In today’s NHL rumor rundown there is news on the New Jersey Devils and how close they might be to a deal with Will Butcher, the Washington Capitals have two big stars looking for two big contracts, Ben Hutton is drawing interest from a number of teams even though the Vancouver Canucks have moved on and, is Mikko Rantanen considering the KHL?
Devils and Butcher Working on 6-Yr Deal?
Mike Morreale at NHLdotcom thinks the New Jersey Devils could be looking at a six-year deal at around $4.5 million for restricted free agent defenseman Will Butcher. That would remove three years of Butcher’s unrestricted free agency years which is why he might be seeking more than $5 million per season.
Morreale notes that Damon Severson got a six-year deal back in 2017 for $4.16 million per season as somewhat of a comparable.
No Updates on Capitals and Two Big Star Players
J.J. Regan NBC Sports Washington notes Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby are likely each looking for one more big contract. That said, they may be on two very different paths.
Regan notes there have been no contract talk updates and it’s likely both will enter this season without an extension in place. This adds a bit of risk for both sides should an injury or poor showing start off the 2019-20 campaign.
Backstrom will be looking for a raise from his $6.7 million per season salary and will probably get re-signed. Six consecutive 70-plus point seasons make re-signing him at 31 a no-brainer. The question is, how long of a term should he get? Conversely, Holtby might be a trade candidate considering the Caps have a good young prospect coming and Holtby just saw what Sergei Bobrovsky got paid.
Ben Hutton Drawing Interest
Luke Fox of Sportsnet reports that there is “strong interest from multiple teams” in former Canucks’ defenseman Ben Hutton, even if the rush of free agency has already come and gone.
Hutton, a left-handed defenseman, has averaged over 20 minutes a night through his four-year career and last season hovered around the 22:21 per game mark. At the same time, he’s a -75 over that time which might be a product of being on a bad team and could scare some teams off.
Vancouver worked on shoring up their defense this summer and, as a result, Hutton wasn’t part of the future plans for the Canucks. If there is a team looking for a depth defender, he might be an option.
Is Mikko Rantanen Considering the KHL?
Igor Eronko is reporting a rumor that the Ak Bars of the KHL might be willing to offer Mikko Rantanen a one-year contract at $4 million. With the tax rate at only 13 percent and no escrow, plus no real action happening from the Avalanche side of things, there are whispers Rantanen might be considering things.
Aivis Kalnins did partially shoot down those rumors on July 20th when he said:
“Although there is a rumor that Mikko Rantanen could be headed to AkBars of the KHL due to him and Avalanche being “far away” in their negotiations GM of the KHL club says that they haven’t even spoken about a potential move to the KHL.”
It is unlikely Rantanen would jump to the KHL if an NHL deal is there and an NHL deal will be there. It might just take the Avalanche being the first time to get to talking with their big-name restricted free agent.
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.”