It’s time for another edition of our NHL rumours. We’re a maximum six games away from the start of the off-season and the speculation is already running rampant. We dissect possible moves by NHL clubs going into the off-season. Today we look at NHL rumours about the Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, New York Islanders, and Minnesota Wild.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Scott Cruickshank of The Athletic Calgary (Subscription required) said that Flames may have to pay a hefty sum to keep Matthew Tkachuk on the team. He’s a restricted free agent on July 1st and Cruickshank speculated that the young forward could command $9-$10 million a season according to one insider.
Putting a price on @NHLFlames LW Matthew Tkachuk … not easy. “You know what? He’s probably going to set a new bar, in my opinion. I could see that being upwards of nine, 10 (million dollars per season) — I wouldn’t be surprised at that."@TheAthleticCGY https://t.co/zR7M43jhDK
— Scott Cruickshank (@ByCruickshank) May 24, 2019
Analysis: The Flames have nearly $14.5 million in cap space as of now, but they are in the market for a goalie upgrade after their first-round exit to the Colorado Avalanche. Mike Smith is an unrestricted free agent and may not be back.
Tkachuk and his representation may try to get a shorter term a la the Auston Matthews deal. That deal has changed the game and the Flames may have to pony up to keep him long-term.
The two sends could do a bridge contract or go to arbitration. However, this contract could become a headache and Calgary may have to swallow a bitter pill in order to keep Tkachuk.
San Jose Sharks
Rumour: Joe Pavelski told the media that he’s confident that he will be with the team in 2019-20 season. The Sharks captain is an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
Analysis: It’s likely that he will stay with San Jose, but it may be at a reduced rate. Fellow Sharks stalwart Joe Thornton has yet to make his future plans known. The man known as “Captain America” made $6 million per season under his current deal and the Sharks have space under the cap. However, general manager Doug Wilson will try to convince free agents, Erik Karlsson and Gustav Nyquist, to stay in the Bay Area.
San Jose also has to give a nice raise to both Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc, who are restricted free agents. Wilson will likely prioritize his younger players, but realizes that he also needs Pavelski as a leader. He helped galvanize the Sharks run to the Western Conference Final.
New York Islanders
Rumour: Brett Cyrgalis of The New York Post talked about what’s next for the Isles after signing Brock Nelson to a long-term deal. He said the Islanders are now trying to lock up captain Anders Lee to a contract. However, money and term remain sticking points for the 29-year-old as he’s looking for a deal befitting a captain of a playoff team.
Analysis: General manager Lou Lamoriello isn’t one to hand out long-term deals after past experiences. Lee and the Isles could compromise at $7 million a season, but there could be budding interest from the Minnesota Wild. General manager Paul Fenton has the bait of bringing the Edina, Minnesota native back to his home state.
Lamoriello knows there’s a drop-off in quality after Artemi Panarin, Jeff Skinner and Lee. The Islanders captain seemingly has the leverage to get the desired deal he wants. New York’s general manager is hoping that the Lee question resolved before June 23rd. That is when other teams can make pitches to prospective UFAs.
Rumour: Multiple sources have stated that Phil Kessel has rejected a trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the team. The reports said that Kessel didn’t think the Wild would be a contender. Jason Zucker was rumoured to be part of the deal along with others.
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticMIN) May 27, 2019
Analysis: It’s surprising that Kessel didn’t want to return to the state where he played college hockey. He and his sister, Amanda, both played for the University of Minnesota.
The former Stanley Cup winner will probably be traded as the Pens look to shake up their roster after an early post-season exit. Kessel did score 27 goals for Pittsburgh, but an $8 million cap hit until the end of the 2021-22 season. He does have a limited no-trade clause and an eight-team trade list.
Zucker once again has a potential deal fall through as he was all set to go to Calgary before a last-minute snag derailed that.
CALGARY, AB – MARCH 10: Calgary Flames Left Wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) kneels to score on Vegas Golden Knights Goalie Malcolm Subban (30) to make it 5-3 for the Calgary Flames during the third period of an NHL game where the Calgary Flames hosted the Vegas Golden Knights on March 10, 2019, at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)