NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2020

More speculation over which Lightning player could be moved in a cost-cutting trade plus the latest on the Ducks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen examined which players the Tampa Bay Lightning could shop in a cost-cutting move. They’re above the $81.5 million salary cap by $1.904 million after re-signing defenseman Mikhail Sergachev earlier in the week, with restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak in need of new contracts.

The Lightning put winger Tyler Johnson and his $5 million salary-cap hit on waivers last month but he went unclaimed. His no-trade clause gives him some say over where he could go but there might not be a market for a 30-year-old winger with declining stats and a high cap hit for the next four years.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn could become a cost-cutting trade candidate (NHL Images).

Alex Killorn is another candidate because of his modified no-trade clause whereas other Bolts with annual average values exceeding $4 million have full no-trades. Ondrej Palat and captain Steven Stamkos have also come up in speculation but both have full no-trade protection.

Whoever the Lightning trade they won’t get back a favorable return. However, the point is to free up cap room to keep as much of their roster intact as possible.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if Tyler Johnson was a legitimate trade target for the Anaheim Ducks. While acknowledging Johnson’s had a solid NHL career, he wonders how well the 30-year-old will perform away from a deep roster like the Lightning. Given the Ducks’ own salary-cap constraints, the Bolts would have to absorb half of Johnson’s cap hit while the Ducks made a separate cost-cutting move to balance out the $2.5 million.

Stephens also suggested moving Ryan Kesler’s contract and perhaps another cap-related asset for Johnson if the center stays on long-term injury reserve during 2020-21. However, Ducks general manager Bob Murray could prefer retaining Kesler’s contract for his own LTIR purposes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson would be a tough sell that could end up costing the Lightning more than they’d like to part with in terms of a sweetener since they can’t afford to take back salary. It’ll be a tricky bit of juggling for Lightning GM Julien BriseBois.

Perhaps BriseBois could attempt to move Johnson for a permanent LTIR contract from another club thus providing sufficient wiggle room to re-sign Cirelli and Cernak and remain cap compliant. Some readers have suggested swinging a deal with the Detroit Red Wings to acquire the contract of all-but-retired center Henrik Zetterberg and his $6.083 million cap hit.

Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is the Lightning’s former GM and BriseBois’ mentor so there could be a fit there. However, Yzerman might not be keen to take on Johnson’s contract when he’s still got Frans Nielsen on his books for two more years at $5.25 million per season.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Anaheim Ducks should embrace a rebuild rather than attempting to become a playoff contender in 2020-21. If David Backes ($4.5 million) ends up on LTIR it would provide the Ducks with more salary-cap wiggle room. That could allow them to take on another team’s problem contract along with some valuable pieces for their future.

Should they go the rebuild route, team captain Ryan Getzlaf could become a valuable trade chip if the 35-year-old center is willing to waive his no-movement clause to join a contender. Getzlaf is in the final season of his contract with an $8.25 million cap hit but earning only $3 million in actual salary.

O’Brien also suggested winger Rickard Rakell and defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson as trade options. They’re in the late-20s and their contracts will expire at the end of 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Bob Murray is convinced his club can compete for a playoff berth this season. His opinion could change if the Ducks are wallowing near the basement again by the trade deadline.

Getzlaf, Rakell, Lindholm and Manson would all have considerable trade value if Murray opts to tear things down and stage a full rebuild. Backes on LTIR for the season might also be enticing to cap-strapped contenders looking to free up space for other moves.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2020

What next for the Lightning after re-signing Mikhail Sergachev? What effect will the end of Johnny Boychuk’s career have upon the Islanders’ cap space? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois remains confident he’ll get restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak under contract after re-signing defenseman Mikhail Sergachev yesterday.

Does Mikhail Sergachev’s new deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning signal a trade of Tyler Johnson is coming? (NHL Images)

Sergachev’s new contract puts the Lightning above the $81.5 million salary cap by $1.9 million. BriseBois acknowledged he’ll have to move players to free up sufficient cap space to sign Cirelli and Cernak. “There’s a lot of progress being made,” he said. “We’re working on a bunch of different fronts, there’s a lot of balls up in the air. Nothing has materialized yet.”

Smith believes the Sergachev signing suggests the Lightning GM has a move in place or in the works to clear cap space. Winger Tyler Johnson is the top trade candidate. He’s provided BriseBois with a list of eight or nine preferred trade destinations but Smith said things are quiet on the Johnson front.

Winger Alex Killorn could be another trade candidate. He’s got three years left on his contract with a $4.45 million annual average value and a modified no-trade clause.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz also listed Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat as Lightning trade options. They’ll have more trade value than Johnson and Killorn but they’re also better players. He also wonders if they’d consider moving Cirelli or another player with a big contract though neither option seems ideal.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy speculates BriseBois will likely have to package Johnson with another asset to move him and his $5 million AAV off their books.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois didn’t need to rush to sign Sergachev. Perhaps he got wind of another club thinking about signing the young blueliner to an offer sheet. That doesn’t seem to be the case if Sergachev’s comments about wanting to retire in Tampa are anything to go by.

The Lightning GM could indeed have a deal in the works to move Johnson or someone else like Killorn. I doubt he trades Gourde or Palat. He won’t want to take on additional salary in return so a sweetener like a high draft pick and/or top prospect will have to be packaged with Johnson.

It’s been a while since a notable trade was made. The last occurred on Oct. 12 when the Vegas Golden Knights shipped Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks. BriseBois could wait until confirmation for the start of this season is finally released by the league.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz looked at what’s ahead for the New York Islanders’ offseason after Johnny Boychuk announced his playing career is over because of an eye injury.

His decision clears the way for the Isles to signed restricted free agent center Mathew Barzal. The Isles have $3.9 million in cap space but can exceed the $81.5 million cap by the equivalent of Boychuk’s $6 million annual average value. It could also provide room for their rumored pending deals with winger Matt Martin, defenseman Andy Greene and goaltender Cory Schneider.

The end of Boychuk’s career is a further blow to the Islanders defense corps after trading away Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche several weeks ago in a cost-cutting move. Gretz wonders if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello would’ve made that move had he known what would happen to Boychuk.

Bringing back Greene could help their blueline and promising Noah Dobson is waiting in the wings. UFA options include Zdeno Chara, Sami Vatanen, Ben Hutton or Slater Koekkoek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The priority is signing Barzal. As Gretz points out, however, his new contract will bite deeply into that additional cap space.

Lamoriello will try to keep that as low as possible. Gretz suggests $7 million annually for Barzal would be the low end but the Isles GM could try to push that down to $6 million on a short-term deal with the promise of a bigger payday down the road.

He’ll need to keep it at the low end if he’s already got contracts lined up for Martin, Greene and Schneider. Failing that, he’ll have to consider a cost-cutting trade or burying someone like Andrew Ladd in the minors.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 28, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 28, 2020

The latest on Frederik Andersen plus an update on the Lightning and Ducks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes a strong regular season and playoffs in 2020-21 by Frederik Andersen will make him one of the highest-paid goaltenders in next year’s unrestricted free agent market despite the possibility of a flat cap for 2021-22. He wonders if that might serve as motivation for the 31-year-old Maple Leafs netminder.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (NHL Images).

Koshan also mused about the recent trade chatter surrounding Andersen might put a chip on the goalie’s shoulder in his contract year. He feels the Leafs would be loath to lose the netminder to free agency next year for nothing. Trading him, however, wouldn’t be prudent, as Koshan doubts a tandem of Jack Campbell and Aaron Dell could carry the Leafs on a deep playoff run.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t put much stock into the Andersen trade rumors. The Leafs couldn’t afford to land a suitable replacement via this year’s free-agent market and the pickings were slim in the trade market.

Andersen could be moved by the 2021 trade deadline if the Leafs are out of playoff contention by then. However, I doubt that will be the case. If Andersen carries them on a long playoff run, they’ll do all they can to retain him. If not, he’ll hit the open market and the Leafs will look to the trade and free-agent markets for a new starter.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz recently examined the Tampa Bay Lightning’s current salary-cap crunch and its effect upon their efforts to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. They have $2.895 million in cap space with only 18 players under contract. They must also re-sign defenseman Erik Cernak and add another depth defenseman and forward.

The current economic climate makes Cirelli and Sergachev tempting offer-sheet targets. However, Gretz points out how rare offer sheet signings are and the difficulty in successfully signing away either player.

Gretz noted it’s tempting to wonder what the Lightning could get for Steven Stamkos after they won the Stanley Cup while he was sidelined for all but one game. However, he doesn’t expect they’ll try to move him. He listed Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and possibly Yanni Gourde as trade candidates with Johnson the obvious after the Lightning’s efforts to move him via waivers earlier this month.

The Lightning’s current cap woes mean they’ll likely have to absorb part of Johnson’s salary or throw in a sweetener to move him. Gretz dismisses the idea of trading Cirelli or Sergachev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson has a full no-trade clause but has apparently provided an eight-team list of preferred destinations. Killorn has a 16-team no-trade list. Palat and Gourde would have to agree to waive their no-trades. It’s down to Johnson and Killorn and it’s possible both could be traded to free up sufficient cap space to address the Lightning’s needs.

While an offer sheet for Cirelli or Sergachev is still possible, I don’t believe we’ll see it. If either guy was going to sign an offer sheet it would’ve happened by now. Both players could be reluctant to go that route.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked who he saw as potential trade targets for the Anaheim Ducks. He feels they need an affordable young forward with scoring ability but those are tough to find.

The Ducks had an interest in Kasperi Kapanen before the Toronto Maple Leafs traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Stephens thinks they have a real interest in Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson but not at his full $5 million annual cap hit.

Stephens thought they might have been interested in Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen before the Canucks re-sign him. He noted Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny is on TSN’s trade-bait list but doubts the Flyers will part with him unless it’s for a player who can lead a franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Ducks will look to free agency for an affordable short-term option. Possibilities include Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Anthony Duclair or Andreas Athanasiou.










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