In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of New York where the Islanders may need to close the gap with goaltender Robin Lehner, the Columbus Blue Jackets are interested in Mats Zuccarello but how long a deal is too long, and the Boston Bruins have their eyes on keeping Marcus Johansson.
Lehner Making Other Plans?
Arthur Staple of The Athletic reports that there is a substantial gap in what the New York Islanders are offering goaltender Robin Lehner and what the 27-year-old star netminder is willing to accept.
A fantastic season that saw Lehner post a 2.13 GAA with a .930 SV% and be the top reason for the success of the Islanders this season, he’s going to get paid but GM Lou Lamoriello is only offering a deal around $5 million per season.
Craig Custance noted earlier this week, anything under $5 million per was likely a non-starter for Lehner’s camp.
If the Isles are ready to move on from Lehner, it could mean the big UFA goalie target is in their sights. Sergei Bobrovsky was reportedly in New York earlier this week, along with fellow coveted UFA Artemi Panarin.source – ‘Still far apart in contract talks with the Islanders, Robin Lehner’s future appears to be elsewhere’ – The Athletic – Arthur Staple – 06/27/2019
Staple says the Islanders know the options are precious few for a goalie of Lehner’s caliber who wants something long-term. The Islanders would be wise not to close the door on negotiations and possibly circle back if they strike out with other options.
Florida’s Backup Plan?
Mike DiPasquale reports Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon has said that he’s hopeful that he can make Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin offers that they can’t refuse but George Richards of The Athletic and Miami Herald assumes Plan B is Robin Lehner.
Related: NHL Rumors: Islanders and Marner, Gardiner, Oilers, Sharks, More
Zuccarello Wants a Five-Year Deal
According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, winger Mats Zuccarello is believed to be seeking a five-year deal. While the Dallas Stars would like to keep him and Zuccarello has said he’d be interested in staying, he’s now on the radar the Columbus Blue Jackets who are sure to lose a good chunk of their offense this free agency period.
Zuccarello has averaged 56 points per season in the past five years and should receive a big bump from his $4.5 million contract but the question is, ‘how long should a team sign Zuccarello for?’
It shouldn’t shock people if he’s a $6.5 – $7 million player come July 1 but five years may be too many since he’s now 31 years old.
Related: NHL Rumors: Oilers, Maple Leafs, Simmonds, More
Boston Bruins Still In On Marcus Johansson
David Pagnotta reports the Boston Bruins are still interested in re-signing Marcus Johansson. Johansson only played in 10 games for Boston during the regular season because of an upper-body injury, but he was often the best player on the ice for the Bruins during the playoffs.
There is news that several teams are also seriously interested and as an unrestricted free agent that will likely be looking to cash in, his new deal may be worth much more than the Bruins can afford.
Thomas Vanek Leaving Red Wings
As per a report by Max Bultman of The Athletic, Thomas Vanek’s camp has been informed that there isn’t going to be a fit between him and the Detroit Red Wings for next season.
His 36 points in 64 games on an average of 14 minutes per game was decent numbers but his lack of speed will certainly be a factor in teams deciding whether or not he’s worth talking to.
Vanek might be a player who signs much later in free agency.