NHL Rumors: Faulk, Bobrovsky, Josi, More

In today’s rumor rundown, there are rumblings the Toronto Maple Leafs might have interest in defenseman Justin Faulk, the New York Islanders would jump all over acquiring Sergei Bobrovsky if given a chance and Roman Josi is willing to keep Nashville’s blueline together when his contract comes up for renewal, even if that means making less money.

Roman Josi Willing to Take Discount

While Ryan Ellis didn’t come right out and say he took a hometown discount to stay in Nashville, most believe that’s exactly what he did and for the Predators, it could be the start of a trend.  Ellis’ eight-year, $50 million contract extension earlier this summer caught the attention of fellow blueliner Roman Josi, who said what Ellis did was the right thing.

Roman Josi Predators
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators Oct. 19, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In an article by Adam Vingan on The Athletic, Josi said:

“We’ve got a great group, great core here, and we’ve been together for a long time. Everybody was kind of on their (entry-level contracts), their first deals. And now everybody gets to be on their second deal and third deal. Whatever Ryan did was the right mindset. You’ve got to make sure we can keep that core together. For that (to happen), you’ve got to do your part, too.”

source – “Will Roman Josi follow Ryan Ellis’ lead in contract negotiations with Predators?” – Adam Vingan- The Athletic – 09/21/2018

Currently, Josi is a fantastic bargain at $4 million per season through 2019-20.  He’s bound to get a sizeable raise but if the team can keep it so that he works within their salary structure, the Predators will have no trouble maintaining one of the strongest blueline corps in the NHL.

That Josi is already talking about doing what’s necessary to keep everyone together is a good sign the Predators shouldn’t have trouble coming to terms on an extension when the time is right.

Related: NHL Rumors: Zetterberg, Karlsson, Stone, More

Justin Faulk to Toronto?

Throughout the summer, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk has been near the top of the trade bait board. He’s yet to be moved and it could be because the asking price is high, but with the sheer surplus of blueliners in Carolina, it makes sense the team might trade Faulk to improve their offense, especially considering how little depth the team has in that area.

Justin Faulk Hurricanes
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes, Mar. 1, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

NHL insider Pierre LeBrun recently revealed on TSN Radio 1050 that Faulk was a target of the Toronto Maple Leafs this summer and suggested the Leafs are not done looking in his direction. To fit in Faulk’s $4.83 million cap hit, the team would need to move out money and LeBrun thinks that could include players like Nazem Kadri, promising wingers Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson, and/or goalies like Garret Sparks and Joseph Woll. It’s a hefty price to pay for the Leafs but it fills an area of need and potentially helps with the team’s salary cap issues.

While there are whispers the team might have to look at trading William Nylander if the two sides aren’t making progress on a new deal, LeBrun did not suggest Nylander would be part of this type of trade and from all accounts, Toronto is still being patient with their restricted free agent forward.

Related: NHL Rumors: Theodore, Wood, Maple Leafs Offer Sheets

Islanders Interested in Bobrovsky

NHL insider Darren Dreger said during an interview on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 he believes the New York Islanders could be “keenly interested” in Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky has been in the news of late as his recent comments hinted that he might not be looking to stay with the Blue Jackets after this season and while the team does not want to move him, might have to.

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky
Sergei Bobrovsky is still the top cop on the force, for now. (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders “have been searching for a goaltender that can be a difference-maker for quite some time,” said Dreger and if the Blue Jackets were to trade the pending unrestricted free agent to New York, the Islanders would likely be willing to make him the highest paid goaltender in the NHL, which is what most believe Bobrovsky wants to be when all is said and done.

Dreger thinks the Islanders might jump in on Bobrovsky should he become a free agent so if the team can acquire him early, it gives them a better chance to negotiate a deal, especially since there would be a number of teams interested in the netminder.

Sabres and Skinner Waiting

Darren Dreger was also on WGR 550 radio and said there haven’t really been any contract extension talks between the Buffalo Sabres and Jeff Skinner who have mutually decided to wait until the season gets underway to see how he’s fitting into the system. If Skinner meshes well the team will talk extension. If he doesn’t, the Sabres haven’t committed big money to someone when they have young players to manage contracts for as well.

It is possible that if Skinner doesn’t have a great season, he could be moved before the NHL Trade Deadline because the Sabres also don’t want to wait all season long to decide where Skinner fits long-term.