NHL Rumor Mill – May 22, 2023
In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, we look at the latest on Erik Karlsson, a look at the Avalanche’s potential trade assets, and the Devils might swing a trade for a first-rounder in this year’s draft.
WILL THE SHARKS MOVE KARLSSON THIS SUMMER?
Yaremchuk thinks Sharks management might be kicking themselves for not taking whatever the Edmonton Oilers were offering for Karlsson before the March 3 trade deadline. They’ve since acquired Mattias Ekholm to skate alongside Evan Bouchard and are likely out of the market.
McKenna believes the Sharks must retain part of Karlsson’s $11.5 million average annual value through 2025-26 if they hope to get three first-round picks for him. If they’re to move him, he believes it has to happen this summer. He wonders if Karlsson is willing to waive his no-movement clause for a team in the top half of the league or only those among the top 10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s value will never be higher than it is right now. He’s the favorite to win the Norris Trophy as this season’s top defenseman coming off a career-best 101-point performance.
There will be some teams interested in acquiring him but they won’t want to take on his full cap hit for the next four years. It’s believed the Sharks were willing to retain less than 20 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit before the trade deadline. They’ll likely have to retain between 30-50 percent to swing a deal this summer.
It’s unlikely the Oilers will be among them after acquiring Ehkholm and given their cap constraints.
AVALANCHE’S POTENTIAL TRADE ASSETS
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Evan Rawal examined the Avalanche’s potential trade chips to put toward acquiring a second-line center this summer.
Defenseman Samuel Girard keeps coming up among the pundits with Daily Faceoff listing him at No. 3 on their recent list of off-season trade targets. However, trading Girard could be a risky option until the Avs know what’s happening with Devon Toews, who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent status.
Rawal thinks the odds of the Avs trading Toews are low. Even if they don’t agree to a contract extension, he thinks the club considers him too important to trade and will retain him for another run at the Stanley Cup next season.
Trading someone like Alex Newhook would require getting another forward back. They only have five forwards under contract for 2023-24. There’s also still a chance that the 22-year-old Newhook could become a top-six forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have $13.35 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with just 12 roster players under contract. However, they’ll get $7 million in cap relief by placing captain Gabriel Landeskog on long-term injury reserve as he’s sidelined for next season due to knee surgery.
Newhook and Bowen Byram are restricted free agents who’ll be seeking raises coming off their entry-level contracts. Even if they’re signed to affordable short-term bridges deals, the Avs still must free up cap space to re-sign or replace UFA J.T. Compher as their second-line center and perhaps find a left winger as a short-term replacement for Landeskog.
That’s why Girard’s name remains so high on most lists of this summer’s trade candidates.
THE DEVILS COULD SHOP FOR A 2023 FIRST-ROUND PICK
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Kristy Flannery reports the New Jersey Devils lack a first-round pick in the 2023 draft. It’s the first time that’s happened in a decade. However, general manager Tom Fitzgerald isn’t ruling out making a trade to get one.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have their second-rounder but traded away their third-round pick. Perhaps he’ll bundle that second-rounder along with another pick or two (or maybe with a prospect) to move up into the first round.