Lyle Richardson is a contributing writer to THN. His Rumor Roundup has been a regular feature since 2007. He also runs the website spectorshockey.net. A Canadiens fan married to a Leafs fan, Lyle's Saturday nights during hockey season can get quite entertaining at his home.
Following the recent completion of the NHL’s 2015 salary-arbitration period, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston observed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild had a second buyout window open for a 48-hour period commencing on Aug. 5. None of the clubs, however, used the opportunity to shed a contract.
The Senators spent months last season trying to find a trade partner for winger Colin Greening, prompting some speculation the 29-year-old winger might receive a buyout. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports Senators assistant GM Pierre Dorion explained that wasn’t possible, as Greening’s $2.65-million annual cap hit was about $10K short of the minimum allowable to be bought out.
Greening’s future with the Senators remains uncertain. Garrioch believes Murray will keep trying to peddle the winger, who was a frequent healthy scratch last season. Perhaps Murray will have better luck next month, as rival GMs evaluate their roster needs during training camp and preseason play. Read more
Recent internet-generated trade speculation involving Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien caught the eye of SI.com’s Allan Muir. Byfuglien, 30, becomes eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. While the Jets don’t have to move the big blueliner this summer, Muir notes re-signing him could be tricky.
Like Byfuglien, Jets captain Andrew Ladd could become a UFA next July. Center Mark Scheifele and defenseman Jacob Trouba will be restricted free agents in line for significant raises. Muir points out the Jets are a budget club that usually doesn’t spend toward the league’s cap ceiling.
Muir observes the recent rumor tied Byfuglien (who had a modified no-trade clause) to the Boston Bruins, but they must ship out salary to absorb his $5.2-million cap hit. Muir also suggests the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks as possible trade partners. Read more
It’s been over a month since the NHL’s unrestricted free agent market opened. While most of the best players in what was a shallow pool of talent were signed weeks ago, several notable players remain available. Here’s a look at several of the notables:
Cody Franson: It was assumed the soon to be 28-year-old Franson would be snapped up on opening day, but he’s still available. He’s seeking a multi-year deal and wants a substantial raise over the $3.3 million he earned last season.
Franson claims he’s spoken with five or six teams, including the Boston Bruins. He’s also linked to the Arizona Coyotes, but GM Don Maloney told The Arizona Republic he’s not signing any more one-way contracts unless he gets a favorable deal. Read more
While the Nashville Predators matched a 14-year, $110-million offer sheet for captain Shea Weber from the Philadelphia Flyers in July 2012, he’s remained the subject of annual off-season trade speculation.
Weber’s value to the Predators and the expense of his contract are usually cited as reasons why he won’t be dealt, but Yahoo Sports’ Josh Cooper believes the time could be right to trade him within the next year. Among the factors justifying this move includes the potential for a strong return, the expense of re-signing Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones next year and the possibility the 29-year-old defenseman’s performance could be about to decline.
Unlike most stars of Weber’s caliber, he lacks a no-trade clause in his contract. The Predators can entertain offers from around the league and ship him anywhere without his consent.
NBC Sports’ Jason Brough notes Daniel and Henrik Sedin were recently asked by a Swedish newspaper if they felt they might be traded. The twins replied they had no intention of finishing their NHL careers with another team, even if it meant another shot at a Stanley Cup.
Brough observes, however, the Sedins didn’t outright reject the notion of waiving their no-movement clauses by the final season (2017-18) of their contracts. Should the Canucks miss the 2016 playoffs or become a first-round casualty again, Brough suspects calls for a major rebuild in Vancouver could increase.
Such a rebuild would mean shipping out the Sedins. Their no-movement clauses, however, aren’t the only impediment. It’s no stretch of the imagination to assume the twins will only accept a deal in which they’re moved together to the same team. With both earning $7-million per season, takers for their combined $14-million annual salaries could be scarce. That especially if the salary cap doesn’t significantly increase for 2016-17. Read more
It appears efforts by the Philadelphia Flyers to trade Vincent Lecavalier have once again proven futile. GM Ron Hextall told CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio his club remains “status quo” with the 35-year-old center, adding they intend to start the season with Lecavalier to see how it goes.
Last summer, there was interest in Lecavalier from the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers, prompting speculation Hextall might find a taker this year. However, the combination of Lecavalier’s ongoing decline and his $4.5-million annual cap hit through 2017-18 makes him a tough sell, even to clubs which have the cap space to absorb. it.
Panaccio reports Hextall was hoping interest in Lecavalier might increase after the Flyers paid his $2-million signing bonus on July 1, but received no offers. Without freeing up cap space, Hextall could find it difficult promoting a promising defensemen next summer. Read more
The Columbus Blue Jackets could add a veteran defenseman before the start of 2015-16. Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports sources claiming Jackets management have had discussions with free-agent blueliner Christian Ehrhoff, who’s coming off a one-year, $4-million contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Portzline suggests a deal between the Blue Jackets and the 33-year-old Ehrhoff is possible, provided the latter remains on the free-agent market long enough to drive down his asking price. Despite missing 33 games last season due to head injuries, the puck-moving rearguard could help the Blue Jacket’s power play.
The Jackets only have around $3.6 million in cap space for 2015-16, which Portzline believes is why they’re willing to be patient in their dealings with Ehrhoff. He also notes several other defensemen, including Andrej Meszaros, Cody Franson and Marek Zidlicky are available, but hasn’t yet confirmed if the Jackets are interested in them. Read more
Nearly three weeks into the NHL’s free-agency period, former Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson remains unsigned. In a free-agent market decidedly thin on quality talent, the 27-year-old blueliner was considered among the top players available.
It was expected Franson would be among the players signed with the first 24 hours of free agency. That he’s still without a contract entering late-July is drawing headlines as free-agent activity slows down.
CBS Sports’ Adam Gretz suggests Franson’s high asking price could be a factor, speculating the blueliner seeks a deal comparable to the annual cap hit ($5.75 million) of Washington’s Matt Niskanen. Gretz also thinks the decline in Franson’s performance following his February trade from Toronto to Nashville hurts his free-agent value.
The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples cites TSN’s Craig Button forewarning Franson’s lack of speed could be an issue. While acknowledging the rearguard’s lumbering style, Staples points out he’s an excellent passer with a strong snapshot from the point. He believes Franson is best suited as a second-pairing defenseman. Read more