NHL Rumor Mill – August 16, 2022
LATEST ON CHYCHRUN
He doesn’t doubt the 24-year-old Coyotes defenseman might like to play for the Senators. They’re an up-and-coming team and his family’s summer home is a 30-minute drive from the club’s arena in Kanata. However, Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong’s asking price for Chychrun remains high and no team has yet stepped up with a suitable offer.
Morgan also dismisses speculation suggesting Armstrong must trade Chychrun before training camp lest the trade rumors become a distraction. It’s not in the defenseman’s nature to force the issue and Armstrong will make it clear that it won’t be a distraction.
It’s still possible that Chychrun gets moved before training camp. Nevertheless, Armstrong’s asking price won’t come down. He’s not going to sell off an undervalued asset.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Morgan points out, the best way for Chychrun to get traded is to play to the best of his ability this season to entice a club into meeting Armstrong’s price. It’s believed the Coyotes GM seeks a return heavy in futures including one or two first-round draft picks, a top prospect and/or a good young NHL player.
Armstrong isn’t under pressure to move Chychrun. The blueliner is signed through 2024-25 with an affordable average annual value of $4.6 million so he’s not breaking the bank for the cost-conscious Coyotes. Cap-wise, he’s the fourth-highest paid after Clayton Keller ($7.15 million), Nick Schmaltz ($5.85 million) and Andrew Ladd ($5.5 million).
Speaking of the salary cap, the Coyotes would have to get one or two salaried players in return to ensure they remain above the $61 million cap minimum for 2022-23. They currently carry a projected $62.1 million cap payroll invested in 22 roster players.
SHOULD THE CAPITALS SHOP ELLER?
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reports there’s been some speculation and questions regarding a trade of Lars Eller. The 33-year-old center managed just 31 points during a season that saw him face adversity and inconsistency. He could also face a challenge for the third-line center position from promising Connor McMichael.
Eller has a season remaining on his contract with a $3.5 million salary-cap hit. The Capitals will face a cap crunch when Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson come off long-term injury reserve later this season.
Silber, however, believes the Capitals should be patient, cautioning against trading Eller too soon. He remains an experienced defensive forward, especially on the penalty kill, a role McMichael has yet to take on in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have the cap flexibility to start the season with Eller in the lineup. Maybe his role changes over the course of the season if McMichael successfully challenges him for the third-line center role. Otherwise, it would be best to see how things unfold over the course of the coming season.
COULD THE OILERS REUNITE WITH GAGNER
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports the Oilers could be interested in bringing back Sam Gagner for a third tenure. The 33-year-old free agent put up a respectable 31 points with the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings playing as a right win last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leavins believes Gagner is among several veteran free agent wingers that Oilers GM Ken Holland could be looking at. He could be a more affordable option plus he’d probably fit in well there. Gagner is coming off a one-year, $850K contract with the Wings.