In today’s NHL rumor rundown, things can change quickly. What was Brayden’s Point agent saying things were far apart now appear closer than ever before. There is news out of Boston that a future RFA is preparing for what could be a holdout and in Philadelphia, there injury questions. Finally, could the Buffalo Sabres trade Rasmus Ristolainen and the Edmonton Oilers trade Matt Benning?
Point and the Lightning Making Progress
When negotiating a contract for a star player, things can change in a hurry, if you want them to. At least, that’s what both Eric Francis of Sportsnet and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic are reporting when it comes to talks between Brayden Point and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The two NHL insiders have noted that Point and the Lightning have made considerable progress over the last few days. Francis specifically notes that the two sides were about $2 million apart as of a couple of days ago, but now are nearing a resolution. LeBrun believes the solution will come in the form of a three-year contract if completed.
** Update: Point has officially signed with the Lightning today, as per Eric Francis.
Jake Debrusk Already Looking at Contract Situation
With Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo signed in Boston and the Bruins looking at possibly negotiating something with Torey Krug (who keeps talking about wanting a new deal), it’s not great news to hear that soon-to-be restricted free agent, Jake Debrusk is already thinking about his contract situation.
NBC Sports’ Joe Haggerty writes that Debrusk — who is coming off of a 27-goal season — has kept a careful watch on the negotiations with McAvoy and Carlo. “Obviously that’s going to be my situation [as an RFA]. Hopefully not [as a holdout],” Debrusk said.
Debrusk went on to add:
“It’s one of those where you ask questions on the business side of it. Things change and different stuff happens with talks, but at the same time I mostly just try to stay out of it. I try to stay dialed in to get ready for training camp and the season. I guess when that time comes, though, I’ll be more aware of what to expect.”
Status of Nolan Patrick in Philadelphia
Adam Kimelman of NHL.com writes that there are still questions surrounding Nolan Patrick’s injury situation. So far, Patrick has missed all of training camp and while an update is scheduled for next week, it is assumed he’ll miss all the games this week.
Patrick is skating so perhaps he’s not too far off of a return but no one really knows until GM Chuck Fletcher decides to divulge more information.
Ristolainen and the Jets?
According to Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News, Brandon Montour’s injury in Buffalo could ensure Rasmus Ristolainen starts this season with the Sabres. That hasn’t stopped the trade rumors of Ristolainen to the Winnipeg Jets.
“While many observers quickly connect the Jets to the Sabres because Winnipeg pro scouting director Peter Ratchuk is a former St. Francis student often in the press box at Sabres games, the Jets have a complicated cap situation.”
That complicated situation is the extensions for Patrick Laine and Kyle Connor and the absence and suspension of Dustin Byfuglien. The Jets can’t really afford to go out and add Ristolainen’s salary without knowing more about the futures of these three players.
Matt Benning on the Trade Block in Edmonton?
The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell suggested in a recent article that Edmonton Oilers defenseman Matt Benning could become a trade candidate as general manager Ken Holland tries to figure out the best blue fits.
The Oilers have had a number of younger defensive prospects show they might be able to do the same, if not more, than what Benning is offering and if so, Holland may choose to move him.
With many teams looking for help on the blue line and with Benning an affordable $1.9-million cap hit, he may be a fit somewhere. That he’ll be a restricted free agent next summer means he’s not a long-term commitment either.
Although wisdom suggests it takes 240 to 300 games for a defender to fully mature in the NHL — Benning is at 205 games — one can make the case he will be the odd man out. He has struggled early in the preseason, and several young right-handed defenders — Persson, Ethan Bear and Evan Bouchard — have played well enough to be considered an option this season.source – ‘Matt Benning may be vulnerable to a trade as Ken Holland works to tweak Oilers roster’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 09/22/2019
Mitchell wonders if the Benning might be used to try and acquire the third-line center the Oilers still badly need.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
Follow below on any my social media accounts.