In today’s rumor rundown the Red Wings just signed Dylan Larkin while Henrik Zetterberg might be questionable for the season. Mark Stone says his new deal in Ottawa doesn’t say what most insiders are suggesting it does and Ryan Ellis is still actively working on a deal with the Nashville Predators.
Zetterberg 2018-19 Season Questionable
As Detroit Red Wings fans were celebrating a new contract for Dylan Larkin, GM Ken Holland wasn’t only delivering good news on Friday. Speaking on a conference call about Larkin’s contract, Holland told media including Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that Zetterberg is still considered questionable for the 2018-19 and has had trouble training this offseason.
Holland said, “I am anxious to know where Henrik Zetterberg is at. He’s a bit of an unknown as far as health.” He then added, he talked to Zetterberg’s agent who admitted the Red Wings star has had a tough summer and that his training hasn’t been close to on par with the training of past seasons. Essentially, Holland has his fingers crossed that Zetterberg will play.
Holland suggested that come September, he’ll know more but should Zetterberg not be able to play, it essentially solves most of the problems in terms of the Red Wings cap troubles. This, of course, doesn’t mean Holland is hoping Zetterberg can’t go but there is something positive that can come out of him not being healthy.
Mark Stone Not Necessarily Leaving Ottawa
The minute Mark Stone signed a one-year extension with the Ottawa Senators, many insiders suspected it signaled the end of his time in the organization and that he’d explore free agency next summer, likely leaving the club as other stars like Erik Karlsson and Matt Duchene may do. Stone told Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch that may not be the case.
Stone mentioned that he’s certainly open to discussing an extension when the window opens up in January:
“Everyone is looking at this and I think most fans are thinking this is pretty negative news. I think both sides left Toronto happy that we still have the opportunity to work something out. Everybody knows the way that arbitration can go sometimes and the fact that both sides were able to leave on good terms is a good sign.”
This is good news for the Senators who are facing the optics of their team being almost wiped out in terms of star players and long-term contracts with only Zach Smith, Marian Gaborik, and Bobby Ryan signed past the 2019-20 season. If Stone does stay, it signals the organization is not throwing in the towel or writing off the short-term, potentially going only with a rebuild with prospects and overpaid former stars.
Still, the idea of unrestricted free agency may be attractive for Stone who stands to make a lot of money if he has another strong season. Ottawa potentially can’t afford a hefty frontloaded contract with huge signing bonuses and Stone would have to be willing to take a value deal to stay long-term.
Ryan Ellis and Nashville Still Talking
Negotiations between the Nashville Predators and Ryan Ellis haven’t exactly been front page news this summer but reports are the two sides are having “consistent and continual negotiations” regarding a contract extension. GM David Poile told ESPN 102.5 that Ellis entering the final year of a very team-friendly deal is not lost on the organization and that Ellis is important to the team’s future. They understand his salary will likely more than double.
Currently, Ellis carries a $2.5 million cap hit and could become an unrestricted free agency in July of 2019. He’s produced three consecutive seasons of 30-plus points and two of those three seasons with double-digit goals. Should Ellis improve his numbers this season, it could be hard for the Predators to keep their very strong defensive corps together. P.K. Subban and his $9 million person season has already been the subject of trade rumors.
Matt Cullen Retiring?
NHL veteran center Matt Cullen may be leaning towards retirement after this upcoming season. In an interview with Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cullen acknowledged that he’s thinking this year will be his last. “I’m definitely going into [the 2018-19 season] thinking that this is probably it. I’m not going to formally announce anything before the season starts, but I think this probably is it.”
Cullen signed a one-year with the Penguins this summer. With only 22 points in 79 games, unless he has a big bounce-back season, he’s unlikely to be offered a contract by another team anyway. This year’s deal was worth an NHL league minimum.
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.”