NHL Rumor Mill – September 17, 2022
A prediction regarding Bo Horvat’s contract talks, Nil Lundkvist won’t report to Rangers training camp, plus the latest on the Flames in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson believes Bo Horvat will stay in Vancouver. He predicts the 27-year-old Canucks captain will sign a new contract and “the sooner the better”, though he acknowledged negotiations could drag into the upcoming season.
Simpson doesn’t the player or the team want this to drag on as a distraction. He also doesn’t see Horvat shutting down talks once the regular season begins. Pointing to the Canucks recently signing J.T. Miller to a seven-year extension, he acknowledged it would be a “big commitment” by the club to do the same for their captain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat’s contract status and his future with the Canucks will become fodder to media trade gossip if he’s still unsigned once the regular season begins next month. Miller was also the subject of conjecture for most of last season and during this summer until he and the Canucks reached an agreement on an extension earlier this month.
I also believe Horvat will sign with the Canucks. For all management’s talk of wanting to stock their roster with younger, affordable talent, they clearly understand how important Miller and Horvat are to their plans going forward.
It wouldn’t be surprising if ownership wants to keep those two around. After spending the past several seasons rebuilding there’s probably little patience for another roster teardown.
How much Horvat gets and for how long will have an effect on the Canucks’ salary-cap payroll over the next several years. It could make it difficult to retain young stars like Elias Pettersson or to find sufficient cap room to address their roster weaknesses.
TSN: cites USA Today’s Vincent Z. Mercogliano reporting Nils Lundkvist won’t be reporting to the New York Rangers training camp when it opens next week. Claude Lemieux, who represents the 22-year-old defenseman, said his client intends to remain in Sweden until his trade request is honored.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This report eliminates earlier uncertainty over Lundkvist’s intentions. He wants out and he’ll continue training in Sweden until he’s traded.
Lundkvist could be in for a long wait. Teammate Vitali Kravtsov requested a trade last fall after refusing demotion to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford. He returned to Russia and spent last season on loan to a KHL team waiting for a trade that never materialized. He’s now back with the Blueshirts hoping to earn a roster spot for the coming season.
A few pundits and bloggers (including yours truly) have suggested several potential trade destinations for Lundkvist. His status as a puck-moving, right-shot defenseman could make him enticing to several clubs.
However, there hasn’t been any hint yet of any clubs making a serious offer to the Rangers. Perhaps that changes once training camps are underway and teams look to address their roster needs.
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane took note of Michael Stone signing a professional tryout offer with the Flames. He wouldn’t be surprised if the 32-year-old defenseman earns another one-year contract with them if general manager Brad Treliving shops a defenseman or two in return for more forward depth.