Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 24, 2023
Could the Hurricanes land Patrick Kane? Is a new contract coming for the Flames’ Mikael Backlund? Will the Canucks shed more contracts? Who could be a cost-cutting candidate for the Senators? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
COULD THE HURRICANES BECOME PATRICK KANE’S NEW TEAM?
SPORTSNET: That’s the question Ryan Dixon asked among his biggest questions for each team this season in the Metropolitan Division.
Patrick Kane is still rehabbing from an offseason hip resurfacing procedure. Dixon believes the Hurricanes are in no danger of missing the playoffs but felt they could use another offensive player to get them over the postseason hump.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dixon noted the Hurricanes’ experiment with Max Pacioretty last season failed when he was sidelined for all but five games by a twice-torn Achilles.
During the summer, Kane’s agent said his client was expected to be ready to return to action by December. By that point, he’s supposedly going to weigh offers from clubs that he believes will give him the best shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
The Hurricanes could be among that group as they’re considered among the Cup favorites. Finding the cap dollars, however, could be difficult as they’re entering the season with just over $920K in cap space.
IS A NEW CONTRACT COMING FOR BACKLUND?
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports there are rumblings of contract extension discussions heating up between the Flames and Mikael Backlund. The 34-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Backlund on Saturday. “It’s pretty quiet right now, but we will see what happens. We haven’t made a decision yet.”
Gilbertson cited reports from earlier in the week suggesting Backlund is open to re-signing with the Flames. He also indicated that his teammates believe he should be wearing the captaincy. He noted that the Flames intend on naming a new captain before their season opener on Oct. 11.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Gilbertson pointed out, that date for naming their next captain could also be the deadline for getting a new contract done for Backlund if he is to wear the “C”.
MORE COST-CUTTING MOVES IN STORE FOR THE CANUCKS?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: In the wake of the Vancouver Canucks trading Tanner Pearson to the Montreal Canadiens, Jeff Paterson reported Canucks hockey ops president Jim Rutherford indicated his club is “probably a contract or two away” from unraveling their salary-cap issues.
Rutherford didn’t single out any specific contracts but Paterson believed he was referring to Tyler Myers, Brock Boeser and Conor Garland. Myers is on an expiring deal with an average annual value of $5 million, Boeser has two years remaining with an AAV of $6.65 million while Garland has three years left at $4.95 million AAV.
Paterson pointed out that Myers, Boeser and Garland have floated repeatedly in the rumor mill. However, Rutherford blames the flattened salary cap for the Canucks’ difficulty in shedding unwanted contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers could still come off the Canucks’ books before the end of this season. All but $1 million of his $6 million AAV was paid out in a signing bonus. That could make him enticing for budget-conscious clubs seeking an experienced playoff rental defenseman.
If the Canucks still intend to move Boeser and/or Garland, they might have better luck next summer. That’s when the salary cap is projected to rise by at least $4 million.
WHO COULD THE SENATORS TRADE TO CLEAR CAP SPACE FOR PINTO?
SPORTSNET: Limited salary-cap space is complicating the Ottawa Senators’ efforts to sign restricted free-agent center Shane Pinto. They’d prefer not to part with the 22-year-old center, especially with Josh Norris starting training camp wearing a non-contact jersey.
They’ll have to trade somebody else to make room for Pinto. Mathieu Joseph keeps popping up as a trade candidate. The 26-year-old winger carries an annual cap hit of $2.95 million through 2025-26. They might have to include a sweetener in the deal to make it work.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article also cited Elliotte Friedman saying the Philadelphia Flyers “have been buzzing around the situation.” It was rumored they (and the Boston Bruins) were interested in Pinto. Perhaps the rebuilding Flyers would take Joseph off the Senators’ hands if he comes with a pick or a prospect.