NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2023
Should the Bruins and Capitals keep an eye on Flames center Elias Lindholm? What’s the latest on Leafs winger William Nylander? How will the Senators free up cap space after signing Vladimir Tarasenko? Check it out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
SHOULD THE BRUINS AND CAPITALS PURSUE ELIAS LINDHOLM?
He considers Noah Hanifin as the most obvious player to depart the Stampede City for Beantown but believes it makes more sense for the two clubs to discuss a swap of Elias Lindholm. The Bruins need a replacement for now-retired center Patrice Bergeron and the 28-year-old Lindholm could fit the bill with his two-way play.
As for the potential return to the Flames, Sportak believes it would have to include more than just one player, draft pick or prospect. He suggested defenseman Mason Lohrei should be at the top of the list. Other prospect options include winger Fabian Lysell and center Matthew Poitras
Meanwhile, Sportak’s colleague Sammi Silber suggested the Washington Capitals should keep an eye on Lindholm. She cited his two-way play and leadership as enticing traits for a club seeking a reliable top-six center.
However, Silber noted that it would be difficult for the Capitals to land Lindholm. They have Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha as trade chips but they’re unlikely to be enough to pry Lindholm away from the Flames. The cost of his next contract and the Capitals’ future after the Alex Ovechkin era is over could make it tough to convince him to sign a long-term deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the two teams the Bruins might have the best chance to land Lindholm, Nevertheless, it won’t be easy for either club to get him.
Unless they’re the only two clubs in the bidding, the Bruins and Capitals lack depth in sufficient trade bait to tempt the Flames. Other clubs with more tradeable assets could outbid them once the Flames put Lindholm on the trade block.
LATEST ON WILLIAM NYLANDER
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox believes William Nylander is going to get between $10 million and $11 million annually on his next contract. It might be with the Leafs or with another club as an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Cox considers it a fantasy to think that the 27-year-old winger is going to accept less money to stay in Toronto. He’s got all the leverage he needs with UFA eligibility approaching next summer.
The Leafs could try to trade Nylander but Cox doubts they’ll get value in any return given the state of the trade market under a flattened salary cap. Most teams can’t afford his current contract right now ($6.962 million cap hit) and none will want to acquire him without an agreement on a long-term extension.
Cox thinks the best course of action for the Leafs is to let Nylander play out his final season with them. They can use the money they would’ve invested in him on pursuing a top-flight goaltender or a top defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: More pundits are realizing that the Leafs won’t get anything close to equal value for Nylander if they trade him. That could change if another club gets desperate but it doesn’t appear as though anyone’s beating down the Leafs door willing to make that deal.
I was of the opinion that the Leafs should trade him. I felt that general manager Brad Treliving doesn’t want to go through another scenario watching a star depart as a free agent as he did in Calgary last summer with Johnny Gaudreau. Nylander’s uncertain future could also become an unnecessary distraction for the club.
Nevertheless, the Leafs are still a playoff contender hoping to compete for the Stanley Cup this season. Their chances of doing so are better with Nylander in the lineup unless a club steps up with an offer that would make them a better club. So far, that offer doesn’t seem to be out there.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE SENATORS AFTER SIGNING TARASENKO?
THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes wondered what the Ottawa Senators will do to free up salary-cap space after signing Vladimir Tarasenko to a one-year, $5 million contract. They’re bumping up against the $83.5 million salary cap with restricted free agent Shane Pinto to re-sign.
Mendes expects Pinto’s salary request will exceed the $900K that the Senators have to play with. He anticipates they’ll have to ship someone out. There aren’t many logical trade candidates and they won’t want to move a core player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps they attempt to move winger Mathieu Joseph ($2.95 million through 2024-25) or defenseman Erik Brannstrom ($2 million). They could also shop Dominik Kubalik but they recently acquired him from the Red Wings.