A flooded goalie market plus the latest on Taylor Hall, Tyson Barrie and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FLOODED MARKET FOR NHL GOALIES
Lots of interest in Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom as free agency nears (NHL Images).
NHL.COM: Dan Rosen reports a number of goaltenders could be on the move when the 2020 NHL free-agent market opens on Friday at noon ET. Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Chicago’s Corey Crawford, the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, Calgary’s Cam Talbot and Edmonton’s Mike Smith are among the notables. In addition, the Vegas Golden Knights are attempting to trade Marc-Andre Fleury after re-signing Robin Lehner last weekend.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Canucks are still trying to re-sign Markstrom. The Flames and Oilers could have interest if he hits the open market. LeBrun didn’t rule out the Flames circling back to Talbot.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Markstrom’s been at the top of Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland’s wish list for some time. It could cost six years at $6 million annually to get it done. Matheson believes Holland will have to find a trade partner for Mikko Koskinen and his $4.5 million annually over the next two years.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson has Markstrom at the top of his list of potential Flames’ free-agent targets.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks cites sources claiming Lundqvist will sign with the Washington Capitals on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ efforts to move Fleury are likely affected by the glut of goalies in the upcoming free-agent market. They could be forced to wait until the bigger names (Markstrom, Holtby, Lundqvist, Crawford) are off the market before finding any potential suitors. They’re reportedly attempting a three-way trade in which a third team picks up a chunk of Fleury’s cap hit, but they were only offering a second-round pick as a sweetener before the draft.
I can’t see the Oilers signing Markstrom unless they can move Koskinen. While his cap hit might be more affordable to clubs with cap space seeking goalie depth, teams will likely want something worthwhile packaged with him. The Flames, on the other hand, could get it done, though the cost to their cap space could make it difficult to re-sign or replace UFA blueliners like TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic.
It’s believed Lundqvist has a one-year agreement with the Capitals. The reason it hasn’t been announced yet is he cannot officially sign with another NHL club until the UFA market opens tomorrow. We’ll find out tomorrow if he’s heading to Washington for next season.
There’s been little word about possible suitors for Holtby. The decline in his performance over the last two years likely has something to do with that. It doesn’t mean Holtby won’t be signed but it is interesting to note that a former Vezina Trophy winner with a Stanley Cup championship on his resume hasn’t garnered much chatter in the rumor mill.
LATEST ON HALL, BARRIE, SHATTENKIRK AND SAAD
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun expects the Nashville Predators to be among the clubs to pursue Taylor Hall via free agency tomorrow. The 28-year-old winger is heading to market after he and the Coyotes failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. LeBrun also believes the Columbus Blue Jackets could be interested.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson has Hall among his list of potential Flames free-agent targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall is reportedly willing to sign a one- or two-year deal and is expected to take his time evaluating offers before reaching a decision. Cap Friendly indicates the Predators now have $17.6 million in cap space after trading Nick Bonino yesterday to Minnesota and buying out Kyle Turris and Steven Santini.
They could face competition from a Cup contender with lots of cap space like the Colorado Avalanche, who could be willing to ink Hall to a one-year deal. If the Flames sign Markstrom, they won’t have enough cap room to chase Hall.
LeBrun reports the Flames, Oilers and Anaheim Ducks could have interest in Toronto defenseman Tyson Barrie. The Ducks could also pursue Kevin Shattenkirk but he’d like to remain with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Gilbertson has Barrie at No. 4 on his list of potential Flames free-agent options.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson thinks Barrie would be atop the Oilers’ list of free-agent defensemen because he could run their powerplay if Oscar Klefbom is out for the season with a shoulder injury. However, he believes they’d only offer him a one-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Barrie’s struggles last season with the Maple Leafs, some feel he can regain his form as a puck-moving defenseman away from the harsh Toronto spotlight. We’ll find out soon enough how much interest he’ll draw as a free agent.
The Lightning would probably love to re-sign Shattenkirk. However, they’ve got limited cap space and must re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev.
LeBrun reports several clubs have contacted the Chicago Blackhawks about winger Brandon Saad. The Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche are believed among those expressing an interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad might be available if the Blackhawks need to free up some cap space to re-sign or replace Corey Crawford. He has a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $6 million but also carries a 10-team trade list.