Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 10, 2022
How will the Leafs, Devils, Oilers and Capitals resolve their goaltending issues? What’s the latest speculation on Patrick Kane, Vincent Trocheck and Samuel Girard. Find out in this edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
SEVERAL TEAMS STILL FACE GOALIE ISSUES AS FREE AGENCY APPROACHES
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports landing a goaltender is the priority for Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas. He must either re-sign Jack Campbell before the free-agent market opens on July 13, find a suitable replacement such as Darcy Kuemper via free agency, or pursue a trade for someone such as the Anaheim Ducks John Gibson.
Hornby suggests the next several days could determine if Dubas is bold enough to move William Nylander and his palatable $6.96 million annual average value for cap space, defense or prospects. Forward Alex Kerfoot could be another trade candidate.
TORONTO STAR: Dave Feschuk also weighed in on the Leafs’ pressing need for a starting goaltender. Possible trade targets could include the Ottawa Senators’ oft-injured Matt Murray, the Minnesota Wild’s Cam Talbot or Gibson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would indeed be a bold move to shop Nylander to free up cap room for a goaltender. However, that could turn disastrous if the goalie acquired becomes a bust while Nylander thrives with his new team.
Some will suggest Nylander for Gibson straight up. The dollars pretty much fit (Gibson’s AAV is $6.4 million) and the Leafs winger would provide the rebuilding Ducks with an established scoring forward to skate alongside rising young star Trevor Zegras.
However, the Leafs could be among the teams on Gibson’s 10-team no-trade list. We also don’t know if Ducks GM Pat Verbeek wants to take on a high-salaried player right now. Nylander is also just two years from UFA eligibility, which would make Verbeek uneasy over his future.
It’s rumored that the Talbot camp was unhappy about the Wild bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury on a two-year deal. GM Bill Guerin downplayed the issue and appears intent on icing a Fleury-Talbot goalie tandem for 2022-23. Maybe he changes his mind if he gets a suitable offer but I don’t think he’s keen to do so given his own salary-cap limitations.
As for Murray, his long history of injuries screams, “buyer beware”. Unless the Senators are picking up half of his $6.25 million cap hit through 2023-24, he’s not a worthwhile option for the Leafs. According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, the Senators aren’t interested in retaining any portion of his salary.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports it wouldn’t be surprising if the New Jersey Devils were still in the market for Jack Campbell if they can find a taker for Mackenzie Blackwood. He also believes the Edmonton Oilers will be interested in Campbell or Darcy Kuemper, who’s been linked to the Washington Capitals. Brooks also thinks Talbot could be an option if he’s indeed unhappy with Fleury’s return.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers’ biggest puzzle this offseason is resolving their goalie issue. He also mentioned Campbell, Kuemper and Talbot, and included the San Jose Sharks’ James Reimer as an option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Round and round the goalie carousel goes and where it stops nobody knows. When it does, at least one of those clubs – Toronto, Edmonton, New Jersey or Washington – is going to be left empty-handed.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Rangers should take a run at acquiring Patrick Kane as a one-year rental player instead of the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller. The 34-year-old Chicago Blackhawks winger has a year remaining on his contract with a $10.5 million cap hit and a full no-movement clause. Brooks suggests he’d be a better fit for the Rangers if he wants out of Chicago and the Blackhawks absorb half of his cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp heading to market, the Rangers’ biggest need is a second-line center, not a right winger. Miller lacks no-trade protection and carries an affordable $5.25 million cap so there’s no need to get into haggling over cap retention and risk scuttling a potential trade.
Brooks also speculates the Rangers could be in on Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck if they wish to address their second-line center needs through free agency. However, he thinks Trocheck could prove too expensive for the Blueshirts.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports Samuel Girard could be a “moving piece” if the Avalanche should decide to shed salary in order to sign pending UFA defenseman Josh Manson. Dater said he hasn’t heard any trade scenarios involving Girard but can’t see how the Avs can retain Manson without clearing the 24-year-old blueliner’s $5 million cap hit from their books.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard surfaced earlier this season as a possible trade chip but those rumors were quickly dismissed. The point can be made that he’s expendable because the Avs went on to win the Stanley Cup with him sidelined for most of the postseason. However, they could be unwilling to move him and his affordable contract through 2026-27.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators would like to upgrade their blueline with a right-shot defenseman. Options could include the Florida Panthers’ MacKenzie Weegar, the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ John Marino.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Panthers could consider moving Weegar if they hope to free up cap space to perhaps re-sign Claude Giroux. The Coyotes set a very high asking price for Chychrun that no one seems willing to pay right now. Marino could be available if the Penguins hope to free up salary to re-sign Evgeni Malkin, though it’s thought Marcus Pettersson is the more likely trade candidate.