NHL Rumor Mill – June 17, 2023
SHOULD THE KINGS ACQUIRE PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS?
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens examined the recent trade speculation tying Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings in a possible sign-and-trade deal. The 24-year-old Dubois is a restricted free agent who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.
Payroll could prevent this deal from taking place. The Kings have $7.3 million in projected cap space with 17 active roster players under contract for 2023-24.
Dubois is coming off a one-year, $6 million contract and his agent is reportedly seeking a long-term deal averaging out to $9 million per season. Acquiring him would mean having to shed some salary to make room for his new contract.
Stephens also worried about compatibility, citing Dubois’ trade request from Winnipeg and from Columbus before that.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephens also pointed out that Dubois is not a first-line center nor is he a franchise player. Spending $9 million annually on a long-term deal would be an expensive investment that could prove costly in more ways than one for the Kings or anyone else.
Landing a goaltender should be the Kings’ priority after trading away Cal Petersen and with Joonas Korpisalo slated to become a UFA on July 1. Stephens wonders if the cost of acquiring Dubois in trade assets and the contract might be better invested in Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
FLAMES COULD SHOP NOAH HANIFIN
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports all signs pointing to defenseman Noah Hanifin not signing a contract extension with the Calgary Flames. He believes this situation is likely headed for a trade. Hanifin carries an average annual value of $4.95 million for 2023-24.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Randy Sportak believes Hanifin would draw plenty of interest in the trade market. The 26-year-old blueliner is entering his playing prime and is capable of putting up 50-point seasons in a top-four role. He could fetch a quality return for the Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportak points out the lack of quality defenseman in this summer’s free-agent market could work to the Flames’ favor if they decide to peddle Hanifin. Perhaps that move takes place leading up to the opening round of the draft on June 28.
CAPITALS AREN’T TRADING TOM WILSON
This news comes on the heels of reports claiming the Los Angeles Kings “kicked tires” on Wilson, who is slated to become a UFA next summer. Friedman said he was told the Capitals intend to keep the power forward as they see him as a big part of their future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson and Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan have previously stated their mutual interest in getting a contract extension done at some point before next summer. Unless those negotiations go off the rails by next season’s trade deadline, I wouldn’t put much stock in the Wilson trade rumors.
LATEST OILERS SPECULATION
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes an offer sheet for Evan Bouchard could put the Oilers in a salary-cap bind. The 23-year-old is a restricted free agent who could become a 50-60 point player next season.
Oilers GM Ken Holland is aware of the possibility of Bouchard getting an offer sheet. However, he appeared unconcerned as he anticipated that his club would be able to match. Matheson also wondered if Bouchard would be willing to sign an offer sheet. Most of the teams that can afford to send him one are rebuilding.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Playing for a cap-strapped club, Bouchard is a tempting offer-sheet target. However, most playoff contenders have less than $15 million in cap space for next season. Those with more have a large number of players to re-sign or they don’t need a puck-moving blueliner like Bouchard. Never say never but I think the odds of Bouchard signing an offer sheet are low.
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector cited colleague Elliotte Friedman reporting teams are interested in Edmonton Oilers winger Warren Foegele. The big, speedy winger isn’t untouchable but the Oilers were pleased with his performance this season. Moving him would leave a big hole to fill.
There’s some talk of the Oilers signing former Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews as a fourth-line center. Spector expects the 35-year-old would be a one-year, $1 million signing. Toews’ former teammate Duncan Keith, now the Oilers’ scout and advisor, has been put in charge of monitoring this situation.
COULD THE LIGHTNING TRADE ROSS COLTON?
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to free up salary-cap space. They could be open to moving Ross Colton. The 26-year-old restricted free agent could prove too expensive if he files for arbitration.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With LTIR cap space, the Lightning have $7.3 million in cap room for next season with 17 active roster players under contract. Colton is completing a two-year contract worth $2.25 million. He could seek over $3 million annually which could price him out of Tampa Bay.