NHL Rumor Mill – July 18, 2022
POTENTIAL OFFER SHEET CANDIDATES
RDS.CA: Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk could be a top candidate to receive an offer sheet. The Flames have the cap space ($18.45 million) to match any offer. However, the 25-year-old Tkachuk’s future in Calgary remains uncertain and it’s unclear if he’d want to sign a long-term extension with the Flames. A bid of $10.5 million for one season would cost four first-round picks as compensation to the Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames could let Tkachuk go if a rival club made that bid and use those four first-rounders to put toward retooling their roster. The winger didn’t file for salary arbitration, making him eligible to receive an offer sheet.
That one-year offer sheet could also backfire on the team successfully signing Tkachuk away from the Flames. He could decide to test next summer’s unrestricted free agent market, leaving them without their first-round picks in the next four drafts. If a team is going to go for it, they’d better be sure that they can lock him up beyond 2022-23.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players are key parts of the Stars’ future and they don’t want to lose either guy. The club can afford to match for one but not both unless they’re willing to shed salary before the start of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois’ reported desire to test the UFA market in 2024 has sparked speculation that the Jets could trade him for the right return. He’s been tied to the Montreal Canadiens as his agent recently admitted his client would one day like to play for them.
Some observers wonder if the Habs will go the offer sheet route if efforts to acquire Dubois via trade fall through. With just $1.2 million in cap room and ongoing uncertainty over whether Carey Price ($10.5 million AAV) will play next season, they don’t appear to be in a position to make a competitive bid.
The Blue Jackets’ signing of Johnny Gaudreau last week left them with just over $2 million in cap space. Management indicated its intent to continue negotiations with Laine, who opted not to file for arbitration. However, he could prove a tempting option if a club is willing to pony up a hefty deal for over $9 million per season.
RUMORS FROM FRIDAY’S “32 THOUGHTS” PODCAST
SPORTSNET: In the final “32 Thoughts” podcast of 2021-22, Elliotte Friedman reported hearing that Nazem Kadri is waiting for teams to clear salary-cap space to sign him. He thinks the Colorado Avalanche and New York Islanders could be among his suitors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would explain why Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard ($5 million annual average value) has surfaced in trade rumors of late. Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier ($4.15 million) was a fixture in the rumor mill last season but I haven’t seen his name being mentioned with their efforts to clear cap room for Kadri.
Speaking of the Islanders, Friedman believes they’re not done making moves. “They’ve been way too quiet,” he said.
Friedman also cast some doubt on reports suggesting the Calgary Flames could make Kadri a mega-offer. He thinks the two sides have talked but believes the Flames are trying to be careful in the aftermath of Johnny Gaudreau’s departure to Columbus via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve noted before, Kadri rejected a trade to Calgary by the Toronto Maple Leafs three years ago. Perhaps he feels differently now, especially if the Flames are willing to make a significant offer. That doesn’t seem to be the case based on Friedman’s assessment.
Jeff Marek believes the Detroit Red Wings could be the final destination for John Klingberg. However, he doesn’t think the Wings want to sign the 29-year-old free-agent defenseman to a long-term contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is the other remaining notable in this summer’s UFA market. There was speculation also tying him to the Seattle Kraken. Like the Wings, they have the cap space to sign him. I doubt he will get between $7.75 million and $8.5 million per season that Marek had him seeking from the Dallas Stars last fall.
Friedman reported the Edmonton Oilers were trying to move Jesse Puljujarvi for a draft pick. He indicated that it’s difficult right now because the clubs with an interest in him have little or no cap space and didn’t want to make that deal.
According to Friedman, the New York Rangers were talking to the Vancouver Canucks and the St. Louis Blues. He asked them at the draft about their conversations with the Blues and they said they had nothing going on with St. Louis. Nevertheless, Friedman said he’d heard they were talking for a while.