Rumor Roundup: Latest on Subban, Lucic, Shattenkirk, Fowler and more

P.K. Subban. (Getty Images)

Entering the 2016 NHL draft, the trade speculation is ramping up on several notable NHL stars.

Topping the list is Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. The trade chatter reached a fever pitch on Thursday when Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning admitted he contacted Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin to inquire about Subban. Meanwhile, Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli claimed he looked into acquiring the Habs blueliner but the asking price was too high.

The Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey reports Bergevin insists he’s not shopping Subban but he can’t prevent rival clubs from calling about the defenseman.

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Gary Bettman says the Carolina Hurricanes ‘aren’t going anywhere’

Jared Clinton
Jeff Skinner (Karl DeBlaker/NHLI via Getty Images)

There were rumors leading up to Wednesday’s expansion announcement that, with Quebec City having its expansion bid deferred, there was a possibility the Carolina Hurricanes could potentially relocate north of the border. However, commissioner Gary Bettman said there’s no truth to that.

Speaking following the announcement of expansion to Las Vegas, Bettman was asked about the status of the Hurricanes, who have struggled to fill their arena and have been the subject of rumors for several months.

“The Carolina Hurricanes aren’t going anywhere,” Bettman said, via Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “They’re not going anywhere.” Read more

European teams form alliance to get a seat at the table with the big boys

Sebastian Aho (left), Jesse Puljujariv (middle) and Patrik Laine (MARKKU ULANDER/AFP/Getty Images)

When Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi are drafted into the NHL a week from now, their teams in the Finnish Elite League will receive a one-time payment of about $240,000. Assuming each player earns $50 million over the course of his NHL career – which is probably being conservative – the amount their teams receive represents about one-half of one percent of their career earnings.

The teams that choose Laine and Puljujarvi – almost certainly the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets – stand to make millions in merchandising and ticket sales, particularly if each of them is a central figure in some long playoff runs. Meanwhile, the organizations that have basically developed these players from the time they were children, Tappara and Karpat, are receiving a pittance. That $240,000 is what Karpat will receive for losing Laine’s and Puljujarvi’s World Junior linemate Sebastian Aho to the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this week.

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Cam Ward forgoes free agency, takes hefty pay cut to remain a Hurricane

Jared Clinton
Cam Ward (Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Cam Ward was set to become a free agent come July 1, and the veteran netminder was going to have to take a pay cut no matter where he went. So, instead of uprooting and looking for work elsewhere, Ward, 32, has decided to remain a Carolina Hurricane on a two-year, $6.6 million deal.

Ward’s deal fits in with what would have been expected for him on a new deal. Ward had earned an average salary of $6.3 million over the past six seasons and was among the league’s highest paid netminders, but his play didn’t reflect that. His new deal sees a drop of $3 million per year in average salary, and in the second year of his contract he’ll earn $3.1 million, which is less than half of his previous cap hit.

Prior to last week, Ward remaining a Hurricane would have been somewhat unexpected. Carolina had made it somewhat evident they were looking for Ward’s replacement when they dealt for Eddie Lack ahead of the 2015-16 season, Ward has all but lost his full-time starting gig and his best years seem to be far behind him. However, comments from Hurricanes GM Ron Francis last week made it sound as though Carolina was considering bringing Ward back into the fold.

“As I sit here today, do I want to want to give up a first-round pick for a goaltender that may have a year or two left on his deal, and then we lose him or get an older guy?” Francis said, via the News & Observer. “Not really the plan that I’m looking for. Cam takes a lot of criticism, but from December to the end of the year (he) was one of the top five goaltenders in the league in goals against and save percentage. I think there’s some merit to revisiting that as we move forward.” Read more

Bickell-Teravainen trade illustrates everything that’s wrong with the salary cap

Ken Campbell
Bryan Bickell  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The question when it comes to the trade between the Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes is not which team won the transaction. We already know that. The more pressing question, one that will only be answered in the coming years, is just how badly did the Hurricanes fleece the Blackhawks?

And the reason why is pretty damned depressing. It’s because the salary cap punishes teams that develop good, young players and spends money to perpetuate a winning culture and rewards those who muddle around in mediocrity and do it on the cheap. The deal that sent Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell (and his $4 million cap hit) to the Hurricanes for a second-round pick in 2016 and a third-rounder in 2017 represents everything that is wrong with the salary cap.

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Blackhawks trade Teravainen, Bickell to Hurricanes for two draft picks

Jared Clinton
Teuvo Teravainen (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes have kicked off the off-season with an incredibly surprising trade.

The Hurricanes announced Wednesday they have acquired winger Bryan Bickell, 30, and center Teuvo Teravainen, 21, from the Blackhawks in exchange for a second-round pick, 50th overall, in 2016 and a third-round pick in 2017. It’s a deal that works for both teams, but one that’s especially good for the Hurricanes, who leveraged the Blackhawks’ need to move Bickell’s $4 million cap hit into landing a young, promising player in Teravainen.

“This deal allowed us to use some of our collected draft picks to improve our group of forwards for the coming season by added two Stanley Cup champions,” Hurricanes GM Ron Francis said in a release. “Teuvo is a young, highly-skilled player still on his entry-level contract who is coming off of a strong first full NHL season, and Bryan is a veteran who has experienced great success in his career. Both players give our organization more options and flexibility among the forward ranks.” Read more

Hurricanes top prospect Aho coming to Carolina next season on entry-level deal

Jared Clinton
Sebastian Aho (Photo by Karpat Oulu/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

The Carolina Hurricanes had a disappointing regular season that saw the team finish 10 points out of a wild-card spot, average attendance plummeted to a league-worst 12,200 per game and the off-season hasn’t been kind, either, with rumors of relocation and a lawsuit facing team owner Peter Karmanos, Jr.

There’s some good news for the Hurricanes to celebrate Monday, though, as GM Ron Francis announced the team has locked up top prospect Sebastian Aho to a three-year, entry-level deal. And come the opening night of the 2016-17 campaign, Aho should be donning a Hurricanes jersey and starting off what could end up being one of the most successful rookie campaign in Hurricanes history.

“Sebastian is regarded as one of the top prospects in hockey and is ready to begin his North American career,” Francis said in a release. “He had a tremendous season as an 18-year-old playing against men in Finland’s top league, and was outstanding in international competitions including the recent World Championship. He will play an important role for the Hurricanes moving forward.” Read more

Can Penguins close out series on the road?

Sidney Crosby (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins have another chance to win their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history, and first since 2009, when they face the San Jose Sharks on the road in Game 6.

Trying to win a championship on the road late in a series doesn’t sound like the easiest of feats, but recent history may suggest otherwise.

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