Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 27, 2023
A look at some of the teams in the Central Division heading into the 2023-24 season in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon recently looked at the biggest unanswered question for each team in the NHL’s Central Division.
Among the notables was whether the Colorado Avalanche could figure out a contract extension for Devon Toews before the start of the season. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Given the Avalanche’s limited salary-cap space, Dixon wondered if Toews and fellow blueliner Samuel Girard would still be with the club in a year’s time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews skates on the Avalanche’s top defense pairing with superstar Cale Makar. He’s due for a significant raise over the $4.1 million average annual value of his current contract. The Avs, however, have just $10.7 million in cap space for 2024-25 with 13 active roster players under contract.
They could get an additional $7 million in cap relief if captain Gabriel Landeskog remains sidelined in 2024-25 by his ongoing (and potentially career-threatening) knee injury. That could help them clear enough space to re-sign Toews.
If Landeskog returns, however, the Avs will have to shed salary if they hope to re-sign Toews. Girard could become a trade candidate. The 25-year-old rearguard carries an AAV of $5 million through 2026-27.
Dixon noted that the Dallas Stars could use some blue-line help for stud defenseman Miro Heiskanen. If they wanted to go after someone like the Calgary Flames’ Noah Hanifin they have a couple of prospect forwards that could help get a deal done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf also recently pointed to the Stars’ need to bolster their defense corps, especially on the right side. However, he suggested the Carolina Hurricanes’ Brett Pesce, the Nashville Predators’ Tyson Barrie, Arizona Coyotes’ Matt Dumba or Hanifin’s teammate Chris Tanev as more likely targets should they become available before the March trade deadline.
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will be patient and won’t rush into trading either guy simply for the sake of closure. Dixon noted that Cheveldayoff held firm on his asking price for Pierre-Luc Dubois and pretty much got what he wanted from the Los Angeles Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Starting the season with Hellebuyck and Scheifele in the lineup runs the risk of injuries or a decline in performance affecting their trade value. Nevertheless, recent reports suggest Cheveldayoff could be comfortable with doing so in the hope of either re-signing one or both or finding better trade offers as the season goes on.