Since the NHL suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov with pay while he’s under investigation for suspicion of domestic violence, the club has found it difficult to fill his spot on the roster.
The Kings possess limited cap space, and with Voynov’s $4.166-million annual average salary still counting against their cap, they’ve struggled to find a replacement. Only this week did sufficient room open up to allow the Kings to sign free agent blueliner Jamie McBain to a one-year, $550K deal. Read more
Dating back to last season, the salary cap issues in Los Angeles have been known. In fact, the immediate concern after winning their second Stanley Cup in three seasons was whether or not the Kings would be able to re-sign playoff hero Marian Gaborik.
Well, the Kings got Gaborik under contract, extended Jake Muzzin, and otherwise stood pat. However, it didn’t stop rumors from swirling about Mike Richards, the $5.75 million man who has been deployed as the team’s third line pivot. With compliance buyouts available last off-season, it was thought the Kings might exercise theirs to free themselves of Richards’ contract and make space to fill some holes. Read more
The Colorado Avalanche are currently struggling to recapture last season’s 52-win, 112-point performance. Entering this week, the Avs have won only four games while their 13 points in 16 games left them near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
It was a matter of time until their early difficulties sparked some trade speculation. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports it’s believed Avalanche GM Joe Sakic and coach Patrick Roy could shake things up if the club fails to get its act together soon. Read more
The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports there’s a good chance the NHL salary cap won’t increase for 2015-16. Brooks cites the projected decline in the Canadian dollar and the potential unwillingness of the NHLPA (for escrow reasons) to exercise a five percent escalator for ’15-’16. He also cites front-office sources claiming the struggling Canadian dollar has already affected contract extension talks in at least three cases.
That’s bad news for several NHL teams with limited cap space next season. Assuming the cap remains at $69 million, the Chicago Blackhawks face the biggest hit. The Blackhawks currently have over $65.7 million invested in 15 players. Read more
For several weeks trade rumors have dogged Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal and defenseman Andrej Sekera. There was talk several teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, inquired into Staal’s availability. Sekera’s eligibility for unrestricted free agency in July fuelled speculation he could be dealt at some point this season. Read more
Former San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton has no intention of waiving his no-movement clause anytime soon. Despite an off-season in which Thornton was stripped of the captaincy and mentioned in trade rumors, he told the Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger he considers the Sharks a very good team capable of doing something.
During the summer, there was speculation claiming Sharks management might try to pressure the 35-year-old into accepting a trade. The rumors carried over into this season, as Zeisberger cited a recent report linking Thornton with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Read more
The Arizona Coyotes entered their Nov. 2 game against the Washington Capitals having lost six of seven games. That poor performance generated speculation of big roster changes.
Sportsnet’s Damien Cox notes the Coyotes lack a true superstar. Taking into account their sputtering start and the possibility of missing the playoffs, he wonders if the new owners and GM Don Maloney might blow up the roster. Read more
This season could be the last for defenseman Paul Martin as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 33-year-old blueliner will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, leading some observers to suggest he might not finish the season with the Penguins.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson notes Martin lost his power-play spot to youngster Olli Maatta, and wondered if the Penguins will bother to re-sign him or deal him before his UFA eligibility. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun also took note of Martin’s reduced role. He speculates the blueliner will be gone before the deadline, but not before Maatta returns from his upcoming surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his neck. Read more