In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Montreal Canadiens are waiting for a KHL prospect, the Tampa Bay Lighting will be getting a key forward back and there are six teams that could be in great shape if the NHL has a flat salary cap next season.
Montreal Waiting on Alex Romanov
Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reports that while Montreal Canadiens fans can expect top prospect Alex Romanov to sign with the team, they may have to be patient. Reports are he’s not prepared to sign his contract until he’s gotten a better understanding on what will happen to the current NHL season.
Romanov can sign after his KHL contract ends April 30, but the 20-year-old wants to make sure he doesn’t sit idle. Engels writes:
Alex Romanov won’t sign before we know what’s happening with the 19-20 season. He’ll sign once we do, but not before then. Obviously wants an opportunity to avoid an extremely long period without playing, if possible. So, if you had May 1 circled, just be patient.
Lightning to Get Stamkos Back
Joe Smith of The Athletic writes that after missing six to eight weeks due to surgery to repair a core muscle injury, Steven Stamkos will be ready to go when play resumes.
Smith quotes Stamkos when he writes:
“With the timing of all this, it was devastating at the beginning because I thought I would possibly be missing some playoff games. And the stoppage happened, and we didn’t know how long it was gonna be. So the silver lining in that was I’ll be ready when we resume. So I’ve been able to still use this time to rehab. I’ve been going to the rink … about three times a week to skate and just start feeling normal again.”source – ‘ Lightning notes: Ryan Callahan’s next chapter, a Stamkos health update and more’ – Joe Smith – The Athletic – 04/26/2020
Teams That May Take Advantage of Flat Salary Cap
Luke Fox of Sportsnet wrote a piece looking teams who are most able to take advantage of a flat salary cap this next season. While he notes the NHL might implement compliance buyouts, even if they do, some teams are poised to fare well if the cap doesn’t increase.
Fox notes six teams that he sees as having a distinct advantage:
The Ottawa Senators
The Senators have over $12 million coming off the books. This team actually needs to spend a ton of money just to hit the cap floor and ice a full roster.
The New Jersey Devils
The Devils have about $29 million in space with a few RFAs to re-sign. There are questions about who the GM will be and their strategy moving forward, but if they go for it, they have the resources to do so.
The Los Angeles Kings
The Kings have eight picks in first four-rounds of the NHL Draft and have cap space to work a number of trade scenarios.
The Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche may be the team to watch in terms of adding a big-ticket free agent. They have a group of free agents but have salary cap flexibility. They are a good team that wants to be a great team.
The Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens have extra draft picks in hand and everyone knows GM Marc Bergevin has been hoarding his cap space waiting for the right moment to spend it. They also have 14 picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, including 10 in rounds two through five. The idea is that he’ll package those picks to land a significant player.
The Columbus Blue Jackets
Finally, the Columbus Blue Jackets have most of their big tickets signed and plenty of cap space remaining. They need to take care of Pierre-Luc Dubois’ deal but shouldn’t have much trouble doing so.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”