NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2017

As contract talks continue, Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak will miss the start of training camp .

 Updates on David Pastrnak, Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla & Riley Sheahan in your NHL rumor mill. 

CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak will miss the start of the club’s training camp as his agent J.P. Barry and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney continue their contract discussions. He will remain in the Czech Republic until a contract is agreed upon. Barry said he’s spoken with Sweeney several times, “but no breakthrough yet.”

Haggerty also reports the gap between the two sides appears to have narrowed a bit. The Bruins are currently unwilling to go much past the $6.75 million per season the Calgary Flames gave to winger Johnny Gaudreau, while the Pastrnak camp could be convinced to accept $7.5 million annually, similar to the annual cap hit of St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. Haggarty suggests that leaves room for agreement on around $7 million annually on a long-term deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While there’s concern Pastrnak’s negotiations could drag on throughout this month, it’s possible it could be resolved quickly. The fact Barry and Sweeney continue to talk is a good sign.

There’s also talk that there are KHL teams interested in signing Pastrnak, I doubt he’s interested. Those offers are likely being used solely as leverage by his agent in those discussions with the Bruins. If negotiations stall it could give rise to trade speculation but I don’t believe the Bruins have any intention of shopping him. 

UPDATE: The Bruins announced this morning they’ve agreed to a six-year, $40-million contract with Pastrnak. The average annual salary is $6.67 million. 

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien cites a report by The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline saying the Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t offered up forward Boone Jenner and defenseman Ryan Murray to the Colorado Avalanche for center Matt Duchene. However, Portzline believes that package could address the Avalanche’s needs. O’Brien suggests that seems like a great deal for the Blue Jackets and could make some sense for the Avs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Brien takes a deeper dive into this issue and it’s worth the read. I think the Jackets are comfortable parting with Murray but not so much with Jenner. The Avs could be interested in both players as part of the return, though I suspect they’d also want a top prospect and/or a first-round pick included in the package.

If there’s no better offers out there for Duchene, perhaps Avs GM Joe Sakic might be willing to consider such a deal, especially if he decides he doesn’t want uncertainty over the center’s future hanging over his club’s season. Of course, if the Jackets aren’t willing to part with Jenner or another young forward, Sakic probably wouldn’t be interested. 

CALGARY SUN: Michael Traikos reports the agent for unrestricted free agent winger Jarome Iginla said his client is being selective in his search for a new team. Traikos speculates the 40-year-old Iginla could prefer “playing meaningful minutes on a Stanley Cup-contending team, in a city that makes sense for his family,” suggesting Edmonton, Calgary or Pittsburgh as possible options. However, those teams might their young players first before taking a chance on a past-his-prime veteran. Agent Don Meehan said his client isn’t interested in going the professional tryout offer route. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Iginla remains a widely-respected veteran but I believe there are concerns among NHL GMs over the decline in his speed and production in recent years. A contender could still give Iginla a shot on a bonus-laden one-year deal but that might not come until later this month or perhaps before the start of the season. Same goes for Jaromir Jagr, who’s also waiting for a contract offer.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports various sources claim the Pittsburgh Penguins are among the clubs expressing interest in Detroit Red Wings center Riley Sheahan. Mackey believes Sheahan could be a good fit with the Penguins but it’s tougher to say if a deal is imminent, though he doesn’t expect it would take much to get it done. Sheahan’s $2.075 million annual cap hit would fit into the Penguins’ remaining cap space. The cap-strapped Wings are looking to shed salary and to acquire young defensemen, prompting Mackey to suggest Pens blueliner Derrick Pouliot could benefit from a change of scenery. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sheahan could benefit from playing for coach Mike Sullivan as defenseman Justin Schultz did when he joined the Pens in a midseason trade in 2016. Pouliot’s struggled to crack the Penguins roster and would probably stand a better chance with the rebuilding Red Wings. He also carries an affordable $800K cap hit for this season.

Of course, it remains to be seen if the Pens pull this off. GM Jim Rutherford could wait to evaluate his roster through training camp before deciding if he needs to bring in help at center.