In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is talk about how the New York Islanders might navigate their salary cap if they go after some pricey forwards this off-season, the New York Rangers are trying to determine what defenseman Tony DeAngelo might cost to extend, and the Detroit Red Wings discuss the reason behind trading Andreas Athanasiou. And, will the Edmonton Oilers extend anyone else before season’s end?
Islanders to Look for Scoring Winger
Arthur Staple of The Athletic believes the New York Islanders will make finding a top-six scoring winger a priority this off-season and wonders if the team will re-visit the idea of acquiring Minnesota Wild foward Zach Parise?
Doing so could be a tricky task for general manager Lou Lamoriello who will have his hands full as he’s got some big contracts coming up for extension, including a new pending deal for Mathew Barzal. And, if the speculation he has interest in winger Taylor Hall is true, it’s hard to imagine he’ll have room for all three players if Hall gets somewhere around the $9 million mark per season.
Lamoriello will have to make some hard decisions on players he and [Barry] Trotz like. Leo Komarov, with two years at a $3 million cap hit, may be gone. Matt Martin, a pending free agent, may not be back. Nick Leddy, a Trotz favorite, may have to be moved to create cap space. Barzal, Pulock and Toews all need new contracts. As our James Mirtle wrote last week, the NHL’s rosy $84-88 million salary cap projections don’t seem realistic, so the Isles already being committed to $70 million on next year’s cap is troubling.source – ‘Short- and long-term fixes for the Isles, suddenly fighting for a playoff spot’ Arthur Staples – The Athletic – 03/09/2020
Related: 6 NHL Teams You Might Have Forgotten
Can Rangers Afford to Re-Sign Tony DeAngelo?
Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes that it could cost the New York Rangers as much as $5-5.5 million per season to re-sign defenseman Tony DeAngelo if it goes to arbitration this summer. DeAngelo’s 53 points this season will see him earn a sizable bump on his current salary.
The Rangers should be able to afford this but it could then lead to questions about whether or not they can afford to re-sign all of their other RFAs: Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, and Alexandar Georgiev, who also have arbitration rights.
Why the Red Wings Traded Athanasiou
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic spoke about the Detroit Red Wings decision to move Andreas Athanasiou for two second-round picks at the NHL Trade Deadline a few weeks ago. GM Steve Yzerman said it was all about getting good quality draft picks for the team’s rebuild.
Yzerman didn’t necessarily want to move Athanasiou but decided that, today, two second-round picks was too great a return to pass up and when you consider what it might cost to re-sign him, this was the best move for the organization.
LeBrun quotes Yzerman who said:
“You take it all under account. And if I’m trying to get draft picks, and/or prospects, you got to open up some of the guys that are marketable. Ultimately, we just felt like the return for the player was good. Now, if AA goes out and scores 40 goals for the Oilers next year, you know, you would argue that two second-round picks weren’t enough.source -‘LeBrun: Q&A with Steve Yzerman on timeline for Wings’ rebuild, draft strategy’ -Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 03/09/2020
Yzerman added that he can only make a decision based on the information he had at the time and felt the two second-round picks were very helpful in what the team was trying to do. So far, Athanasiou has struggled in Edmonton and with the season potentially delayed, it will be interesting to see what the Oilers try and re-sign him for after a lackluster season.
Oilers Likely Done Signing Players
Elliotte Friedman already noted in his latest 31 Thoughts post that the Oilers haven’t had talks with Mike Smith about an extension. Speculation is that they’ll wait until the off-season to talk with forward Riley Sheahan as well. There are a few other pending free agents on their books, but the team is unlikely to extend anyone until the season ends now.
The previously mentioned Athanasiou could be a tricky negotiation for GM Ken Holland that will take time, Ethan Bear is a big decision for the Oilers and a long-term versus short-term contract will be key to the blue line moving forward. Gaetann Haas and Patrick Russell may not be back and Matthew Benning is an RFA but injury concerns and the progression of younger blue line prospects could make him a trade piece this summer.
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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.”