NHL Rumor Mill – December 23, 2019
The latest on Nicklas Backstrom, Craig Anderson and Lias Andersson in today’s NHL rumor mill.
CONTRACT TERM A STICKING POINT IN BACKSTROM CONTRACT TALKS
THE WASHINGTON POST: Samantha Pell reports a source claims contract term, not money, is a sticking point in negotiations between Capitals management and Nicklas Backstrom. The center is meeting directly with general manager Brian MacLellan to discuss a new deal.
Backstrom would prefer a five-year contract to avoid another negotiation soon. The Capitals prefer a three-year deal, extending Backstrom through the season when he turns 35.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom is 32 and in the final season of a 10-year, $67-million contract. With 27 points in 29 games, he’s on pace for 68 points in 74 games this season.
While still productive, Backstrom’s at a point in his career when his performance will eventually decline. Perhaps the two sides agree to a four-year deal if Backstrom accepts an annual cap hit of $6 million per season.
ANDERSON TO THE PANTHERS?
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren speculates the Florida Panthers could become a trade destination for Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. The netminder’s Florida home is just 15 minutes from the Panthers arena. He also spent parts of three seasons with them earlier in his career.
Warren indicates the Panthers are using prospect Chris Driedger is serving as a backup for Sergei Bobrovsky. He acknowledges their limited salary-cap space could be a stumbling block. They have around 900K available while Anderson carries a $4.5-million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers could be in the market for an experienced, reliable backup for Bobrovsky. Unless they shed significant salary, they’ll probably prefer a more affordable, younger option than Anderson.
UPDATE ON LIAS ANDERSSON
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks chastised Lias Andersson for his recent trade request and departure from the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford. The 21-year-old winger has been suspended by the Rangers. Brooks believes Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton has been trying to trade Andersson since the winger’s demotion in November. He points out the youngster’s trade value wasn’t helped by his poor performance in Hartford.
Brooks doubts there’s much of a market for a forward who lacks speed, explosiveness and isn’t creative with the puck. He wondered if the Nashville Predators would be willing to discussion swapping Andersson for Eeli Tolvanen, a once highly touted Preds prospect who’s also struggling to crack the NHL.
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell doubts the Edmonton Oilers will take a chance on Andersson. He feels the Oilers are looking to increase their speed and pace, especially at the center position. The Rangers could seek a draft pick in return, but Mitchell thinks the Oilers will want to keep the rest of their 2020 draft stock.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors were suggesting the Oilers swap Jesse Puljujarvi for Andersson before Puljujarvi’s Dec. 1 signing deadline. The issues raised by Brooks and Mitchell could explain why that didn’t come to pass. As for an Andersson-for-Tolvanen swap with the Predators, that’s probably not high on Nashville GM David Poile’s priority list.