Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 11, 2022
A recent look at the notable remaining restricted free agents in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined the status of the remaining notable restricted free agents.
Topping his list is the Dallas Stars’ Jason Robertson. The 23-year-old winger has blossomed into a first-line scorer who was the Calder Trophy runner-up in 2021. Fox wonders if the Stars will attempt to sign Robertson to a long-term deal that could look like a bargain down the road or ink him to a bridge deal that hands the winger more leverage for his next contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it’ll be a bridge deal, pointing out the Stars couldn’t do a long-term deal for Jake Oettinger, who recently signed a three-year, $12 million contract.
Cap Friendly shows the Stars carrying $6.3 million in cap space with 22 players under contract. My guess is Robertson agrees to a two-year deal worth $5 million annually to put himself in line for a major pay raise in 2024. That’s when the salary cap is expected to significantly increase.
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi and Ottawa Senators winger Alex Formenton are second and third on Fox’s list. He reported Kings general manager Rob Blake continues to negotiate with the Durzi camp. Meanwhile, Senators GM Pierre Dorion said his discussions with Formenton’s agent were positive and he expects the 22-year-old will be under contract prior to training camp.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On Saturday, the Kings re-signed blueliner Mikey Anderson to a one-year, $1 million contract. With $1.3 million remaining in cap space, I wouldn’t be surprised if Durzi gets a similar deal. Both rearguards completed their entry-level contracts last season.
NHL training camps will start by Sep. 21 so look for the Senators to have Formenton’s new contract sorted by then.
Fox cited Arizona Coyotes insider Craig Morgan recently reporting center Barrett Hayton should have a new deal before training camp. He doesn’t see the two sides being far apart. Fox pointed out the Coyotes have plenty of salary-cap room. He recommended a bridge deal but observed the club has a tendency of signing their promising young players to long-term contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mikey Anderson was also on Fox’s list but he was re-signed on Saturday by the Kings.
Rasmus Sandin’s contract talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly remain at a standstill. Meanwhile, Vegas Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon recently said re-signing defenseman Nicolas Hague before training camp was his top priority.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I covered Sandin’s situation in yesterday’s Rumor Mill. As for Hague, McCrimmon reportedly has had little dialogue with Hague’s representatives since early July.
Both defensemen are coming off ELCs and have no leverage other than refusing to report to training camp. We’ll find out within the next 10 days if they’ll end up signing bridge deals before camps open on Sep. 21.
Edmonton Oilers center Ryan McLeod and Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka complete Fox’s list. He reported there’s little concern in Edmonton over getting McLeod signed before training camp. Meanwhile, Fox believes Flames GM Brad Treliving must decide if Ruzicka is ready to be a full-time NHLer or if he will sign him to a two-way contract.
I think the delay in getting Formenton’s new contract finalized may have something to do with the fact both he and his agent see a reduced role for the LW in the form of a “demotion” to the 3rd line (he has been a fixture at 2nd line LW for the past 2 seasons).
In a recent interview coach D. J. Smith said the way he sees the lines forming up is that Norris will continue to be the # 1 C with Tkachuk on his left and Batherson on his right.
His speculation on the 2nd line is what surprised me at least. When Dorion dealt for DeBrincat most thought the right-shooting sniper was the long-sought offensive RW he had been seeking for a while, despite the fact he had been playing the left side in Chicago.
Apparently that changed when Giroux signed and now Smith sees DeBrincat at LW, with Stutzle at C and Giroux on the right.
So, whether he likes it or not, Formenton drops to 3rd line minutes with Pinto at C and probably Joseph at RW.
Adding to the uncertainty is the anticipation that LW prospect Ridley Greig could very well make the roster out of camp and, if the feisty winger does stick around, his strong two-way play could bump one-way Formenton (a constant minus) down to 4th line duty. That wouldn’t sit well with he or his agent, which is why I think he could well be a sign-and-trade very soon.
All just personal speculation, of course, and we’ll soon see – one way or another.
I think they will get a deal done with Formenton and he will play on the 3rd line (that line will have amazing speed). I think the NHL experience of both Formenton and Joseph will help Pinto, who is essentially a rookie. Grieg will start as a 4th line player – assuming he makes the team.
The thought of three “rookies” (Pinto, Grieg, Sanderson) in top 9 / top 4 D is a little too risky.
But two players have a lot to prove this year and that is Brannstrom and Formenton.
You’re probably closer to what will happen, Peter. And it does bode well for the team’s effectiveness through 4 lines.
It’s just that I can’t escape this feeling that Formenton’s days in Ottawa might soon be over because, from what I keep hearing, Greig is going to surprise a lot of people with his dogged determination to succeed at the highest level .
We’ll get a better idea as to how things will shake out after the rookie tournament/camp are concluded. Technically, thanks to that shoulder surgery, Pinto is still classified as a rookie and he’ll be joined in the rookie tournament with Sanderson and Grieg, along with Bernard-Docker and Thompson and big Mads Sogaard in net.
What kind of deal is Hague looking at? Not sure how confident Rangers are in either Jones or Robertson filling the 3rd pair LD slot. Maybe a swap of Hague for the rumored trade candidate Lundkvist? If Ny can get Hague on a reasonable bridge deal, he’d be a good pick up. Even with Weber and Lehner going on LTIR, Vegas will still struggle to get under cap. Maybe if they can move Martinez they sign Hague.
Might well happen Slick62.
Sitting $10,236,310 over the cap, Vegas will see that covered by the combined $12,857,143 LTIR of Weber and Lehner. but what’s left over won’t be enough to sign the giant LD Hague (6′ 6″ 220 lbs) who’s coming off an ELC of $863,333 after scoring 4g 10a 14 pts in 52 gp AND bring their roster up to the full 23 (they sit at 21 right now).
Keep in mind, too, that they have LD William Riedell out of Ohio State coming to camp as a PTO.
I would guess Hague & his agent are looking at a bridge deal in the range of $2 mil per and if he gets that, Vegas will have to move a big cap in order to make room for what would then be – with that player’s departure – 3 players (Hague and probably a prospect received for the player dealt).
Martinez looks like the logical one to go.
I think Hague want $3M, otherwise this deal would have been done. This is a Stevie Y. type of D-man. I would hope he could get him. Trade 2 D prospects for him not named Simon or Albert.
The Rangers have to give Miller,Chytil,Blais and Laf new contracts next summer. Every dollar will count and I think either Jones or Robertson needs to be the guy on the 3rd pairing even if I do prefer Hague there myself.
Wow, the Ottawa – Tkachuk – I thought was predominantly a Center !
And Stutzle a winger …
Nevertheless , a strong group of forwards in Ottawa
They will be interesting
I do know the positions in Leafland , but I am having trouble zeroing in on LW
Ken, although Tkachuk played some C in college, since coming to the Senators he’s been entrenched at LW with Norris at C and Batherson at RW.
Stutzle was primarily a C in his pre-draft days, but his first season in Ottawa he did play LW. This past season they put him back at his preferred position and it seems that’s where he’ll stay on the 2nd line.
Ordinarily, I’d offer a viewpoint on the Leafs LW situation … but as I posted a few days ago, no more from me when it comes to the Leafs, Habs, Bruins and Penguins. Just got tired of the endless “hater” charges from those who can’t seem to differentiate between non-fan observation and genuine dislike. So, in the interest of reducing friction in these pages, I’ll stay completely away from commenting on those teams.
I like Hague. Seemed like he could be a little more offensive if called upon. Stood out for the games I watched but maybe that was attributed to his size . Lower salary range and a Good + minus . Played with Pietrangelo a bit.
I would make the swap with the Rangers
Wow what a player Robertson too bad he plays LW the bruins are loaded with Lwingers. We Could use another centre a good one when Patty and Krecji pack it in the bruins farm system is bankrupt of talent