YAHOO! SPORTS: cites St. Louis-based NHL insider Andy Strickland reporting Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog seeks a big raise on his next contract. Slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28, the 28-year-old left-winger could be asking for an annual average value of $9 million to $10 million on the open market.
Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).
Landeskog is willing to give the Avalanche a hometown discount. However, they’ll have to come up from their offer of between $5 million to $6 million on an eight-year deal.
As always, I don’t fault any player for seeking the best contract they can get as a free agent. Landeskog is a terrific first-line left-winger and a key part of the Avalanche roster.
However, I doubt Landeskog will find many offers between $9 million and $10 million with the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million next season. He certainly won’t get it from the clubs listed by Strickland. They’ve all got limited cap space and pending free agents of their own to deal with. They’d have to shed considerable cap space to sign him.
Landeskog earned $5.57 annually on a seven-year deal. If the Avs are offering five years at $7 million per he should jump on that. It’s a reasonable raise that keeps him on a potential Cup contender through the remaining years of his playing prime. The Avs also need room to re-sign Cale Makar and Philipp Grubauer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings also retained half of Panik’s $2.75 million salary. He’s signed through 2022-23. Leddy has one year remaining on his deal worth $5.5 million.
This move provides some flexibility for the cap-strapped Islanders, freeing up over $4 million in payroll. It also provides the rebuilding Red Wings with an experienced puck-moving defenseman who can log top-four minutes.
The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan speculates the Wings could pair Leddy with promising rookie Moritz Seider. They could also use him as a trade chip if they become sellers at next season’s trade deadline. His addition could also mean they don’t re-sign pending UFA Marc Staal.
THE PROVINCE: Alex Edler’s 15-season NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks could be coming to an end. The veteran defenseman is going to test the free-agent market on July 28. His agent indicated the 35-year-old has never tested the free-agent waters before and he might never get the chance to do so again.
TSN: cited a report by The Athletic’s Adam Vingan indicating the Nashville Predators and pending UFA Erik Haula are discussing a new contract. He’s coming off a one-year, $1.75 million deal.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Laval Rocket coach Joel Bouchard denied any rift or animosity with the Canadiens. Bouchard recently joined the Anaheim Ducks as head coach of their AHL affiliate in San Diego. Bouchard insists he made the change because he wanted to try something different elsewhere.
The Lightning face some tough decisions this summer, the latest Vladimir Tarasenko speculation and updates on the Flames, Islanders and Flyers in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LIGHTNING FACE DIFFICULT OFFSEASON DECISIONS
THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Tampa Bay Lightning could face some tough decisions this summer to become salary-cap compliant for next season. They’re sitting above the $81.5 million cap by $3.5 million.
The Lightning has several players (Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, Yanni Gourde) with market value. Sources say all of them will receive interest so moving one of them wouldn’t be a salary dump.
General manager Julien BriseBois said he’s had discussions with the Seattle Kraken about a side deal. He doesn’t intend to ask any of his players with no-movement clauses to waive them for the upcoming expansion draft.
BriseBois has no plans to buy out anyone. That includes Tyler Johnson, who won’t be easy to move with three years left on his contract and an annual average value of $5 million. He also admitted it’s possible forwards Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow depart via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning has 17 players under contract for next season. They could be looking at trying to clear over $10 million to leave enough wiggle room under the cap to fill out the rest of their lineup and still leave room for other moves if necessary during next season.
They’ll have to shed even more if they want to keep Coleman, Goodrow and fellow UFA David Savard. That doesn’t seem likely. Rumor has it the Bruins will push hard to sign Goodrow when the free-agent market opens.
Could the Tampa Bay Lightning ask Steven Stamkos to waive his NMC to accept a trade? (NHL Images)
Smith’s colleague Pierre LeBrun wondered if BriseBois might approach captain Steven Stamkos about waiving his no-movement clause for a trade. There was talk last fall Stamkos’ camp was approached but the answer was no. LeBrun thinks there could be another conversation about it but I don’t think Stamkos wants to consider it. He took less than market value to stay with the Lightning and could be determined to stay put for the duration.
The Lightning are believed to be Tarasenko’s top preference but they’re already well over the salary cap for next season. The Rangers are an option but GM Chris Drury might want to move Chris Kreider in the deal. That could prove difficult, in part because of the winger’s no-movement clause.
Rutherford thinks the Islanders could also be a possible landing spot. However, they might not be willing to part with defenseman Noah Dobson. The Bruins could be unwilling to give up a first-round pick while the Flyers might not give up prospect Morgan Frost. There’s also speculation about a one-for-one swap with the Capitals for Evgeny Kuznetsov but he’s had off-ice issues and carries a $7.8 million cap hit for four more seasons.
It’s believed the Blues have an interest in Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk. However, the Flames aren’t on Tarasenko’s list. The Flames aren’t looking to move Tkachuk this summer but Rutherford speculates they might be forced to next summer if he doesn’t want to sign a long-term deal with the Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of interesting stuff here. The Rangers’ focus could be more on Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. The Islanders have limited cap space and are trying to free up room to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin. Not saying they couldn’t use a scorer like Tarasenko but they’ll have to make room by perhaps moving out a forward such as Jordan Eberle.
The Golden Knights are more interested in shoring up their depth at center. The Bruins’ focus is on improving the left side of their blueline and re-signing Taylor Hall and perhaps Tuukka Rask and David Krejci. The Flyers are focused on adding a top-pairing right-side defenseman such as Columbus’ Seth Jones or Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton.
It’ll take quite a display of salary-cap gymnastics by the Lightning to squeeze Tarasenko into their limited payroll for next season. Kuznetsov’s personal baggage and cap hit screams “buyer, beware!” The Panthers could use a reliable right-side scorer but GM Bill Zito might prefer the Blues retain some salary in a Tarasenko deal.
I’m not suggesting Tarasenko won’t be traded. However, his injury history and $7.5 million AAV for the next two seasons make it tough to find a suitable deal.
UPDATES ON THE FLAMES, ISLANDERS AND FLYERS
SPORTSNET: Eric Francis reports Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving quashed a recent rumor suggesting winger Matthew Tkachuk wanted out of Calgary. “There’s nothing to it,” said Treliving. He’s also touched base with other clubs to gauge interest in several of his players coming off disappointing seasons.
Contract extension talks have begun between Treliving and the agent for Johnny Gaudreau. The winger’s limited no-trade clause kicks in on July 28, prompting some to suggest he’d have to be moved before then if a new deal cannot be reached.
Team captain Mark Giordano appears a prime candidate to be snapped up by the Seattle Kraken in next week’s expansion draft. The Flames could leave him unprotected. Discussions between Giordano and Treliving on the subject are continuing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giordano, 37, has a year remaining on his contract. He could be exposed if Treliving opts to protect just three defensemen as expected. Perhaps Treliving is working on a side deal with the Kraken to have them pass over Giordano for someone else on the Flames’ unprotected list.
DAILY FACEOFF: Cam Lewis cited The Athletic’s Arthur Staple recently reporting two league sources said the New York Islanders are shopping Nick Leddy. They’re hoping to get something for the 30-year-old defenseman rather than lose him in next week’s expansion draft to the Kraken for nothing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leddy still has some value as a second-pairing defenseman. His cap hit ($5.5 million), however, could make it difficult to find a suitable trade partner.
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Sam Carchidi reports Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher is willing to trade his first-round pick (13th overall) in this year’s draft if it’ll fetch a player who can help the club over the long term.
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).
Portzline brought up the Erik Karlsson trade in 2018 as a possible comparable. While Jones is a better all-around defenseman, Karlsson had a more impressive career at that point with two Norris Trophies on his resume. He anticipates the Jackets will get a smaller return for Jones than what the Senators got for Karlsson.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now cited a league source claiming the Toronto Maple Leafs were among the clubs interested in Jones from the beginning. He also believes Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman could be up to something.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Jones could also be interested in going to a team where he can play a leadership role. He could get that opportunity on teams like the Blackhawks, Kings and Flyers where there could be a turnover in veteran leadership in the next couple of years as contracts expire.
The Leafs could’ve kicked tires on Jones. I doubt they have sufficient cap room to sign him to a long-term contract extension or sufficient resources to outbid the clubs listed by Portzline.
With plenty of cap space and depth in draft picks and prospects, the Red Wings have the assets to make a competitive bid for Jones. However, they could also be on the blueliner’s 10-team no-trade list. The Wings could certainly use someone like Jones but he might not be keen to join a team still in the midst of a rebuild.
UPDATES ON THE ISLANDERS, RANGERS AND RED WINGS
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently proposed the Islanders need to land a reliable scoring winger for Mathew Barzal’s line. He believes they need someone “more dynamic and reliable than (Jordan) Eberle,” who has two years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5 million. They could leave him exposed in the upcoming expansion draft but there’s no certainty the Seattle Kraken will take him.
He also wondered if they might move defenseman Nick Leddy. That would free up $5.5 million of cap space to find an upper-echelon talent to skate alongside Barzal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders need more scoring punch up front. They were 21st overall during the regular season. Eberle had four goals and 11 points in 19 playoff games this year but at 31 he doesn’t have many productive years left. As Brooks pointed out, they must improve the quality of talent on Barzal’s right side.
The Islanders could also try to move Eberle and/or Leddy simply to free up cap room to re-sign restricted free agents Ilya Sorokin, Adam Pelech and Anthony Beauvillier. Perhaps they cut a deal with the Kraken to take one or the other. Maybe they get shopped to other clubs this summer.
Brooks doesn’t think the Rangers have room on their roster to add an unrestricted free agent such as Montreal’s Phillip Danault or Tampa Bay’s Blake Coleman or Barclay Goodrow. He also doesn’t see them pursuing Toronto’s Zach Hyman because of their depth on left wing. To address the club’s deficiencies, he feels GM Chris Drury can’t add players without subtracting in two-for-one or three-for-one deals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s why the Rangers are being linked to Buffalo’s Jack Eichel and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk in the rumor mill. They have the depth in young assets to bundle into solid trade offers for an established young center or power forward. We’ll find out over the coming weeks if Drury will make that kind of move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman also has 11 picks in the 2021 draft, including two in the first round, three in the second and two in each of the following three rounds. He could draw upon them as bait for clubs looking to moving a blueliner leading up to the draft weekend (July 23-24).
Could the Ducks trade Ryan Getzlaf? How will the Islanders free up cap space for Mathew Barzal? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reported Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray has been working the phones trying to get cap compliant for 2020-21 and leave some wiggle room during the season. The Ducks are above the $81.5 million salary cap by nearly $930K.
Could the Anaheim Ducks consider trading captain Ryan Getzlaf? (NHL Images)
Wingers Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg have come up in the rumor mill, but Murphy wonders if the Ducks would consider moving Ryan Getzlaf. A source told Murphy that three teams looked into the availability of the long-time Ducks captain. The 35-year-old center is entering the final season of his contract with an $8.25 million cap hit and a full no-movement clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible and Murray could be considering all his options. However, the Ducks GM might not have to go the trade route to become cap compliant.
Center Ryan Kesler could remain on long-term injury reserve if he’s still sidelined by a nagging hip injury. That would enable the Ducks to exceed the cap limited by the equivalent of his $6.875 million annual average value for 2020-21.
Trading a veteran like Getzlaf (if he agrees), Rakell or Silfverberg is an option. However, that could be based more on their performance in the coming season and where the Ducks are in the standings leading up to the 2021 trade deadline.
Murphy also reported the New York Islanders only have around $3 million in salary-cap space and must find more in order to sign first-line center Mathew Barzal. Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello was reportedly attempting to trade defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy but couldn’t find any takers in part because of their salaries.
Murphy wondered if Lamoriello might try moving a forward instead. A source suggested Josh Bailey as an option. He’s owed $5 million annually for the next three seasons but could be a fit on a young club with salary cap room like Detroit or Ottawa.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello would probably find more takers for Bailey than for Boychuk or Leddy. The 31-year-old winger is a versatile two-way forward who can skate on either wing and netted 40-plus points in five of the last six seasons. He played a key role in their run to the 2020 Eastern Conference Final with 20 points in 22 games.
Those traits, however, also make Bailey a valuable member of the Islanders. I think the Isles GM will instead consider other trade options.
How will the Islanders find cap space to sign Mathew Barzal? How will the Blue Jackets replace sidelined Gustav Nyquist? Check out the latest in the NHL rumor mill.
ISLES MUST SHED SALARY TO SIGN BARZAL
NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports the Islanders have around $3.9 million in salary-cap space with center Mathew Barzal still to sign. General manager Lou Lamoriello will also find it challenging to bring back unrestricted free agents Matt Martin and Andy Greene and to add goaltender Cory Schneider.
Don’t expect the New York Islanders to buy out Jordan Eberle to alleviate their cap crunch (NHL Images).
Pulock filing for arbitration provides the Isles with a second buyout window that opens for 24 hours on Friday. However, they can only buy out a player earning an annual average value of over $4 million, ruling out Leo Komarov and Thomas Hickey as options.
Lamoriello could attempt another cost-cutting trade. It’ll be difficult to find takers for Johnny Boychuk ($6 million AAV) or Andrew Ladd ($5 million AAV) in this economic climate.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin indicates buying out Boychuk or Ladd won’t provide much immediate relief. The way their salaries are structured, a Boychuk buyout would give the Isles $833K in savings for 2020-21 while Ladd’s would be over $666K.
Larkin wondered if Lamoriello could place a player like Ladd on long-term injury reserve. Failing that, he’ll have to dump another salary via trade.
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple also weighed in on the Islanders’ options. He indicates Martin, Greene and Schneider already have agreed-upon deals with the club but they’re being kept off the books for now in case Barzal signs an offer sheet.
Lamoriello could take a drastic step like buying out Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey or Nick Leddy but Staple doubts he’ll go that far. He also doubts Barzal will get $10 million annually from the Isles unless Lamoriello can find a taker for Boychuk and at least one other contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple believes Lamoriello will have to get creative given how the trade market has dried up and the complications of going the LTIR route. He has a well-earned reputation for creativity when it comes to finding wiggle room under the cap, but this situation will still be a significant challenge.
Leddy has surfaced as a trade candidate. He’s under 30, doesn’t have a long injury history like Boychuk and Ladd, lacks no-trade protection and carries an annual cap hit of $5.5 million. With Devon Toews shipped to Colorado last month in a cost-cutting deal, it’s unlikely Lamoriello parts with Leddy now.
He could try to move Komarov ($3 million AAV through 2021-22, seven-team no-trade list) and Hickey ($2.5 million AAV, lacks no-trade protection. Both could be easier to move than Boychuk and Ladd, though it will still be challenging drumming up interest for either guy.
HOW WILL THE JACKETS REPLACE NYQUIST?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell wonders if the Columbus Blue Jackets might pursue Mike Hoffman now that winger Gustav Nyquist is sidelined five-to-six months following shoulder surgery. Losing Nyquist is a big blow for the low-scoring Jackets, who still haven’t suitably replaced the offense lost when Artemi Panarin departed via free agency to the New York Rangers last year.
Larkin acknowledged adding Hoffman won’t make the Jackets a Stanley Cup contender, but it would provide a much-needed injection of offense. He’s the type of player who can score given the opportunity at five-on-five or on the power play, which he’ll certainly get with the Jackets.
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen isn’t a big fan of free agency. Instead, he’s expected to continue to play the waiting game with the handful of cap-strapped NHL clubs in the hope one of them will be willing to trade away a quality player on the cheap.
Portzline also examined internal options for the Jackets. They could slide Nick Foligno or Boone Jenner into left wing on the second line. Nyquist’s absence could also create an opportunity for rookie Liam Foudy to skate on the third line with Mikko Koivu and either Foligno or Jenner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets still have to sign first-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois. With over $12 million in cap space, however, they’ve got sufficient room to do that and to find a suitable short-term replacement for Nyquist.
Hoffman is the best choice in the UFA market. He’d prefer a long-term contract but recent reports indicated he’d accept a one-year deal worth $6 million. That’s probably too rich for Kekalainen’s blood. He could be keeping an eye on the Lightning to see if he can land Tyler Johnson or Alex Killorn.
As with his efforts to sign Dubois, Kekalainen can afford to remain patient. He might not move on finding Nyquist’s replacement until training camp, which could be at least two months away.
The latest Islanders and Coyotes speculation plus an update on Jesse Puljujarvi in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Before the New York Islanders facing the New York Rangers in yesterday’s exhibition game, Arthur Staple took questions from Isles fans in a live chat.
New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).
Asked about possible cost-cutting measures for the cap-strapped club, Staple doubts anyone will trade for Semyon Varlamov. The goaltender has three years left on his contract with an annual average value of $5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple indicted former Isles goalie Robin Lehner would be available via free agency for perhaps the same price. Unless general manager Lou Lamoriello is willing to include a sweetener, I don’t see Varlamov being moved. They plan to let Thomas Greiss depart via free agency and have Varlamov tutor promising Ilya Sorokin.
Staple suggests Nick Leddy could be the Islanders’ best trade chip. The defenseman has two years remaining on his contract with an AAV of $5.5 million. Others could include blueliner Johnny Boychuk and perhaps Josh Bailey. He felt they would have to include a first-round pick if they hope to move winger Andrew Ladd.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd was almost moved to Minnesota for Zach Parise at the trade deadline but that deal fell through. Given the new economic landscape, I doubt they’ll revisit that plan.
Leddy lacks no-trade protection and has a reasonable cap hit but his actual salary could be a sticking point. It rises to $6.5 million next season and $7 million in 2021-22. Injuries are taking a toll on Boychuk, who has a modified no-trade clause and a $6 million AAV through 2021-22. Bailey’s AAV is $5 million through 2023-24.
Staples doesn’t expect a rival club attempting to sign Mathew Barzal to an offer sheet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never, but it’ll have to be a monstrous offer to make Lamoriello walk away. It’s possible but unlikely, and Lamoriello will do everything he can to match it.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy wondered what’s in store for the Arizona Coyotes under interim GM Steve Sullivan. His most pressing matter is re-signing Taylor Hall before the winger becomes eligible for unrestricted free-agent status at the season’s end.
Kennedy speculates Hall could test the market before deciding what to do. Sullivan and the Coyotes’ ownership must decide if re-signing the 28-year-old winger to an expensive, long-term deal is in their best interests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll take a heckuva sell job on Sullivan’s part to convince Hall to stay, especially if they get eliminated from their upcoming qualifying-round series by the Nashville Predators.
Cap Friendly indicates they have over $79.9 million invested in 17 players next season. They’ll get $5.275 million in cap relief by placing all-but-retired Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve, but that’s not enough to re-sign Hall and fill out the rest of the roster.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples observed a report out of Finland suggesting winger Jesse Puljujarvi indicated he recently had a “good and constructive” conference call with Oilers GM Ken Holland and coach Dave Tippett. The young winger isn’t ruling out returning to the club next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A restricted free agent, Puljujarvi spent this season playing in Finland hoping the Oilers would honor a trade request. Holland didn’t budge, leaving the young forward to re-examine his position.
Puljujarvi wants to return to the NHL and it appears he’s accepted his share of the responsibility for his poor play. However, we still have to wait and see if this means he’ll be returning to the Oilers next season.