NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2023
Should the Devils pursue Connor Hellebuyck? Are the Capitals any closer to moving Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha? What are the Canadiens’ trade options for Casey DeSmith? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
COULD HELLEBUYCK END UP WITH THE DEVILS?
NHL NETWORK: Mike Rupp believes the New Jersey Devils should attempt to acquire Connor Hellebuyck. The 30-year-old Winnipeg Jets goaltender appears reluctant to sign a contract extension and could seek $9 million annually on his next deal given his strong play over the past five years.
Rupp doesn’t know if the Devils would be interested in signing Hellebuyck to an expensive long-term extension. However, he has this season left on his contract and Rupp thinks the Devils would be a good fit if Hellebuyck wants to win the Stanley Cup.
Rumors have linked Hellebuyck to the Devils. Rupp believes they have the players and pieces to make an offer to the Jets, noting that goaltending is an X factor for New Jersey. Perhaps spending the season with the Devils would make Hellebuyck more receptive to staying on a slightly more affordable contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck seems like a perfect fit for the Devils and there was talk earlier this summer claiming they had inquired into his availability. The cost of signing him to an extension was said to be the deal breaker.
The Jets thus far haven’t found a suitable offer for Hellebuyck. It appears they’ll start the season with him in the lineup and see how things go. If they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline perhaps a deal with the Devils or another playoff contender can be had.
THE LATEST ON KUZNETSOV AND MANTHA
Silber cited a report earlier this month from Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli indicating Kuznetsov and Mantha remain trade chips for the Capitals. However, it seems unlikely either player will be moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Nashville Predators looked into acquiring Kuznetsov before the free-agent market opened on July 1. However, that interest appears to have cooled in part because of their addition of Ryan O’Reilly. There’s been no indication that Mantha has drawn any serious attention in this summer’s trade market.
Kuznetsov and Mantha are coming off down seasons and both carry expensive cap hits in a summer when most teams have limited cap space. The only way their trade value improves is if the Capitals agree to retain half of their respective cap hits. Otherwise, it’ll take improvement in their performance during the coming regular season to make them more enticing in the trade market.
POSSIBLE DESTINATIONS FOR DESMITH
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont recently looked at possible trade destinations for Casey DeSmith. Acquired earlier this month from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadiens could attempt to flip the 32-year-old backup and his $1.8 million cap hit to another club before the start of the season.
Dumont suggested the Boston Bruins if they end up trading Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman for a center. The Anaheim Ducks could be another option if they trade John Gibson. The St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning are possibilities if their current backups struggle. Others could be the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will be sticking with their current goalie tandem for the coming season. There doesn’t appear to be a market for Gibson given his $6.4 million cap hit. Barring injuries, those other clubs are likely to start the season with their current goalies and see how things shake out.