NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2022
A look at the best remaining talent in the unrestricted free agent market in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox did a quick rundown of the best players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.
Kadri is reportedly waiting for some interested teams to clear cap space for him. There are rumblings the New York Islanders could make a push to sign him. Fox pointed out the Calgary Flames have money to spend now and the Columbus Blue Jackets could use a playmaker for Johnny Gaudreau.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets had to ship Oliver Bjorkstand to the Seattle Kraken for next to nothing in a cost-cutting deal after signing winger Patrik Laine to his new contract. No room for Kadri in Columbus unless they can shed more salary.
Kadri rejected a trade to the Flames three years ago. Maybe he had a change of heart if they’re willing to meet his asking price but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Islanders would also have to move out some salary. Perhaps they’d do that by shopping Anthony Beauvillier, who’s been a fixture in the rumor mill since last season.
Fox noted the Carolina Hurricanes, Seattle Kraken, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators were linked earlier this month to John Klingberg. The Dallas Stars attempted to bring back the 29-year-old defenseman but those talks fell through. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, acquired Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Fox suggests, it appears Klingberg overplayed his hand, leading to his change of agents earlier this week. With the Stars having to re-sign rising stars Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger, I don’t think there’s sufficient room for him to return to Dallas now.
Fox said the Red Wings speculation persists. The Senators, meanwhile, are rumored to be in the market for a top-four defenseman.
A report last month claimed Patrice Bergeron was returning to the Boston Bruins on a one-year contract. So far, however, there’s no confirmation from either side that this has happened. The Bruins are also in talks with David Krejci about a possible comeback.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney could be taking a page from the Lou Lamoriello playbook by waiting until the start of the season before officially announcing the deal for salary-cap reasons. Perhaps that decision is tied to getting a deal done for Krejci. Or maybe Bergeron just hasn’t made up his mind yet if he’ll return. Your guess is as good as mine but I think he’s coming back to the Bruins for one more season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel could be a worthwhile short-term addition to a playoff contender seeking an affordable depth scorer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny would be a more affordable option for the Flames than Kadri but he won’t produce at the same level as the former Avalanche center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stralman would be a cost-effective signing for teams with limited cap space. However, the Canadiens are pressed against the $82.5 million cap. Stralman isn’t a fit there unless they dump some salary via trade or Carey Price and Paul Byron start the season on long-term injury reserve.
Sonny Milano has plenty of potential as a middle-six forward despite being cast off by the Columbus Blue Jackets and being cut loose by the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile, former Pittsburgh Penguins middle-six forward Evan Rodrigues drew some interest from the Vancouver Canucks, Flames, Red Wings and New Jersey Devils.
Veteran defenseman Calvin de Haan could be an economic second or third-pairing guy. He’ll have to be prepared to take a pay cut.