NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2023
A look ahead at the offseason for the Golden Knights and Panthers plus the latest on the Red Wings in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS AND PANTHERS
Clark wonders about what becomes of Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill and forward Ivan Barbashev. Both are eligible for unrestricted free-agent status on July 1. Forward Brett Howden, who skated on Vegas’ second line in the postseason, is a restricted free agent.
Barbashev indicated he wants to return to Vegas. The Golden Knights offered Hill a new contract but he wanted to wait until the end of the season to have those discussions. If they re-sign Hill, they’ll have three goalies under contract for next season in Robin Lehner and Logan Thompson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Golden Knights have over $3.4 million in projected cap space with 20 active roster players under contract for 2023-24.
Trading Lehner and his $5 million average annual value through 2024-25 and re-signing Hill would address their goalie issue. However, that’s likely a tough sell given Lehner missed this season recovering from hip surgery as well as his personal ongoing financial problems.
Buying out Lehner is an option provided he is medically cleared during the upcoming buyout period of June 15 to June 30. It would provide the Golden Knights with $4.25 million in savings for 2023-24. They’d face a $2.25 million cap hit in 2024-25 followed by $1.75 million in each of the final two seasons. With the salary cap projected to rise substantially starting in 2024-25, they could afford to carry that buyout.
Shilton believes the Panthers need a small refresh. Noting that Sam Reinhart and Brandon Montour had strong performances this season, she speculates they could get contract extensions soon than later.
They’ll also have to determine how to balance the goalie tandem of Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight. She also thinks that they need defensive help citing the lack of experienced blueliners beyond Montour, Aaron Ekblad and Gustav Forsling signed for next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have over $10.2 million in projected cap room with 16 active roster players under contract for next season. That should provide some room to make some depth additions to the defense corps.
They could get more if they tried to move Knight and his $4.5 million cap hit through 2025-26. He left the club in February to join the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.
However, they were quite keen on Knight as an heir apparent to Bobrovsky, whose $10 million AAV through 2025-26 and full no-movement clause ensures he’s not going anywhere.
I think the Panthers will stick with Knight and give him an opportunity to get his career back on track. That will mean looking elsewhere if they wish to free up cap room for other additions this summer.
LATEST ON THE RED WINGS
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan suggested 10 right-shot defensemen that could be free-agent targets for the Detroit Red Wings. Boston’s Connor Clifton, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba and Florida’s Radko Gudas topped his list.
Ottawa’s Travis Hamonic, Toronto’s Justin Holl, and Colorado’s Erik Johnson were also on Khan’s list, followed by Minnesota’s John Klingberg, the New York Islanders Scott Mayfield, Toronto’s Luke Schenn and Anaheim’s Kevin Shattenkirk.
Khan doubts the Wild will have the cap space to sign Dumba. Hamonic appears to want to stay in Ottawa while Schenn would like to remain in Toronto. The Ducks are thin on defense and could re-sign Shattenkirk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khan noted that the Red Wings need blueline help for their second power-play unit. Klingberg might be able to help them in that regard if, as Khan points out, the salary and terms are right.