Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The NHL Draft is history, and every team has high hopes for the prospects they added. Now, with free agency moves mostly done, rumors are still around. Clubs are always working to improve their rosters for next season. Some teams are having difficulty creating enough cap space to make moves. In this Sunday edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, and the Boston Bruins.
Edmonton Oilers – Cap Space Needed
Rumor: Per – Allan Mitchell – theathletic.com. The Edmonton Oilers have a salary cap issue that will need to be addressed soon. The team is currently over the cap by $2.9 million with 19 (of 23) players signed.
That means some player movement needs to happen. Will it be Jesse Puljujarvi who gets to move elsewhere even though he recently signed a one-year $3 million contract? Something needs to happen with the overage on cap space. A good suggestion by Mitchell is to trade Puljujarvi for a pick or prospect and then sign veteran Phil Kessel for a $1.5 million deal. They may be able to entice Kessel to lower his salary expectations with the hopes of getting a possible Cup again.
The organization will gain some relief when injured players Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith are placed on LTIR, but the saving ($6.3 million) won’t be enough to overcome the deficit of a 23-man roster with everyone signed.
None of these choices are easy to make. General manager Ken Holland has some difficult decisions to make.
New York Islanders – Creating Cap Space For Nazem Kadri
Rumor: Per – Stefen Rosner – nyihockeynow.com. As the days pass and the silence around Nazem Kadri grows stronger, the more the New York Islanders emerge as the winning team for the talented forward.
Rosner has spoken with someone very close to Kadri and the only question is when will he join the Islanders, not if. The holdup is that general manager Lou Lamoriello needs to find more cap space to accommodate Kadri’s salary expectations. To make matters worse, both Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov’s contract situations remain unresolved. One solution could be to unload forward Josh Bailey and his $5 million cap hit with teams like the Arizona Coyotes, Seattle Kraken, or Chicago Blackhawks. It would give them some room to operate.
While Kadri had voiced his appeal to stay with the Colorado Avalanche, they just can’t do more than a one-year deal. Kadri seeks a longer-term contract. He certainly can help the meager offense the Islanders possess. Time will tell, and as we know Lou will not divulge any information until he has to.
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Boston Bruins – Cap Space an Issue
Rumor: Per – Nick Goss – nbcsports.com. How the Bruins can clear salary cap space for free agency.
The Bruins have about $2.3 million of room under the cap, per CapFriendly. This is a problem because that amount of space is unlikely to be enough to sign captain Patrice Bergeron and/or veteran center David Krejci. Bergeron reportedly will return for his 19th season, while Krejci reportedly is in negotiations with the B’s. The problem is where will the money come from?
Well, the Bruins could take the Tampa Bay Lightning route by creating quite a bit of cap space using long-term injury reserve. The Bruins could put Charlie McAvoy ($9.5 million cap hit), Brad Marchand ($6.67 million) and maybe even Matt Grzelcyk ($4.5 million) on LTIR and create about $19.3 million of cap space. That solves things for a while, but what happens when these players return?
Moves, and not of the minor variety, will need to happen. Craig Smith $3.1 million through next season could be a good possibility to create cap space. Defenseman Mike Reilly, ($3 million cap hit through 2023-24) is another possibility. Don Sweeney like many GMs has some tough choices to make. We’ll see how he handles it.
That concludes another edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article, and thanks for reading!
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