NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2023
The Wild could be parting ways with some notable players, an update on the Coyotes’ Nick Schmaltz and a look at the Flyers’ plans for the free-agent market in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
WILD FACE TOUGH DECISIONS REGARDING SEVERAL PLAYERS
TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani believes the Minnesota Wild’s upcoming salary-cap crunch for next season means they may have to part ways with five players this summer. Matt Dumba, Gustav Nyquist, Ryan Reaves, Oskar Sundqvist and John Klingberg are unrestricted free agents but the Wild might not be able to re-sign them all.
THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith, Michael Russo and Shayna Goldman looked at which players the Wild could re-sign and those they might part ways with. They also believe Dumba, Nyquist, Sundqvist and Klingberg won’t be back. They noted there’s mutual interest from the Wild and Reaves in his return but the Wild must be careful not to overpay.
They also speculate that defensemen Alex Goligoski and Calen Addison could become cost-cutting trade candidates. Goligoski was a frequent healthy scratch and might be willing to waive his no-movement clause to get traded somewhere he can play. It would free up $2 million for next season.
Addison was scratched after the Wild acquired Klingberg down the stretch and the playoffs. There’s a feeling they could be open to trading their top defense prospect following his inconsistent performance this season.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has said he’s not interested in moving on and is happy to finish the final season of his contract backing up Filip Gustavsson if need be. However, Smith, Russo and Goldman wondered if Fleury might change his mind if the Wild got an offer for him that he might find attractive.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba would love to remain with the Wild but both sides understand that’s not an option because of cap constraints. Reaves is 36 and knows his next contract is his last but he might have to accept a pay cut whether he signs with the Wild or another club.
Goligoski has only a year remaining on his contract with an affordable cap hit but he’s now 37 and his best years are behind him. There might not be much interest in him around the league unless the Wild includes a sweetener in the deal. His no-movement clause could complicate things.
Addison, on the other hand, could have value in the trade market. Despite his struggles this season, the 23-year-old blueliner still had 29 points in 63 games. He’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract and would be an affordable signing for any club interested in acquiring him. Given the Wild’s cap crunch, they could seek a draft pick or prospect in return.
As for Fleury, he made it quite clear in his end-of-season interview that he’s tired of moving and will honor the final year of his contract with the Wild. He will finish next season in Minnesota.
WILL THE COYOTES TRADE SCHMALTZ?
He believes so, noting that Schmaltz’s trade value will never be greater than it is now. The 27-year-old center is unlikely to be a major piece of the puzzle when the Coyotes emerge from their rebuild. However, they’ll have to consider the effect moving him would have upon linemate Clayton Keller as the two had terrific on-ice chemistry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schmaltz has three seasons remaining on his contract with a reasonable average annual value of $5.85 million. If the Coyotes shop him the ideal time is before July 1 when his 10-team no-trade clause kicks in.
When healthy, Schmaltz is a productive center who tallied a career-best 59 points last season and 58 points this season, each in 63 games. His injury history is a concern but he reportedly garnered interest from some playoff contenders leading up to the March 3 trade deadline.
NO BIG FREE-AGENT SIGNINGS EXPECTED FOR THE FLYERS
O’Connor replied that we shouldn’t hold our breath. Interim general manager Daniel Briere and head coach John Tortorella made it clear that the goal for next season is to get younger, not to go spending in the free-agent market. If the Flyers do make forays into the UFA market, O’Connor believes it’ll be to bring in supporting players on short-term contracts.