Is the Vinny-to-Nashville deal still alive? With the UFA market drying up, will teams turn to players like the Jets' Evander Kane? And are the Dallas Stars looking to move defenseman Sergei Gonchar?
The Philadelphia Flyers recent signings (defenseman Nick Schultz, backup goalie Ray Emery and winger Jason Akeson) pushes them above the $69-million salary cap by just more than $3 million. That's the most of any NHL team this summer, putting pressure on GM Ron Hextall to find a way to become cap compliant before the 2014-15 season starts in October.
Hextall reportedly almost had a deal in place that would have sent center Vincent Lecavalier to the Nashville Predators. The deal, however, fell through because the Predators wanted the Flyers to pick up half of Lecavalier's remaining contract. The 34-year-old has four seasons remaining worth $4.5-million annually. He has a full no-movement clause, but his agent was given permission by Hextall to explore trade possibilities with other clubs.
The Philadelphia Daily News reports Hextall and Predators management revisited the possibility of a Lecavalier trade. Another suitor could be the Ottawa Senators. CSNPhilly's Tim Panaccio reports the Senators want the Flyers to not only pick up part of the Lecavalier’s salary but also want something else included.
Unless Hextall agrees to absorb a significant chunk of Lecavalier's salary he won't find many takers for a fading offensive center.
KANE BECOMING A TRADE TARGET?
With the top talent in this summer's unrestricted free agent market quickly snapped up, teams could return to the trade market to address their roster needs.
ESPN's Craig Custance includes Winnipeg Jets winger Evander Kane among a list of potential target this summer. Though the Jets added third-line center Mathieu Perreault via free agency, Custance doesn't see that move doing much to improve the Jets playoff hopes for 2014-15. He claims the Jets are listening to calls for Kane, who's been a fixture for months in the rumor mill.
The 22-year-old winger has 40-goal potential but questions remain over his future in Winnipeg. If the Jets move Kane they'll want a healthy return, including a scoring-line center or an established top-six winger.
Kane also carries a hefty cap hit ($5.25-million annually) until the end of 2017-18, so it'll take a club with sufficient cap space to comfortably absorb that to make this deal work. The Jets could be unwilling to pick up part of his salary. Teams like the Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders and Arizona Coyotes might have interest but could lack the return necessary to pry Kane out of Winnipeg.
The Dallas Morning News' Mike Heika doesn't expect the Stars to add to their defense corps, but they could try to move Sergei Gonchar this summer.
Heika speculates the Stars might even “eat” a portion of Gonchar's salary to move him. The 40-year-old blueliner has a year remaining on his contract worth $5 million, plus a full no-movement clause. He managed only 22 points in 76 games last season and no points in six playoff games.
While GM Jim Nill cites Gonchar's veteran presence as a positive influence on the Stars' young blueliners, Heika feels there's a market for the ageing defenseman. Trying to sell teams on an aging puck-moving blueliner with declining numbers and a high salary won't be easy.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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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