In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of Columbus when it comes to defenseman Zach Werenski, the Tampa Bay Lightning will likely have to shed salary next summer and there are questions around the NHL as to why no restricted free agents are being signed? Speculation is that everyone is looking to Mitch Marner on that one. Finally, are the Boston Bruins looking at problems with a couple of unsigned defensemen?
Blue Jackets and Werenski on a Bridge Deal?
Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch wonders in a recent article if the Columbus Blue Jackets will look at signing restricted free agent defenseman Zach Werenski to a bridge deal or try to get him done on a longer-term deal?
Noting that Werenski doesn’t have a lot of leverage during negotiations, he’s also a top-pairing defenseman with good numbers. The Blue Jackets are certainly making him a priority and while an offer sheet isn’t likely, getting a deal done sooner than later is important.
Arace writes that negotiations appear to be going as well but also notes:
What is happening in Columbus is what is happening in other cities with big-time restricted free agents. Everyone is waiting for one of them to sign. General managers don’t want to set a bar that is perceived to be too high. Agents and members of the players union don’t want to set a bar that is perceived to be too low. The market is in stasis.source – ‘Michael Arace | NHL plays waiting game with restricted free agents, including Blue Jackets’ Zach Werenski’ – Columbus Dispatch – Michael Arace – 07/28/2019
Vasilevskiy’s Deal Could Cause Issues Next Summer
John Romano of The Tampa Bay Times writes that Andrei Vasilevskiy’s new eight-year, $76-million contract may have a big impact on the Tampa Bay Lighting roster next summer.
Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois realizes he’s probably going to have to move one of Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat or Tyler Johnson to cut salary from the roster.
Quoting BriseBois in his article, Romano writes:
“We knew eventually we’d have to make decisions, we wouldn’t be able to keep everyone we’d like. J.T. Miller is a really good example. We would have loved to keep J.T. Miller but we couldn’t keep everyone and keep everyone under the cap,” BriseBois said. “That’s just a reality of the cap system. And a year from now we’re going to have other tough decisions to make.”source -‘When is $76 million a good deal for a goaltender? When it comes with a Stanley Cup’ – Tampa Bay Times – John Romano – 07/29/2019
Everyone Waiting on Mitch Marner
It was earlier reported that the RFA market was moving slowly because people were waiting on one of the big-ticket RFA’s to set the market for everyone else. It now seems that it’s not just anyone the players are waiting on, it’s Mitch Marner.
As per an article on The Score, Sean O’Leary cites The Athletic’s Joe Smith reporting a source saying player agents waiting for Marner to set the market for their clients. While he’s just one of many big-name RFA’s still out there — others include Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point, Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen, Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine, Vancouver’s Brock Boeser, and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk — whatever Marner gets could raise or lower what the others receive.
The expectation is that Marner is going to make around $10.5 million but no agents seem to know that for certain which is why no other RFA’s have come off the board.
Carlo and McAvoy to Miss Training Camp?
Speaking of free agents, the Boston Bruins still have two important defensemen in Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo to sign and the Boston Globe’s Matt Porter suggests that fans may have to sit through not seeing them at training camp. He wonders if Boston is looking at a situation similar to the William Nylander one in Toronto last season.
Porter thinks McAvoy might be looking for Jacob Trouba-type money and could see a holdout in his future since he doesn’t have arbitration rights. Carlo could be looking for $4 million per season in a long-term deal.
Yes, this thing could drag on through Thanksgiving, as it could for any of the aforementioned young stars, none of whom have arbitration rights. For those here who want to see McAvoy and Carlo flying around on the Boston back end, it would be as frustrating as hanging around for that next train to Alewife, which should arrive . . . someday.source – ‘NHL seeing little movement on restricted free agents’ – Matt Porter – Boston Globe – 07/27/2019
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.”