NHL Rumors: Stars, Sabres, Performance Bonus Rule Changes, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Dallas Stars are making front office changes, while the NHL changes rules about performance bonuses. There is news about ELC contracts being signed and those players being allowed to participate in training camp and there is buzz that the NHL is watching the Golden Knights ensuring they don’t take advantage of being exempt from the expansion draft.

Finally, what would a team need to send to Buffalo to pry Jack Eichel loose? One scribe provides a few scenarios.

Stars Change Management Team

According to Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas News, Brad Alberts will soon be installed as CEO and Team President of the Dallas Stars, replacing Jim but Lites who will transition to a chairman role. Per the team release on NHL.com, his new title will be Chairman of the Dallas Stars and Managing Director of Northland Properties Corporation, US Division.

Based on the move, it sounds like Lites is staying with the organization, just moving away from the hockey operations part of the business.

Change to Overage Bonuses

Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, there’s some good news for NHL clubs who have players who hit significant bonuses, bonuses that will affect their available salary cap for next season.

Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Teams who incur a Performance Bonus overage will be able to distribute the penalty evenly across each of the next two seasons. Friedman writes, “Very interesting: Clubs that have a Performance Bonus overage from this year will have the option to evenly distribute it between 2020-21 and 2021-22 (50% each season).”

It might not seem like much, but this will be helpful for teams that were going to be handcuffed thanks to bonuses and a flat cap. For a team like Boston, that means Zdeno Chara’s potential $1.75 million in performance bonuses could give the Bruins an extra $800K in cap this offseason. The Oilers can spread out potentially close to $2 million in Mike Smith bonuses, giving them an extra $800K to $1 million, and Dallas can spread out potentially $1.5 million for Corey Perry.

ELC Signings Can Take Part in Training Camp?

While it has been determined that unsigned players who sign entry-level deals in North America – Alex Romanov, Ilya Sorokin, Kirill Kaprizov, and others – can’t participate in 2019-2020 season, there is potentially still a bonus for signing them.

Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, it’s still possible these players would be allowed to participate in Phase 3 training camp. This is a small consolation for teams like the Minnesota Wild who are seriously considering burning a year of Kiril Kaprizov’s ELC to get him comfortable with his new teammates. Any time spent with NHL players is valuable time.

Possible Returns in Trade For Sabres Jack Eichel

Saying he believes there’s “no way in hell” the Sabres will trade 23-year-old superstar Jack Eichel, Joe DiBiase of WGR550 decided to play along with the game of ‘What would it cost to acquire Eichel in a deal?’

Buffalo Sabres Jack Eichel
Buffalo Sabres Jack Eichel (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

DiBiase believes the asking price is a young No. 1 center and something of significance, which quickly eliminates 19 of the 31 NHL clubs since they don’t have the necessary components to make that trade. He does give a few examples of deals that could work, suggesting Calgary could move Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, and a first-round pick or the Edmonton Oilers could send Connor McDavid over. The New Jersey Devils could send Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and two first-round picks or the Toronto Maple Leafs could trade Auston Matthews and Rasmus Sandin.

The trade returns are outrageous, and likely a bit skewed in Buffalo’s favor but there’s an argument they’re probably also fair when you consider what Buffalo would be giving up.

Related: How Sabres’ Legend Taro Tsujimoto Came to Be

Golden Knights Working With Teams Before Expansion Draft?

As per a report by Jesse Granger of The Athletic, the Vegas Golden Knights are being watched closely by the NHL because they are exempt from the Seattle expansion draft. Granger writes:

That means teams won’t be allowed to “park” players in Vegas and then trade for them back after the expansion draft is over. The NHL will be keeping a close eye on all transactions leading up to the expansion draft, especially those including the Golden Knights.

source – ‘Five potential Seattle expansion goalies Vegas could target via trade’ – Jess Granger- The Athletic – 07/03/2020

That doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for the Golden Knights to be smart around the expansion draft process. There will be teams willing to trade players in order to get something versus losing them in the expansion draft for nothing.

Interestingly, because teams can only protect one goaltender, this could be an opportunity for Vegas who may lose Robin Lehner in free agency (or give up on Marc-Andre Fleury in favor of Lehner).

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