Rumor Roundup: Legwand to Blackhawks or Red Wings? Weber to Flyers?

Shea Weber (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Tim Kavanagh of ESPN placed Nashville Predator David Legwand atop his list of top centers believed available heading toward the March 5 trade deadline. Legwand is eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer. With the Predators only four points out of playoff contention, their performance following the Olympic break could determine his fate by the deadline.

Legwand has a full no-movement clause and Kavanagh reports there’s some belief the 33-year-old center prefers to remain in the Midwest, speculating the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings will come calling.

The Blackhawks recently added center Peter Regin and winger Pierre-Marc Bouchard (who can also play center) in a swap with the New York Islanders, so there’s no pressing need to add another. Given the Blackhawks’ limited cap space, they cannot afford to add the remainder of Legwand’s $4.5-million cap hit without parting with a salaried player in return.

If Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc) is ruled out for the rest of the season, the Red Wings could be interested in Legwand. They would certainly have the cap space if Zetterberg were to be placed on long-term injured reserve. The Predators, however, could seek one of the Wings’ promising forwards in return, which could be a deal breaker.

Speaking of the Predators, Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly continues to speculate over what it could cost the Philadelphia Flyers to pry Shea Weber out of Nashville. Weber signed a 14-year, $110 million- offer sheet with the Flyers in July 2012, which the Predators quickly matched.

Panaccio believes the asking price would be high, suggesting any skater on the Flyers except Claude Giroux could be trade bait. As for prospects, he feels they shouldn’t move defenseman Samuel Morin, who’s been compared to a young Chris Pronger.

SB Nation’s Kevin Christmann points out salary cap recapture must be taken into account in any trade discussion about Weber, whose heavily front-loaded contract was signed under the previous CBA. If the Predators trade Weber – to the Flyers or anyone else – and he retires before his contract expires, the two teams get tagged with cap recapture penalties.

For example, if Weber is dealt to the Flyers this summer and retires in 2020, the Predators would be penalized more than $2 million annually against their cap until the end of 2025-26, when his contract is due to expire. The Flyers would be penalized $2.8 million annually over the same period.

The penalties vary depending on when Weber retires. If it’s in 2022, the Predators get tagged for more than $3 million annually, while the Flyers would pay more than $3.2 million over the same period. If he retires between 2023 and 2025, the Predators face higher penalties and the Flyers less. The final year would be the worst, as the Preds would be tagged for more than $12 million for ’25-26, while the Flyers wouldn’t be penalized.

With the salary cap projected to increase over the course of the current CBA it can be argued those cap recapture penalties are but a pittance for a free-spending club like the Flyers. The Predators could more easily absorb these deductions (except for that final season) compared to Weber’s current $7.8-million annual cap hit. Still, such dead cap space could come back to haunt either club down the road when they’re attempting to add talent.

Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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