NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2023
NHL Rumor Mill – May 3, 2023
Could the Bruins shop Linus Ullmark? Will the Rangers trade one of their young forwards? What’s the latest on the Red Wings and Senators? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
COULD ULLMARK BECOME A TRADE CANDIDATE?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a former NHL executive claiming the Bruins entertained trade talks for Linus Ullmark but elected to retain the 29-year-old goaltender.
Ullmark went on to become the favorite to win this Vezina Trophy this season after going 40-6-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. However, the executive felt he could be traded this offseason.
The Bruins have limited salary-cap space for 2023-24. Ullmark is signed through 2024-25 with a $5 million average annual value. Despite his struggles in the Bruins’ opening-round elimination by the Florida Panthers, his regular-season performance ensures he’ll have value in the trade market.
Murphy wondered if the Bruins would consider icing a goalie tandem of Jeremy Swayman and promising Brandon Bussi next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has only 14 active roster players under contract for 2023-24. Cap Friendly shows the Bruins with a projected $10.5 million in cap space but that doesn’t appear to take into account their $4.5 million in performance bonus overages.
Sweeney will have to shed some salary to ice a 23-man roster next season. Trading Ullmark, however, won’t be easy. His no-movement clause for this season reverts on July 1 to a 16-team no-trade list for 2023-24. A number of clubs also have salary-cap constraints.
COULD THE RANGERS TRADE A YOUNG PLAYER?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks observed the Rangers might need to restructure their roster following their first-round elimination by the New Jersey Devils. He believes they still need a line with “a lockdown mentality and match-up capability,” noting they also lack a true checking-line center.
The Rangers also have limited cap room to work with this summer and limited maneuverability with their no-move veterans. That could lead to them perhaps moving a young player such as defenseman K’Andre Miller or a forward like Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko or Filip Chytil.
Brooks’ colleague Mollie Walker believes the Rangers must also address their need for scoring at right wing with Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane likely departing via free agency. She thinks they must free up some cap space to do this.
Walker considers Miller too valuable to part with but the 21-year-old Lafreniere might be a trade option. The 2020 first-overall pick is a natural left winger but the Rangers’ depth at that position has him struggling to play on his off-wing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers general manager Chris Drury could consider another trade option to free up cap room to add a right winger. Perhaps he’ll shop checking-line forward Barclay Goodrow. He could then give the Kid Line of Chytil, Lafreniere and Kakko another go next season.
It’s difficult to believe Drury could trade Lafreniere. Then again, he wasn’t the general manager who drafted him. Despite his struggles, the youngster would garner plenty of interest in the trade market.
Lafreniere is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract and should be an affordable bridge-deal signing. The Rangers aren’t getting any cap relief by trading him as they would with players signed through next season like Chytil ($4.4 million) or Kakko ($2.1 million).
I’ll be shocked if the Rangers trade Miller. He’s only going to improve and is too valuable to their blueline now and down the road.
WHAT WILL THE RED WINGS DO THIS SUMMER?
MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan was asked if the Detroit Red Wings would take a run at acquiring Alex DeBrincat if the Ottawa Senators were to shop the RFA winger.
Khan believes they have to assets to do it if the Senators are willing to trade DeBrincat within the division. However, he wondered if the 5’7”, 165-pounder is the type of scorer they want when they seeking more pushback and being harder to play against. He also noted it would cost $$9 million to qualify DeBrincat’s rights.
Another reader asked Khan if the Red Wings could acquire Kyle Connor. He believes prying the 26-year-old winger away from the Winnipeg Jets is a bigger long shot than acquiring DeBrincat.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $30 million in cap space, five picks in the first two rounds of this year’s draft and a deep pool of prospects, Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has the trade capital to make a significant addition or two to his roster for next season.
DeBrincat would address their need for more scoring but they’d have to look elsewhere to add more size and toughness to their roster. As for the Jets, they could shake things up this summer but Connor is under a long-term contract and I doubt he’ll be part of any changes they make.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen recently reported the Red Wings will look for a goalie in this summer’s thin free-agent market. They’ll also shop for a right-shot defenseman.
Free-agent goalie options could include Los Angeles’ Joonas Korpisalo, Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry, Vegas’ Adin Hill, the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov and perhaps bringing back Alex Nedeljkovic.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo is the best of the bunch if they’re seeking a potential starter. That’s assuming the Kings don’t re-sign him. Hill or Varlamov would be good options if they prefer a backup for starter Ville Husso.
Defense free agents include Minnesota’s Matt Dumba and John Klingberg, Boston’s Connor Clifton, Floridas’ Radko Gudas, the Islanders’ Scott Mayfield, New Jersey’s Damon Severson, Ottawa’s Travis Hamonic, and Anaheim’s Kevin Shattenkirk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba’s stock dropped over the past two seasons. The same goes for Klingberg and Severson. Maybe they can regain their form with a change of scenery. Gudas would add that snarl to the lineup that they’re seeking. Mayfield would be a solid shutdown addition.
POTENTIAL GOALIE OPTIONS FOR THE SENATORS
SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan recently listed seven pending UFA goaltenders and offered his assessment of them as options for the Ottawa Senators next season.
Scanlan would pass on Jonathan Quick given his age (37) and two sub-par seasons. Other notables include Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry, Carolina’s Frederik Andersen or Antti Raanta, Vegas’ Adin Hill, the Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov and Los Angeles’ Joonas Korpisalo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen and Raanta are solid, reliable netminders when they’re healthy. Their respective injury histories should be a red flag. Jarry’s inconsistency likely means the Penguins will part ways with him. Maybe he finds stability with a change of scenery.
Korpisalo might be a better option if the Senators seek a starter. Varlamov or Hill would be a solid backup choice.