NHL Rumors: Red Wings, Sharks, Oilers, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Detroit Red Wings have been told that one of their restricted free agents would like to switch positions. How will that affect contract negotiations? The San Jose Sharks will likely keep a handful of players and lose others. Who is in that group? The Edmonton Oilers are going to a “cap careful” team, and is the NHL thinking about moving back the start of every regular season?

Fabbri to Negotiate New Contract as a Center?

Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News is reporting that there hasn’t been any discussions between Robby Fabbri of the Detroit Red Wings about a new contract. He’d like to stay and he’ll be owed a qualifying offer of $945K this offseason while eligible for salary arbitration.

Robby Fabbri Detroit Red Wings
Robby Fabbri, Detroit Red Wings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

When talks do begin, they could be interesting as Fabbri indicated he’d like to be considered for the center position instead of being a winger. He noted:

“I was a center all the way up to my first year in the league,” Fabbri said. “Center is my natural position. I’ve always enjoyed the responsibility. I did that for most of my life. It was nice to get back to it and play a few games; it was fun.

source-‘Restricted free agent Robby Fabbri ‘couldn’t be happier’ with Red Wings, wants to stay’ – Ted Kulfan – The Detroit News – 06/03/2020

The Red Wings used him in that role and he was able be more productive for the Wings than when he played in St. Louis. Centers are typically more valuable in free agency than wingers although it’s not clear if Fabbri is thinking that for this contract negotiation or not.

NHL Regular Season to Be Permanently Moved?

Mike Chambers of the Denver Post writes that sources have told him the NHL isn’t opposed to potentially moving the start of the regular season to November, December — or even January.

He writes:

The league likes the idea of growing the game after the NFL and NBA seasons are complete and when baseball is traditionally the only major sport in-season. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, that’s the plan to complete the 2019-20 season, and, according to former Avalanche general manager Francois Giguere, the league probably won’t begin the 2020-21 season until 2021 when it is allowed to have fans in attendance.

source – ‘Chambers: NHL’s summer-long Stanley Cup playoffs this year could become permanent’ – Mike Chambers – Denver Post – 06/06/2020

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Stanley Cup playoffs for this season and next could be played through the summer and the NHL is watching to see if it works out well. Should it, they may not change things back.

Related: Steve Yzerman, The Captain

Who Will San Jose Sharks Keep Around?

Kevin Kurz of The Athletic took a look at some of the possible names the San Jose Sharks may look at extending on new contracts. Among them are Melker Karlsson, Joe Thornton, and Stefan Noesen.

Kurz believes there is mutual interest between Karlsson and the Sharks about signing an extension according to his agent, while the 41-year old Thornton wants to keep playing.

Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Kurz writes of the likelihood Thornton stays:

Whether Thornton returns to the Sharks could depend on if he believes the team can contend. If the Sharks make just a few minor moves without adding (or subtracting) anyone of significance, perhaps Thornton figures that he’s better off on a team that’s truly positioned to challenge for a Stanley Cup. It’s not hard to imagine a contending team taking a shot on Thornton to come in and be a fourth-line center and second power-play unit guy on a reduced salary, especially considering the cap will probably not be rising next season.

source – ‘Sharks free agents: Who should stay, and who has played his last game in teal?’ Kevin Kurz – 06/05/2020

Of the players Kurz does not expect to be back, Tim Heed, Aaron Dell, Dalton Prout, and Jonny Brodzinski are at the top of the list.

Related: Worst Trades in Oilers’ History

Oilers To Be “Cap Careful”

Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal took a look at nine items the Edmonton Oilers might be thinking about as the NHL heads into Phase 2, a possible return to play, and next season. Among them is the contract of defenseman Ethan Bear.

Leavins writes:

I expect Ethan Bear will be another example of the hockey club being “cap careful”. Despite a strong rookie campaign, I believe Bear will almost certainly be offered a 1-year qualifier. With no arbitration rights, it would strictly be a business decision to help keep the club beneath the cap. I do see Bear as part of the future and there will be more room to move financially for him next season. But short-term…it’s tight and tough.

source – ‘As the Edmonton Oilers prepare for a Stanley Cup run, one of it’s best-known voices has already landed on top: 9 Things’ – Kurt Leavins – Edmonton Journal – 06/06/2020

Leavins also writes that he expects the Oilers to retain Tyler Ennis and that if they do re-sign him, expect that to come in somewhere between $800 and $1 million.

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