NHL Unfinished Business: The 2019-20 Scoring Race
The NHL’s free agent market opens today. Check out the latest free-agent and trade speculation.
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning could be two clubs with more interest in Washington Capitals UFA defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche could also be lurking.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports the New Jersey Devils could target Shattenkirk, who could seek a seven-year deal worth around $7 million annually. That would be too rich for the New York Rangers, but perhaps not for the Devils, who have plenty of salary-cap space and are in need of skilled blueline depth. Cyrgalis also speculates the Devils could pursue center Nick Bonino and left wing Thomas Vanek via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils, Coyotes and Avalanche have the cap space to ink Shattenkirk to a lucrative long-term deal. If it gets down to a bidding war, I can’t see the Lightning winning that one unless he’s willing to accept less to play in Tampa Bay.
Darren Dreger reports Capitals winger Jason Williams was high on the Dallas Stars list, while the Nashville Predators are still poking around. He’d reportedly like to stay in the East. He’s been linked to the Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour is pushing hard for his club to bring back Williams, who helped the Canes win the Stanley Cup in 2006.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports the Islanders, Flyers and Lightning are among Williams’ suitors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of interest in the 35-year-old Williams, who remains a capable second-line right wing. Given his age, he’ll likely get a two-year deal and it could be for around $4 million annually. If he intends to stay in the East he won’t lack for destinations. Maybe he joins the Lightning for one more shot at a Stanley Cup run.
CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz cites reports the San Jose Sharks have offered up a two-year contract offer to forward Patrick Marleau and could be prepared to offer up a multiyear deal to Joe Thornton.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates perhaps there’s some rationale for the New York Rangers to sign Thornton and Marleau to lucrative bonus-laden one-year contract if they’re unable to remain with the Sharks. However, there’s no indication the duo are willing to consider that option. If so, Brooks wonders if it’s worthwhile to offer the pair matching two-year deals for around $5.5 million per season.
Darren Dreger reports the Rangers are in talks with former Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if Marleau and Thornton accept two-year deals with the Sharks. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. If they do move on, I expect they’ll try to sign with teams as close to San Jose as possible.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites NHL Network’s Brian Lawton reporting he was working “on 2 rumours involving @EdmontonOilers. Draisaitl @Avalanche trade for Duchene & @SanJoseSharks interest in him. Lot of moving parts!” He notes Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli emphatically denied the report. ‘We are not trading him. I have talked to nobody nor will I,” said Chiarelli. Staple said he doesn’t get how a Draisaitl for Duchene swap would work for the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s talk the Draisaitl camp seeks over $9 million annually on his new contract, but he’s coming off an entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. There’s no need to trade him. I expect he’ll ink an eight-year deal for around $8 million per season with the Oilers.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports the Blue Jackets “are pursuing all avenues toward increasing their firepower at forward, which means big trades and noteworthy free agent signings over the next few days should not be a surprise.” He expects they’ll pursue a first-line center via trade, noting recent reports linking the Jackets to Colorado’s Matt Duchene.
Acquiring Duchene, however, could cost them two roster players plus a prospect and a draft pick. If they’re offering up one of their wingers as part of the deal for Duchene, it would explain their interest in left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, whose rights are owned by the New Jersey Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Jackets over the next couple of days. It looks like they’re willing to go all in to push themselves into Stanley Cup contention for 2017-18. Could see at least one big move by them.
Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens are no closer to re-signing right wing Alexander Radulov, who’s reportedly seeking a six- or seven-year deal. The Dallas Stars could have some interest in Radulov, who turns 31 later this month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens also aren’t any closer to re-signing Andrei Markov. GM Marc Bergevin could be scrambling to replace those two when the market opens today.
Darren Dreger reports the Winnipeg Jets appear for now to be out of the bidding for Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner. He’s believed seeking a six-year deal worth around $5 million annually.
TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said his club won’t be a big player in the upcoming UFA market. Fletcher has about $17.6 million in salary-cap space after shipping Marco Scandella and Jason Pominville yesterday to the Buffalo Sabres. The Wild are looking at options at center and for a right-shot defenseman, but they could consider in-house options to address those needs.
NEWS 1130’s Rick Dhaliwal reports the Vancouver Canucks could be close to a deal with former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto.
Updates on Brandon Prust, Leo Komarov, Leon Draisaitl and Nikolaj Ehlers in your NHL Canadian Corner. (more…)