NHL Rumor Mill – August 4, 2023
COULD THE PENGUINS ATTEMPT TO CLOSE OUT A KARLSON DEAL THIS WEEKEND?
NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman anticipates a contract buyout coming this weekend for the Pittsburgh Penguins that could affect their efforts to acquire San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson.
Friedman noted the Penguins avoided arbitration with Drew O’Connor earlier this week. That opens a 48-hour contract buyout window this weekend.
General manager Kyle Dubas prefers not to use contract buyouts. However, Friedman said he’s had a couple of people tell him to keep an eye on this weekend as the Penguins could attempt to get this closed (referring to a Karlson trade).
THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe also took note of the Penguins’ buyout window. He wondered if Dubas will use it to buy out the remaining two years of Mikael Granlund’s contract, potentially freeing up some salary-cap space to acquire Karlsson.
Yohe also envisioned other scenarios such as including Granlund in the package to acquire Karlsson from the Sharks, trading other veterans in cost-cutting moves, or the unlikely option of putting Jeff Carter on long-term injury reserve.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jacob Punturi examined the pros and cons of the Penguins potentially buying out Granlund. While it would provide significant immediate cap savings of around $4 million, it would also result in four years of dead cap space worth $1.38 million annually on top of what they’re carrying from their 2020 buyout of Jack Johnson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve previously mentioned my theory of Dubas buying out Granlund and then using the savings to put toward getting the Karlsson deal done. We’ll find out by the end of the weekend if that’s the case.
LATEST ON ELIAS LINDHOLM
NHL NETWORK: Friedman said things were quiet regarding Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm. He believes the Flames want to sign the 28-year-old to an eight-year extension in the range of $8 million to $9 million annually.
THE ATHLETIC: Julian McKenzie and Shayna Goldman listed some potential trade destinations for Lindholm if he and the Flames fail to reach an agreement on a contract extension.
They took note of speculation linking Lindholm to the Boston Bruins. However, they question whether they have sufficient assets to pry him away from the Flames. They also looked at the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes, Blue Jackets and Wild have the depth in tradeable assets to tempt the Flames. I’m not convinced that the Leafs and Canucks could pull it off. Salary-cap space could also be a concern for some of these clubs even with the projected increase by $4 million next summer.