NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Carolina Hurricanes
The holiday roster freeze is in effect until 12:01 am on Dec. 28, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation. Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked if Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker or Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli were realistic trade options for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He suspects they’d like to add a top-six winger before the trade deadline and feels those names are worth keeping in mind. The Penguins attempted to acquired Zucker last spring. Yohe doesn’t believe they have an interest in free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk.
Yohe was also asked about shopping Matt Murray if Tristan Jarry continues out-playing him. He suggests Murray still has value in the trade market, though it’s not what it was a couple of years ago. He also doesn’t rule out forward Nick Bjugstad becoming a trade candidate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford making any moves following the trade freeze until his roster is healthier. He’s consistently demonstrated his ability at making significant in-season deals so I see him being busy near the trade deadline. I don’t think Zucker’s available now, but Toffoli will be for the right price.
Yohe didn’t say if he thought Rutherford would trade Murray. If the Penguins GM is considering that possibility, I don’t see it happening until the summer. Jarry’s playing well for now but Murray still has championship experience. Murray’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. His future in Pittsburgh could be decided on what type of contract he’s seeking.
SABRES, HURRICANES WILLING TO SHED DEFENSEMEN FOR SCORING HELP
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there are a lot of teams ready to shed defensemen in exchange for scoring help.
He points out Buffalo Sabres blueliners Colin Miller, Zach Bogosian, and Marco Scandella are among those in the rumor mill for some time. Carolina Hurricanes rearguards Jake Gardiner, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Joel Edmundson are also out there.
McKenzie said the market’s been soft for those defensemen that are available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clubs in need of defensemen might be awaiting better options to appear in the trade market. Some of those teams could also be unwilling to part with a scoring forward.
Salary cap issues could also be a factor. Bogosian, for example, is carrying a $5.14-million cap hit this season while Scandella’s cap hit is $4 million. Gardiner’s earning over $4 million annually through 2022-23.
The Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Justin Faulk and a fifth-round pick in 2020 to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for defenseman Joel Edmundson, prospect Dominik Bokk, and a seventh-round pick in 2021. The Blues subsequently signed Faulk to a seven-year, $45.5-million contract extension with an annual average value of $6.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a potential deal that would’ve shipped Faulk to the Anaheim Ducks fell through earlier this month, the Hurricanes find a suitor with the Blues. The 27-year-old blueliner was dogged by trade speculation for nearly two years. He was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer so this contract extension brings him peace of mind over his future.
Critics will suggest the Blues overpaid in return and salary for a defenseman who slipped down the Hurricanes’ defense depth chart over the past two years. In the short term, Faulk’s addition provides another measure of experienced top-four blue line depth for the Blues as they set about defending their Stanley Cup title this season.
Over the long term, this move could raise questions about captain Alex Pietrangelo’s future in St. Louis. He’s also slated to become a UFA next summer and Cap Friendly indicates his AAV is similar to Faulk’s new deal. Pietrangelo could earn over $8 million annually on the open market next summer.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, get a big, physical presence with plenty of postseason experience in Edmundson. They also gain a prospect in Bokk, who is entering his third season in the Swedish League. He was the Blues’ first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2018 Draft.
Edmundson’s cap hit ($3.1 million) is more affordable than Faulk’s $4.833 million. He’s also a UFA next summer but could earn himself a new deal with the Hurricanes if he proves a good fit in Carolina.
Cap Friendly indicates the Hurricanes are above the $81.5-million salary cap by just over $500K while the Blues sit above it by over $1.2 million. Both clubs will have to shed salary to become cap compliant. Demotions will likely address that need for both clubs.
Rasmus Ristolainen implies a trade request, plus the latest on the Blues and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.
DOES RISTOLAINEN WANT OUT OF BUFFALO?
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski cites a recent report from Finland’s MTV Sports indicating Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen implied he’s requested a trade. “I cannot say anything other than the fact that on the 12th of September, I will be at one of the NHL team’s training camps,” he said. The blueliner added he wants to keep his discussions with Sabres management private.
“I haven’t been able to help the team win,” he told MTV Sports, according to the translation. “Recent seasons have been tough and I haven’t been able to enjoy hockey.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ristolainen’s been the subject of frequent media trade chatter since April. The Sabres’ recent additions of right-side defensemen Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju stoked the speculation.
The Score’s Sean O’Leary reminds us Ristolainen “reportedly drew interest in trade talks after the Winnipeg Jets dealt Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers in June.” The blueliner’s recent comments ensure he remains a fixture in the rumor mill leading up to the start of training camp next month.
LATEST BLUES SPECULATION
STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with his readers, Tom Timmermann addressed some questions regarding several Blues players. He believes restricted free agent Ivan Barbashev could be seeking a deal similar to Oskar Sundqvist’s four-year ($2.75-million AAV) contract. He doesn’t expect Joel Edmundson to be traded, citing Jay Bouwmeester’s potential retirement at the end of this season and Carl Gunnarsson’s injury history.
Timmermann feels roster space is as much a factor regarding bringing back Pat Maroon as salary-cap space. He doubts the Blues will consider trading Alex Steen in a cost-cutting move as they still value his contributions. If Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen play well this season, the latter’s trade value could improve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect any big shake-ups by the Blues this season. Coming off a Stanley Cup championship, management will try to keep the roster intact as much as possible. Maroon could be the exception, depending on whether they feel his spot on the roster can be filled by a younger, cheaper player.
FIVE UFAS WHO COULD HELP THE COYOTES
AZCENTRAL.COM: Winger Justin Williams and center Brian Boyle are among five players Richard Morin believes could help the Arizona Coyotes if the price is right. Riley Sheahan, Alex Petrovic, and Magnus Paajarvi round out his list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Williams is expected to return with the Carolina Hurricanes for one more season or retire. Boyle, 34, could bring some invaluable experience and leadership to the young Coyotes. Sheahan, Petrovic, and Paajarvi would be younger (late-twenties) and more affordable options.
Update on the Wild’s GM search, the latest contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: A report indicating Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell has spoken with the Minnesota Wild regarding their vacant GM position is raising eyebrows. Waddell, a finalist for GM of the Year last season, remains without a new contract with the Hurricanes. He and team owner Tom Dundon attempted to downplay the situation, but the club could be flirting with front-office dysfunction.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dundon claims he’d allow Waddell to speak with other clubs even if he was under contract, saying he wasn’t going to stop him if he could get more money elsewhere. Waddell insists it’s still business as usual for him, claiming Dundon “doesn’t believe in a lot of contracts” and telling Waddell he had a job for life.
Nevertheless, I think this is Waddell’s way of trying to leverage a new contract out of Dundon. If he does sign with the Wild, it’ll only raise more questions about Dundon’s handling of his management team.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Wild also received permission to speak to Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin.
STLTODAY.COM: An arbiter awarded St. Louis Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson a one-year, $3.1-million contract. The Blues had offered $2.3 million while Edmundson sought $4.2 million after earning $3 million last season.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators forward Rocco Grimaldi received a one-year, $1-million contract via arbitration.
NBC SPORTS: released their television schedule for the 2019-20 season.
The #Canes have acquired Kyle Wood from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Trevor Carrick
— Carolina Hurricanes (@CanesNHL) August 6, 2019