Welcome to the Sunday edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The Stanley Cup Final is here and two powerful teams are competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Other clubs are always working to improve their rosters for next season. In this edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the New York Rangers.
Washington Capitals – Nazem Kadri
Rumor: Per – Elliotte Friedman – sportsnet.ca. With the injury to Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals may inquire about adding Nazem Kadri to their roster. GM Brian MacLellan said he intends on exploring all options this summer to make his team better. Losing in the first round over the last four years is not acceptable to him.
When discussing how to fill the void that Backstrom’s injury presents, Friedman stated: “The team I’ve kind of wondered about, I think a lot of people are wondering about now, [is] Washington [because they] lost Backstrom. Nobody seems to know what the timeline here is. What are they going to do? I’ve heard Kadri’s name connected to the Capitals. I’ve heard Miller’s name connected to the Capitals. I think Washington’s just starting to figure out what are we going to do here? I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the kind of guy that’s on their radar.”
Kadri’s performance this season makes him a popular name when free agency hits on July 13th. His 87 points in 71 games can go a long way in recouping the Capitals’ success in the postseason. His $4.5 million contract will need to be upgraded to say about $7.81 million AAV to compensate him for a great season. If Backstrom is out long-term, they could always place him and his $9.2 million cap hit on LTIR. That would give them space to sign Kadri.
Gee, Kadri AND Alex Ovechkin on the same team? Better watch the Capitals if that happens.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Ilya Mikheyev/Jack Campbell
Rumor: Per – Chris Johnston – tsn.ca. It’s being reported per a couple of sources that neither Ilya Mikheyev or Jack Campbell have had serious discussions on contract numbers. That could mean the Leafs stand the possibility of losing one or both of these key players.
Mikheyev has made it known that he is seeking somewhere in the ballpark of $4-$5 million, while Campbell wants a number starting with a 5. With the Leafs ever-present tight cap space, that may be difficult to accomplish. They only have $7.84 million to spend on four unrestricted free agents as well as four restricted free agents. So, does general manager Kyle Dubas throw names into a hat and see which ones are pulled out?
On TSN’s Insider Trader Chris Johnston discussed the dilemma the team faces. Without any discussions and time running out, something’s got to give. If Dubas has a plan (he does get paid to do this) he had better put it into action soon.
Around Full Press Hockey
New York Rangers – Artemi Panarin
Rumor: Per – Arthur Staple – theathletic.com. Staple broke down the players who may stay and who may go. Panarin fell into the “staying, but for how long” category. The reason?
It seems strange to place the gifted winger in that category when he is the team’s leading scorer (96 points, 75 games). And with Panarin’s full no-move clause for the remaining four years of his contract, it’s unlikely he’ll be going anywhere. However, two league sources said GM Chris Drury was vocally unhappy about Panarin’s play in the postseason when he had 16 points in 20 games.
Apparently, the consistent impact that the Rangers expected and needed wasn’t there. If there’s a rift, Panarin could ask out. It’s just that near-impossible contract may be difficult to move. Even if a team pays a player $11.64 million, they must think one player can take them to a Cup. Perhaps Drury should take a look at two great players in Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews who earn about that and have yet to raise the Cup.
Star players like Panarin can become unhappy and want to move on, but with a no-movement clause, they control what happens. If Drury and Panarin can kiss and make up, it may be the best turn of events to move the team’s fortunes forward.
That does it for this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to check out our next article on Wednesday!
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