salary, especially if they hope to re-sign Smith.
Dadonov seems the most likely candidate given their failed attempt to move him at the trade deadline. He has a $5 million annual average value through 2022-23 with a 10-team no-trade list but finding a suitable trade partner might not be easy.
Moving Lehner would free up another $5 million but that would mean giving the inexperienced Logan Thompson as their starter. The 25-year-old did a good job filling in for the sidelined Lehner but it could be asking too much of him to take over that role on a full-time basis.
OILERS HOPE TO SIGN KANE, RANGERS HOPE TO RETAIN COPP
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Edmonton Oilers will make a concerted attempt to re-sign Evander Kane while the New York Rangers will do the same with Andrew Copp.
Both forwards are slated to become unrestricted free agents in July. Kane has meshed well alongside Oilers captain Connor McDavid while Copp has been a perfect fit on Artemi Panarin’s line. Dreger wondered if term could be an issue for Kane and the Oilers, wondering if three years would be too much.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s next contract could be determined by the outcome of his ongoing grievance hearing over the San Jose Sharks terminating his contract last January. He had three years at $7 million annually remaining on that deal.
Kane and the Sharks could agree to a settlement with the winger getting something between $4 million and $5 million annually over the next three years. The Oilers could then sign him to a three-year deal worth between $2 million and $3 million. Considering how well he’s playing alongside McDavid, Kane might accept that type of deal.
Copp is completing a one-year deal worth over $3.6 million. He’ll likely seek around $5 million annually on a long-term deal with the Rangers or another club via free agency. The Rangers have around $11 million in cap space with 16 active players under contract for next season and second-line center Ryan Strome also eligible for UFA status. Re-signing those two will eat up most, if not all of that cap space.