In today’s rumor rundown, there is speculation the recently awarded contract to Jacob Trouba is the writing on the wall that a trade is coming that will give the Jets salary cap space and Trouba a fresh start elsewhere. There are also reports that a KHL team is interested in Mike Cammalleri, that Henrik Zetterberg may retire and that the New York Islanders aren’t worried about this coming season despite missing their best player.
Bumpy Roads Ahead for Jets and Jacob Trouba
Scott Billeck of NBC Sports is reporting the one-year, $5.5-million contract awarded to Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba may just be the beginning of a bumpy road between the player and the organization. Trouba is two years from unrestricted free agency and the club may have to go through this arbitration process again and Billeck wonders if the Jets, who are already going to have salary cap issues, might just trade Trouba instead of repeating this process.
Trouba and the Jets have a troubled history of coming to terms on contracts. They’ve yet to be able to work out a long-term deal which many have suggested means the player is looking to work his way out without asking for a trade. The Jets may know a trade is an eventual outcome but for now, speculation is they’ll hold onto to Trouba since the franchise would like to be a team that makes a Stanley Cup run in 2018-19.
If the optics of trading him later versus now change, Billeck believes the asking price could be “a comparable rostered defenseman or a very highly-touted prospect rearguard.” He mentions the New York Islanders or Detroit Red Wings as teams potentially with interest.
Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press also believes Trouba and the Jets could be in trouble. With very little room to sign a player who could earn more next season than the $5.5 million he was awarded this summer, the Jets still have to worry about Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, Joe Morrow and Laurent Brossoit who will be restricted free agents. He then adds Blake Wheeler, Brandon Tanev, Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot will be UFAs. McIntyre’s believes trading Trouba, might be best for both sides.
Consider that Laine and Wheeler could take up close to half of the salary cap available to the Jets next summer and it appears the Jets and Trouba may be looking at their final season together, assuming the Jets don’t move him sooner.
Islanders Not Worried About Season
Despite losing their best player in free agency and not replacing him, a report from Sportsnet Josh Beneteau, suggests veteran players like Johnny Boychuk and Josh Bailey aren’t worried. Beneteau writes, “I’ve already seen some people pegging us as being in the bottom. That’s just a slap in the face when I see it,” Boychuk said in an interview with Arthur Staple of The Athletic. “Our team is really good. I think we’re going to show them we are a good team.”
Both players admitted that they understand the focus of the Islanders season might be on the loss of Tavares but reminded everyone that hockey is a team game. No one player can carry an NHL franchise and no one player can destroy it. Both believe the team is in good hands with Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello, two people with hard-nosed reputations and winning resumes. So too, with Bailey, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle and 2018 Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal expected to take additional steps forward. the Islanders might be more competitive than people think.
Henrik Zetterberg Calling It a Career?
Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit Free Press on Sunday that Henrik Zetterberg has not determined if he will continue his NHL career.
“At this point I haven’t heard anything from Henrik to say that he is or is not playing,” Blashill said. Noting that Zetterberg spent the second half of last season not practicing with the team but grinding out games because he was a warrior, the stress of a bad back is going to continue to wear on the veteran so he’s deliberating not returning. General manager Ken Holland told the Red Wings website July 1 that he expects Zetterberg to play this season.
Holland said, “I’m expecting him to play. Do I have a clear green light? No, I don’t know that I’ve got a clear green light.”
Cammalleri to Russia?
A report out of Russia has Avangard Omsk coach Bob Hartley trying to recruit forward Mike Cammalleri to jump from the NHL to the KHL. The two worked together in Calgary. Cammalleri is a smart, versatile forward. He’s not going to produce at the same level he used to but his production is underrated.
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.”