In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are updates on the Calgary Flames’ Sam Bennett, the Dallas Stars considering buying out a forward with some potentially strong upside, what’s happening with Pittsburgh and Phil Kessel and the Vegas Golden Knights trying to move salary.
Offer Sheet for Bennett
Eric Francis of Sportsnet suggested that people shouldn’t be surprised if an NHL team considers an offer sheet for Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett.
Calgary has about $14.5 million in cap space and re-signing Bennett, who is arbitration eligible, requires a $2.14 million offer from the Flames. Other teams may look at Matthew Tkachuk’s upcoming deal and see an opening for Bennett.
Francis also thinks the Flames may clear out some salary with candidates being T.J. Brodie and/or Michael Frolik. Francis says there is a chance Michael Stone could also be bought out.
Stars Considering a Nichushkin Buyout?
SportsDay’s Matthew DeFranks writes that the Dallas Stars are looking at whether or not to buy out forward Valeri Nichushkin. Once considered a top prospect, the Stars have to be worried after he failed to score a goal in 57 games this past season if they made a mistake signing him to a two-year $5.9 million contract.
At the kind of money Nichushkin is being paid, the Stars may decide he doesn’t overtake forwards like Brett Ritchie or Mattias Janmark in the bottom-six and they may feel it’s better to allow Nichushkin to leave and return to the KHL.
Pittsburgh Facing Kessel Dilemma
Now that it appears any deal to move Phil Kessel to Minnesota seems dead in the water (speculation is Kessel wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to join the Wild), the Penguins have a bit of a dilemma on their hands.
The Athletic’s Rob Rossi writes that Jim Rutherford, Penguins GM, wanted to ship Kessel’s contract out right away so that he could get down to the business of reshaping his team. That would mean putting a new contract in the lap of Matt Murray and getting Evgeni Malkin and the team back on the same page. Kessel exercising his contract rights slows everything down.
It’s now looking as though Rutherford’s plan is in limbo. And it seems like Rutherford isn’t holding either end of the limbo stick, either, but rather trying to maneuver his way under it.source – ‘What the Phil Kessel trade delay means for the Penguins’ offseason’ – Rob Rossi – The Athletic – 05/25/2019
Another problem for Rutherford is that it never helps when every other NHL team knows you’re trying to move a player. They won’t offer fair value and that prolongs a trade when teams are waiting for you to cave on your asking price.
Anders Lee Next in New York
The New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis writes that with center Brock Nelson now locked into a six-year, $36 million deal, the New York Islanders will shift their focus to captain Anders Lee.
Speculation is that Lee wants a seven-year deal at $7 million per season, which may be beyond what general manager Lou Lamoriello is willing to spend. The problem is, what happens if you let him walk?
Vegas To Move on David Clarkson?
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, in his 31 Thoughts column, writes that the Vegas Golden Knights are likely going to try and move the contract of David Clarkson.
Already a team with a bit of a cap crunch, taking on a number of expensive deals in the expansion draft could hurt so they might seek out a team willing to grab Clarkson’s $5.25 million cap hit. What might help is that this is more a cap hit issue for the team who takes him on and not an actual dollars and cents issue since Clarkson is only going to be paid $3.25 million in cash.
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.”