NHL Rumor Mill – April 4, 2020
The latest on the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars in today’s NHL rumor mill.
A LOOK AT THE OILERS’ KEY FREE AGENTS
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Allan Mitchell recently examined the Edmonton Oilers’ restricted free agents and unrestricted free agents. He speculated recently-acquired Andreas Athanasiou could receive a one-year contract, but there’s a slight chance he could be traded.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reported the Oilers would like to bring back winger Anton Slepyshev. The 25-year-old winger signed with the KHL two years ago. However, he anticipated they won’t offer Slepyshev more than $1.5 million, viewing him as a bottom-six forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $70 million invested in 15 players, the Oilers could have around $11 million available if the salary cap remains at $81.5 million. Fortunately, most of those players could be affordable re-signings.
The priority signing is Ethan Bear, but he’s coming off his entry-level contract. General manager Ken Holland will likely use that leverage to ink him to an affordable bridge deal.
Athanasiou could seek a raise over his current $3 million annual average value. He’s got arbitration rights, but his poor production this season will hurt his efforts to land a more lucrative deal. It could also hurt his trade value, especially if he seeks a big pay bump.
SALARY CAP UNCERTAINTY WILL AFFECT STARS’ OFF-SEASON PLANS
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently reported the Stars will have around $19.4 million in salary-cap space if it remains at $81.5 million. They have to re-sign restricted free agents Radek Faksa, Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov, as well as re-sign or replace UFA goaltender Anton Khudobin.
With Corey Perry and Mattias Janmark due to become UFAs, DeFranks speculated the Stars will be in the market for a depth forward unless Jason Robertson or Ty Dellandrea is ready to crack the roster full-time. Defensemen Roman Polak and Andrej Sekera are also UFAs, meaning the Stars will need a depth blueliner unless Thomas Harley is ready to make the jump.
The caliber of those additions will depend on how much cap space is available to them. That could also be affected by how much performance bonus money ends up carried over into next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every NHL team will be facing similar issues during the off-season. DeFranks assumed it could cost around $12 million for the Stars to re-sign those key free agents, with probably around $3 million in performance bonuses carrying over against next season’s cap hit.
That won’t leave much for them to find suitable replacements for Perry, Janmark, Polak, and Sekera. They could be forced into the trade market or to look to within their system.