Week one of the NHL season has been a wild one! There’s been no shortage of surprises on the ice and no shortage of big stories developing off of it. We haven’t seen our first big trade of the season, but it’s coming. Over the next few weeks, there will be teams that decide they need to change things up. That’s where I’m starting with today’s rumours blog.
Things are going very badly in Montreal. The boo birds were out as the team finished off their fourth game of the season on Tuesday with yet another loss. They’re now 0-4-0 to start the season and they look nothing like the team that marched to the Stanley Cup Final last season. Head Coach Dominic Ducharme used the word “disconnected” to describe his team.
Despite their struggles, GM Marc Bergevin says he’s not going to make a change just for the sake of it.
The fact Bergevin is holding a press conference at this stage of the season is newsworthy in itself. He thought the #habs looked "tight" after falling behind San Jose early last night and noted that they lacked confidence.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 20, 2021
It sounds like the Habs are going to try and let the group they have figure this out. The big question is: are they good enough to climb out of this hole? I personally don’t think they are.
There was talk a few weeks ago that the San Jose Sharks would just find a way to void the final three years of Evander Kane’s contract, which carries a cap hit of $7 million. Elliotte Friedman dismissed that though in his 32 Thoughts blog, saying “eliminate the rumours or idea there could be a contract termination.”
So what will the Sharks do once Kanes 21 game suspension for using a fake vaccination card is up? Well, they very well might just tell him to stay home. Frank Seravalli reported early in the offseason that Kane might not be back with the Sharks and now, with his contract seemingly untradeable, it sounds like the Sharks only choice will be to tell him to sit at home all year until they can buy out the rest of his deal this summer.
MORE D-MEN LOOKING FOR BIG $$$
The Seth Jones deal set the market and defensemen are getting paid like crazy right now. Makar, Heiskanen, and McAvoy have all inked shiny new deals over the last few months and now, there are a few more defensemen looking for big smoke.
The reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox is the big one. He’s going to be a cornerstone piece of that franchise for a long time and considering the fact that he basically forced the Hurricanes to trade his rights to New York a few years ago, no one will be surprised if he gets an eight-year deal with the club.
How much could it be worth? Former NHL Executive Steve Greeley laid out some numbers last week on The Daily Faceoff Show.
He was the best defenseman in the NHL last season so it would make sense for him to get paid like it. With a player that good at that age, it would honestly be hard to call any kind of contract for him an overpay. My prediction: eight years with a cap hit of $10 million.
The other name that has popped up recently is John Klingberg. The Stars defenseman is in the final year of his deal and wants his AAV to be in the $8 million range.
As we just reported on our 32 Thoughts feature on Hockey Night in Canada the John Klingberg camp is looking for a deal in the $62-66 million range over an 8 year term.
— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) October 17, 2021
The Stars have already committed $17.9 million to the likes of Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell, and Ryan Suter and they’re all on the books for at least three more seasons. They do have around $23 million in projected cap space for next summer, but with Joe Pavelski and Alex Radulov also set to hit unrestricted free agency and young forwards Jason Robertson and Denis Gurianov needing new deals, they’ll likely have to spend most of that money on their forward group.
I wonder if Klingberg might get a chance to test free agency next summer. Friedman did say that he believes the Stars counteroffer isn’t that far off from the players ask though.
- Could Claude Giroux be a future Ottawa Senator? Elliotte Friedman and Bruce Garrioch have both talked about it. He lives in the area during the offseason, the Senators could use a high-calibre veteran centre, and he’s a UFA this summer. Friedman did kind of throw cold water on the rumour in 32 Thoughts but did say “we’ll see what the future holds.”
- The Sabres don’t want to retain money in an Eichel deal, but what if they brought back some pending UFA’s to offset Eichel’s $10 million cap hit. Right now, bringing in some good veterans while the team is playing well would send a great message to the fanbase and locker room and then when you fall out of the race, you can trade the players for more future assets.
- The leading candidates to be the first player traded this year: Vitali Kravtsov of the Rangers and Dylan Strome in Chicago.
- Friedman said that young defenseman Erik Brannstrom could be moved out of Ottawa as well.
- Pierre LeBrun says that the Canucks are hopeful that they will get Travis Hamonic back at some point this season and aren’t going to market to replace him.
- The Ducks have a lot of players that could be moved before the deadline. Rakell, Manson, Getzlaf, and Lindholm are at the top of that list.
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