NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week
The latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, Canucks acquire Nate Schmidt, the Islanders sign Cory Schneider and trade Devon Toews to the Avalanche, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said he will be keeping his goaltending tandem intact for next season and won’t be trading Marc-Andre Fleury. He also indicated Robin Lehner will undergo shoulder surgery but will recover in time for training camp.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury was the subject of trade speculation after Lehner got the bulk of the starts in the playoffs and signed a contract extension earlier this month. There was talk they were trying to move Fleury by getting a third team involved who would absorb part of his $7 million salary-cap hit. It was assumed he’d be moved to clear salary-cap space to sign Alex Pietrangelo, but the Golden Knights made another move (see below) to address that issue.
The coming season could be Fleury’s last in Vegas. He lacks a full no-movement clause and will likely be left unprotected in next year’s expansion draft.
THE PROVINCE: The Golden Knights found another way to shed some cap payroll after signing Pietrangelo yesterday, trading Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a third-round pick in 2022.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights shed Schmidt’s $5.95 million cap hit. They’re still above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $974K but that’s within the 10 percent allowable offseason cap overage.
The Canucks, meanwhile, find a suitable replacement for Chris Tanev, who signed with Calgary as a free agent. Schmidt is a good puck-moving defenseman who can log over 21 minutes per game and skate on the left or right side of the blueline. He’s got five years remaining on his contract, which could become a cap headache in the latter years, but he should be a welcome addition to the Canucks defense corps in the short term.
TSN: The New York Islanders signed goaltender Cory Schneider to a one-year, $700K contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles are expected to go with Semyon Varlamov and promising Ilya Sorokin as their goalie tandem next season. Schneider is an affordable insurance move in case Sorokin struggles to adjust at the NHL level.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche acquired defenseman Devon Toews from the Islanders in exchange for a second-round pick in 2021 and a second-rounder in 2022. They also re-signed defenseman Ryan Graves to a three-year, $9.5 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs were looking for a defenseman after shipping Nikita Zadorov to Chicago for Brandon Saad over the weekend. Toews, 26, is a fine replacement. Colorado GM Joe Sakic sang his praises as “a smart, two-way puck-moving defenseman” who logs over 20 minutes per game and is “excellent in transition”.
Graves’ new contract is worth an annual average value of $3.16 million. That’s a considerable raise over the $735K of his previous deal. He earned it with a career-best 26-point performance and a league-leading plus-minus of plus-40.
Speaking of the Avalanche, The Athletic’s Ryan S. Clark took to Twitter reporting preliminary contract talks have begun with captain Gabriel Landeskog. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a one-year, $3-million contract.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks signed center Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $2.25-million contract and center Lucas Wallmark to a one-year deal worth $950K.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen to a two-year, $1.45-million contract.
NEW YORK POST: Alexis Lafreniere signed a three-year entry-level contract with the New York Rangers. The 19-year-old left-winger was the first-overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
THE ATHLETIC: Bill Shea reports talks are ongoing to extend the NHL’s 10-year, $2-billion broadcast rights contract with NBC Sports that expires at the end of next season. While the league’s playoff ratings were down due to the pandemic, it still helped NBCSN have one of its best-ever third quarters. ESPN, Fox Sports and Turner Sports are also interested in the NHL’s TV and streaming business.
Sportsnet and TSN report Alex Pietrangelo has agreed to a seven-year, $61.6 million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights. The annual average value is $8.8 million. Elliotte Friedman reports the deal comes with a full no-movement clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: To the surprise of no one, the Golden Knights land the big fish in this year’s UFA pond. Pietrangelo, 30, is among the NHL’s elite defensemen who captained the St. Louis Blues to their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2019. His experience, leadership and all-around skills will provide a significant boost to their blue line.
The contract is expensive and lengthy, with an annual cap hit and a no-movement clause that could become burdensome for Vegas should Pietrangelo’s skills decline over the latter half of the deal. In the short term, however, his presence should keep the Golden Knights among the Cup contenders.
Cap Friendly reports Pietrangelo’s contract pushes the Golden Knights above the $81.5 million cap ceiling by over $6.9 million. They can sit over the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the 2020-21 season opens sometime next year.
The Golden Knights have reportedly been trying to shed salary by shopping goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury ($7 million AAV through 2021-22) and defenseman Nate Schmidt ($5.95 million AAV through 2024-25). One of them, or perhaps someone else (Jonathan Marchessault?) could be playing elsewhere when the regular season begins.
**UPDATE** The Golden Knights didn’t take long to shed some salary, trading Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2021 third-round pick.
In today’s NHL rumor mill: The Golden Knights could trade Nate Schmidt to the Panthers, the Jets are reportedly working on trading Jack Roslovic, plus the latest on Mike Hoffman and Sami Vatanen
GOLDEN KNIGHTS SHOPPING SCHMIDT TO PANTHERS?
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards cites Fox Sports’ Andy Strickland reporting the Vegas Golden Knights are in talks to trade defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Florida Panthers. The Golden Knights must shed cap space to make room for Alex Pietrangelo. He carries an annual cap hit of $5.95 million for the next four seasons.
The Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta claimed the Panthers weren’t the potential destination for Schmidt. Richards believes acquiring Schmidt would add more heat to the MacKenzie Weegar trade speculation.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont also took note of the Schmidt trade speculation. He suggested the left-hand shot would be the top candidate to pair with Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy on the Boston blue line.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are also believed to be trying to trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury but his $7 million annual cap hit through 2021-22 is proving difficult to move. Schmidt’s is more affordable but the length of that deal could be a sticking point. We’ll find out soon enough if he’s heading to Florida, Boston or another destination.
JETS SHOPPING ROSLOVIC?
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre cited two sources claiming the Jets are actively in trade discussions looking to move Jack Roslovic for a high-end defenseman, preferably a left-hand shot. Roslovic, 23, is a restricted free agent center who’s been stuck on the Jets’ bottom-six as a winger.
McIntyre said Roslovic, who’s completing his entry-level contract, has been quietly seeking a change of scenery. He noted the availability of Vegas’ Nate Schmidt but also the speculation linking the blueliner to the Panthers. McIntyre also listed the Panthers’ Weegar and the New York Islanders Nick Leddy as two players of interest to watch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic has top-six potential and could interest a number of clubs looking for a young center with upside. The Golden Knights could be reluctant to take back a player for Schmidt as they’re trying to dump salary to sign Pietrangelo. They might not be interested in Roslovic unless it’s to flip him to another club.
Mike Hoffman, top UFA goal scorer, continues to have interest from 5-6 teams but there’s an obvious overlap and impact from the Taylor Hall situation. For example, I think Nashville has kept on both Hall and Hoffman. Also I believe Florida has circled back on Hoffman.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 11, 2020
Entering the second day of the 2020 Draft, here’s a look at the latest trade and free agent speculation in the NHL rumor mill.
EKMAN-LARSSON SETS TRADE DEADLINE
THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the agent for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will stick with the Arizona Coyotes if a trade to the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks doesn’t materialize by Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t give Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong much time to hammer out a deal with the Bruins or Canucks. It could also affect what type of return he could get. Depending on how much pressure Armstrong’s getting from Coyotes ownership to move Ekman-Larsson’s contract, he could end up getting a lot less than he hoped.
Coyotes insider Craig Morgan believes Armstrong seeks a combination of draft picks and prospects for Ekman-Larsson. He cites two sources claiming Armstrong sought goalie Thatcher Demko as part of the return from the Canucks but that’s a non-starter. Morgan also noted the Bruins have two good young players in winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Brandon Carlo that could interest the Coyotes if they’re looking to do more than just shed salary and look for a brighter future down the road.
LAINE LINKED TO FLYERS
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall notes the latest trade speculation linking the Flyers to Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine but he thinks we should pump the brakes on that speculation. He believes it could cost the Flyers a good young defenseman such as Travis Sanheim or Philippe Myers or possibly a good young center off their roster or in their system. The economic uncertainty facing the league going forward could also make it difficult for the Flyers to re-sign Laine, who’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher probably inquired into Laine’s availability but he could face paying a steep price. The Jets need a second-line center and a top-four defenseman and the asking price for Laine could include one or both of those pieces. The young sniper could also seek a significant raise over his current $6.75 million cap hit.
LATEST ON STAMKOS AND JOHNSON
TSN: Pierre LeBrun acknowledged the speculation that Steven Stamkos isn’t listed among the Tampa Bay Lightning’s untouchables. However, he considers it unlikely Stamkos will be moved, citing his expensive contract (with a full no-movement clause) and his value to the Lightning as their captain.
However, the Lightning are pressing on with other possible moves. LeBrun reports Tyler Johnson’s agent has presented general manager Julien BriseBois with five or six teams he’d waive his no-trade clause for, though nothing is currently imminent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Stamkos is traded. Johnson, on the other hand, sounds more of a trade possibility now that he’s provided Bolts management with a list of preferred trade destinations. Now BriseBois has to determine if any of those teams are interested in Johnson, who has four years left on his contract with an annual average value of $5 million. The Lightning are looking to shed salary to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev.
UPDATES ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Frank Seravalli reports moving goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is the No.1 priority for the Vegas Golden Knights. GM Kelly McCrimmon is trying to shed salary and he’s been engaged with a number of teams (including the Carolina Hurricanes) to act as a third party to take on some of Fleury’s salary to facilitate a trade to another club. The Golden Knights are willing to offer up a second-round pick to that third team if they’ll eat up to half of Fleury’s salary, but Seravalli believes that price would have to be a first- and a second-round pick.
Seravalli also reported the Golden Knights had had trade talks regarding defenseman Nate Schmidt over the weekend. They could also consider moving Paul Stastny or Jonathan Marchessault.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could have an easier time moving Schmidt, Stastny or Marchessault than they would shipping out Fleury if it takes a three-way trade to do so. Trying to put together that deal would be a complicated endeavor at the best of times. It’s more difficult now under a flattened salary cap. The Golden Knights will either have to add more sweeteners or pick up part of Fleury’s salary themselves and then make another cost-cutting move involving a different player.
IN OTHER RUMORS…
LeBrun said he’s keeping an eye on Buffalo Sabres winger Wayne Simmonds, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday and is likely headed to market. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are said to be interested in Simmonds for the right price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun claimed the Canadiens were still interested in Simmonds despite the acquisition yesterday of Josh Anderson. The right price could be a one-year contract worth around $1.5 million.
Seravalli also wondered if the Columbus Blue Jackets will buy out center Alexander Wennberg before the contract buyout window closes at 5 pm ET on Thursday. A buyout would save the Blue Jackets $10.7 million in actual cash and $4.46 million in cap savings over the next three years.
THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites The Athletic’s Craig Custance reporting Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli is likely headed to the UFA market on Friday.
Hearing CHI/PIT had Matt Murray conversations and the Blackhawks had permission to discuss an extension. Things did not work out, so everyone continues examining their options.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 5, 2020