In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is speculation the Washington Capitals might be pondering the idea of a Braden Holtby trade, there are some notable unrestricted free agents still on the market but not much action surrounding them and the New York Rangers are having trouble finding trade partners. Finally, what’s the status of Charlie McAvoy and the Boston Bruins?
Would the Capitals Really Trade Braden Holtby?
J.J. Regan of NBC Sports Washington said during a mailbag segment there is a bit of uneasiness in Washington when it comes to the future of Braden Holtby in a Washington Capitals’ jersey.
Regan notes that Sergei Bobrovsky just received $70 million from the Florida Panthers and Holtby is the same age, has better playoff numbers and has won a Stanley Cup. There’s a good chance he’ll fetch similar pay on next year’s open market and the Capitals know it.
Washington isn’t likely to shell out huge money and term to Holtby when their prospect pipeline includes Ilya Samsonov and Vitali Vanecek. So, does that mean a trade is coming? Speculation is Washington will wait to see how they do this coming season but that he’s the kind of player to keep an eye on.
Still with the Capitals, Lucas Johansen might find himself on the trade block as a high-end defensive prospect who has now been passed on the depth chart over the last couple of seasons. Regan figures Johansen could be of interest to some teams and might be made available at some point next season.
NHL UFA Updates
Luke Fox of Sportsnet provided some updates on some of the more notable unrestricted free agents still out there on the market. He says Jake Gardiner’s option to stay in Toronto likely closed when they acquired Tyson Barrie but other doors are slowly opening. The delay is his asking price of $7 million per season in this current market. Few teams can afford to give that kind of money to a player who might have back injury concerns.
Regan also touched on Joe Thornton who he expects will re-sign with San Jose. Head coach Peter Deboer has no doubt that the 40-year-old will be back in the fold next season.
The Carolina Hurricanes are still waiting on a Justin Williams decision regarding retirement and Fox labels Ben Hutton, Derick Brassard and Patrick Maroon as players who aren’t going to get the deals they want and will have to take discounts to land work.
Rangers Need to Find a Way to Make a Move
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that Brendan Smith has yielded no interest on the trade market and the team is having trouble shipping out Kevin Shattenkirk without another albatross contract coming back. So too, the Rangers have been trying to move winger Vladislav Namestnikov with no luck.
Brooks says due to a slim buyout window, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton will certainly be active in the coming days trying to free up the cap space he needs.
Bridge Deal for Bruins’ McAvoy?
NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty suggests that a bridge deal might be the best option for defenseman Charlie McAvoy. His offensive upside is huge but he’s been inconsistent and struck by a few injury issues.
Because he’s not eligible for an offer sheet, he doesn’t have much leverage and a shorter-term contract gives them more room to try and re-sign another restricted free agent on the team, Brandon Carlo.
There are a number of teams with current salary cap issues and those teams are actively trying to free up space. The problem is, not a lot of teams are willing to take on salary.
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.”