In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on the type of contract the Edmonton Oilers might offer Ethan Bear, news on Jake DeBrusk not taking a hometown discount to stay with the Boston Bruins, the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to sign a top defensive prospect, and other top prospects have a small window to sign with their NHL clubs.
Plus, the NHL has adjusted the recapture penalties clause under the new CBA which gives some serious relief to teams like Nashville and Minnesota.
Oilers to Offer Ethan Bear One-Year Deal?
According to Bob Stauffer, the Edmonton Oilers might offer a short-term deal to defenseman Ethan Bear. The number would likely fall between $1 and $2 million for the season. He writes:
Have had queries on Ethan Bear’s contract status. Bear has taken a massive step forward but does not have arbitration rights. Anthony DeAngelo (NYR) was in a similar situation last summer. Could see Bear get a 1-year deal and then sign long-term. Excellent 5th round pick!
Bruins Could Lose DeBrusk
The Bruins have about $18 million to re-sign free agents Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, Anders Bjork, Torey Krug, and Zdeno Chara. Finding room for both Krug and DeBrusk could be difficult, especially if DeBrusk sees himself as a $6 million forward.
DeBrusk’s agent, Rick Valette, was on Stauffer’s Oilers Now radio show out of Edmonton, and it doesn’t sound like DeBrusk is ready to take a hometown discount, despite news of a flat salary cap. “I don’t really consider that at this point. Will it play into it? Maybe,” said Valette.
DeBrusk and his agent don’t view the internal structure built by Boston as something that affects DeBrusk’s negotiations. Just because Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand all make under $7 million per season, doesn’t mean DeBrusk will lower his ask. “Boston certainly has some internal things that they like to look at, but I’m going to try to not look at that. I guess that’s the way I would say it to you.”
The only thing that might keep DeBrusk on a lower annual average salary is a playoff struggle. If he plays well, he could easily ask for more than $5 million per season.
Blackhawks to Sign Kalynuk
The Chicago Blackhawks are likely going to be adding another interesting defensive prospect in Wyatt Kalynuk who Mark Lazerus of The Athletic reports they will sign to an entry-level contract.
Kalynuk became an unrestricted free agent last month after failing to reach an agreement with the Philadelphia Flyers. Lazerus writes:
Kalynuk decided to forgo his senior season at Wisconsin, and the Flyers failed to sign him during their window of exclusivity, making him a free agent.
“At this point, Wyatt thinks right now it’s better for him to turn pro, and I support that,” Wisconsin coach Tony Granato told the Wisconsin State Journal. “source – ‘Blackhawks add slick-skating Wisconsin defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk to the mix’ Mark Lazerus – The Athletic – 07/06/2020
Short Window for Unsigned Prospects
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, top prospects like Alexander Romanov (Montreal Canadiens), Kiril Kaprizov (Minnesota Wild) and Ilya Sorokin (New York Islanders) can sign in the NHL once the CBA is ratified but they cannot join their news teams until the 2020-21 season. This gives their respective teams a short window to sign and burn a year off their entry-level deals.
Getting to burn the 2019-20 season off their deals is a huge plus for these prospects but they won’t get to play. It will be interesting to see if a player like Kaprizov chooses to sign or head back to the KHL.
New Recapture Penalties Rule
Under the old CBA, teams were dinged substantial penalties if a player with a front-loaded contract retired before its expiration. Under the new CBA, that penalty cannot eclipse the original contract’s cap hit in a single year. Roberto Luongo’s contract is an example for the Vancouver Canucks, who has been costing the Canucks an extra $3 million per season since he retired.
Basically, the best example of where this could come into play is with Shea Weber’s contract. The Nashville Predators, could have potentially faced a $24.6MM cap charge if Weber had retired just before the 2025-26 season. Under the new rules, the most the Predators could be hit with is the $7.86 million cap hit he carries. It would be spread out over several years as the entire penalty must still be paid eventually.
The Minnesota Wild were another team where this would caused major issues as both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise had hefty deals as well. $88MM of the initial $98MM guarantee by the end of next season.
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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.”