Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 17, 2022
The latest on Filip Forsberg’s contract talks, more speculation over Semyon Varlamov’s future with the Islanders plus an update on the Sharks in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
LATEST ON FORSBERG’S CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there was recently a face-to-face meeting between Nashville Predators general manager David Poile and J.P. Barry, who represents Predators winger Filip Forsberg. It was the first time in a while the two sides had met this way.
Neither side would comment on specifics so it’s difficult to gauge if there’s been any progress in their contract negotiations. However, Friedman considers it significant that this meeting took place.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. The 27-year-old left winger is completing a six-year, $36 million contract and is enjoying a career-best performance with 38 goals and 74 points in 69 games.
I’ve speculated that Forsberg could seek over $8 million annually on an eight-year deal to remain in Nashville. Poile, however, could be reluctant to go that high or for that long when he’s already got two forwards (Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen) on long-term deals with annual average values of $8 million.
MORE SPECULATION ON VARLAMOV’S FUTURE WITH THE ISLANDERS
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently suggested the New York Islanders should lean heavily on Ilya Sorokin over the remainder of their schedule for this season to see how well he holds up. He believes that will give the 26-year-old goalie another opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a bonafide NHL starter.
Kurz also thinks that could influence what Islanders management does with veteran netminder Semyon Varlamov. While it’s believed they want to bring him back for another season, they might prefer moving him in the offseason if Sorokin proves he can handle a heavier workload. Trading Varlamov would enable them to patch holes in the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov frequently surfaced in the rumor mill leading up to last month’s trade deadline. He’s signed through next season with an annual average value of $5 million and a 16-team no-trade list.
With the Islanders carrying over $70 million invested in 18 active players for next season, shipping out Varlamov’s cap hit would make it easier to add a top-four left-side defenseman or a top-six forward via trade or free agency. However, his no-trade list could complicate things.
UPDATE ON THE SHARKS
THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka believes a lack of offense is the issue the San Jose Sharks must address in the offseason. They’re 30th out of the 32 NHL clubs in goals-per-game average and last in even-strength goals.
Pashelka believes the Sharks need to add an experienced top-six winger. With limited salary-cap space for 2022-23, they’ll have to shed some salary via trades or contract buyouts to clear sufficient room to bolster their scoring.
Trade candidates include goaltender Adin Hill, forward Kevin Labanc and defenseman Radim Simek. The Sharks could also look into buying out the final four years of blueliner Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s contract, which would free up $8.8 million over the next two seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Pashelka pointed out, the oft-injured Hill is expected to be the odd man out as James Reimer and the recently-acquired Kaapo Kahkonen will be their goalie tandem next season. Labanc has slid down the depth chart while Simek’s become a recent health scratch. It won’t be easy to find many takers for those players given their current woes.
Buying out Vlasic will provide some cap relief but it will sting nevertheless because of the way the deal is structured. Cap Friendly indicates it’ll count as over $3.6 million in the first year, $1.4 million in the second, rising to $4.1 million in the third year and $5.1 million in year four before dropping to over $1.6 million over the remaining four years of the deal.