NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2022
A look at the Flames’ possible offseason decisions plus the latest roundup of Penguins speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE FLAMES?
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the Calgary Flames’ offseason decisions will be tied to Johnny Gaudreau. The 28-year-old left wing had a career-best 115-point performance this season but he’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.
Wyshynski observes the Flames have 12 players under contract for 2022-23. If general manager Brad Treliving tinkers with the roster it’ll likely be on the defense as the forward lines are deep and talented. He also mentioned center Sean Monahan has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.375 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Flames have over $55 million invested in next season’s roster. Tkachuk is completing a three-year deal with an annual average value of $7 million but his actual salary for this season was $9 million, which will be the cost to the Flames to qualify his rights unless they can agree to a new deal before the July 11 qualifying offer deadline.
Mangiapane earned $2.425 million annually on his current deal and could be seeking a raise between $4.5 and $5 million per season. RFA Defenseman Oliver Kylington will be seeking much more than the $750K he earned this season.
That’s why there’s been speculation suggesting the Flames could trade or buy out Monahan to free up cap space. However, he underwent hip surgery several weeks ago and could be ineligible for a buyout if he’s not fully recovered by then. That would also affect efforts to trade him.
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Giana Han wonders if the Flyers might be able to woo Gaudreau if he hits the open market in July. The South Jersey native grew up a Flyers fan and suggested back in 2017 that it would be “sweet” to play for them one day.
Han speculates Gaudreau could command between $9 million and $10 million on his next contract. NBC hockey analyst Keith Jones said adding the gifted winger would provide some real excitement for a fan base that hasn’t had much to cheer about lately. However, it would take a lot of cap maneuvering as well as hoping Gaudreau would accept a hometown discount.
The Flyers have over $77 million invested in 18 players next season with all their core players are under contract. They’ll have to shed a lot of salary to sign Gaudreau even if he accepts a hometown discount, which I doubt he will.
LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION
TRIBLIVE.COM: Seth Rorabaugh reported earlier this week that Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall’s priority remains re-signing pending UFAs Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. He acknowledged his club’s limited salary cap space but remains hopeful of reaching agreements with both players, though there’s no timeline right now. Their statuses will reflect how the rest of the roster takes shape.
THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reported Hextall said he’d focus elsewhere if he can’t sign Malkin but indicated his focus “first and foremost” is on the 35-year-old center. He wouldn’t commit to bringing back RFA forwards Danton Heinen and Kaspari Kapanen. He also indicated he’d be willing to have trade discussions regarding one of his left-handed defensemen to make room for Pierre-Olivier Joseph.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Paul Zeise believes the Penguins better upgrade their goaltending if they’re bringing Malkin and Letang back. He doesn’t feel this season’s tandem of Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith (also a pending UFA) is good enough to carry the Penguins to the Stanley Cup, which should be the purpose of retaining Malkin and Letang.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dave Molinari believes the list of viable candidates to replace Letang starts and ends with the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg.
THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal examined the cost for the Vancouver Canucks to acquire John Marino. He cited speculation from earlier this season suggesting the Penguins’ defenseman could be available for the right price. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Canucks kicked tires on Marino before the trade deadline. Dayal observed it’s no secret Canucks hockey ops president (and former Penguins GM) Jim Rutherford is a Marino fan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have $59.2 million invested in 16 players. Re-signing Malkin and Letang could eat up around $12 million to $14 million in cap space. The Penguins can afford it but it will hamper efforts to bolster their roster next season.
We could see Hextall shed some salary to make room for a younger defenseman like Joseph or to bring in depth in goal. Marino and his $4.4 million annually through 2026-27 could be an option.
There aren’t many palatable choices for goaltenders via free agency unless they’re bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury. The trade market is also thin on goalies this season.
Heinen played well enough to earn an affordable short-term deal perhaps. Kapanen, however, could end up on the trade block given his disappointing performance this season.