NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2023
How will the impending sale of the Senators affect their offseason plans? What’s the latest on the Canadiens? Could the Predators explore this summer’s trade market? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST ON THE SENATORS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports speculation began over what changes Michael Andlauer could make to the Senators following news of his agreement in principle to purchase the club. Whatever he has in store must wait until the sale is officially completed, which could take several weeks or months.
That won’t affect the offseason plans of general manager Pierre Dorion and his staff as they prepare for the upcoming draft in Nashville (June 28-29) and the start of the free-agent period on July 1. Dorion must also consider possible trade options for restricted free-agent winger Alex DeBrincat.
DeBrincat lacks a no-trade clause but he and his agent provided the Senators with a list of preferred trade destinations. Garrioch reports the list includes his hometown Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars. He pointed out that the Panthers and Golden Knights lack the salary-cap space to make a deal for DeBrincat so there would have to be some major juggling to do that.
Garrioch also indicated that DeBrincat will receive his $9 million qualifying offer from the Senators on June 25. Dorion will have until 5 pm Monday to determine if he’ll elect arbitration in the hope of getting a 15 percent discount on that qualifying offer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s anticipated that the Senators will attempt to move DeBrincat prior to the first round (June 28) of this year’s draft. As Garrioch noted, this is the time to strike when the iron’s hot while general managers have the cap space and the willingness to spend in the trade market.
The Red Wings have plenty of cap space and need additional scoring. However, they could be seeking more of a power forward than a finesse player.
I doubt the Golden Knights and Panthers will get into the bidding. Nevertheless, their respective general managers have well-earned reputations for making significant moves.
Like the Golden Knights and Panthers, the Stars lack sufficient cap room. GM Jim Nill could be in the market for more affordable depth. Encouraged by the play of promising young players like Wyatt Johnston, he could also promote a youngster such as Mavrik Bourque.
UPDATE ON THE CANADIENS
THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu confirmed a Radio-Canada report claiming the Montreal Canadiens are attempting to move up in the 2023 first-round draft order. Currently holding the fifth-overall pick, they’ve attempted to swap picks with the fourth-overall San Jose Sharks and have contacted the Anaheim Ducks about the second-overall selection.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Basu observed that the cost of jumping to second overall would be astronomical but worth it to land a highly-touted prospect like Adam Fantilli. If this wasn’t Connor Bedard’s draft year, Fantilli would be the favorite to go first overall.
I don’t see the Habs prying that pick away from the Ducks but it doesn’t hurt to ask. The same goes for trying to get the Sharks’ pick.
Basu also reports the Canadiens will not buy out winger Mike Hoffman. The first contract buyout window for NHL teams opens today and runs until 5 pm ET on June 30. They are willing to retain half of Hoffman’s $4.5 million cap hit in a trade but that seems unlikely to happen given he didn’t produce enough to justify the cost.
The Canadiens won’t be tendering a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Denis Gurianov. However, they haven’t ruled out signing him as an unrestricted free agent to a one-year deal at a reduced rate.
They’re also interested in signing pending UFA center Sean Monahan to an affordable one-year deal to give him a chance to prove he can stay healthy and improve his value in next summer’s free-agent market.
PREDATORS EXPLORING THE TRADE MARKET
NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: Michael Gallagher reports Predators general manager Barry Trotz intends to go shopping for offensive-minded players in this summer’s trade market. He’s willing to spend as much of the club’s $15.5 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 as possible to achieve that aim.
Trotz doesn’t anticipate he’ll be a big player in this summer’s UFA market, describing it as “a little bit lean.” He also wants to add players “that fit our culture.” He’s pitched trade offers to clubs that are looking to shed salary.
Gallagher observed there are three teams (Montreal, Tampa Bay and Vancouver) with less than $1 million in cap space. He also noted there will be several others looking to move a player with a sizable cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens will garner $10.5 million in cap relief by placing all-but-retired sidelined goalie Carey Price on long-term injury reserve. Still, they’ll be open to moving out a veteran forward like Mike Hoffman to free up cap room.
Meanwhile, the Lightning will garner over $6.8 million in LTIR cap relief due to permanently sidelined defenseman Brent Seabrook.