NHL rumours continue to roll out in the middle of summer for you to read and enjoy. Teams are still signing players and making deals to maximize their cap space. Today we have rumours surrounding the San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, and the Montreal Canadiens. Last Word on Hockey will continue to bring the rumours and analysis you crave during the offseason.
Rumour: The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell talks about difficult contracts that still exist in the NHL and what makes them so troubling for their current teams. The Canadiens Shea Weber highlights the piece.
Oilers GM Ken Holland managed to ship out Milan Lucic and his "untradeable" deal, so now who takes his place atop the list of most difficult contracts to move?https://t.co/dyFviyG7jE
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 23, 2019
Analysis: Campbell is right that contracts like Shea Weber’s or Brent Seabrooks‘ are almost unmovable, but silly trades still happen. For example, the Edmonton Oilers just traded 87.5 percent of Milan Lucic‘s contract for James Neal‘s $5.75 million one. It would take some serious salary retention, a good draft pick, or taking on an equally bad contract to move someone like the players mentioned in Campbell’s piece.
With Weber’s contract ($7,857,143 AAV through 2025-26) being so difficult to move, will he become the first captain of the new NHL Seattle team? But keep in mind he will be 36-years-old by then.
It’s also too early to declare some of the listed contracts untradeable. There are certainly bad deals out there, but some of the players listed are still in their 20’s. The right circumstances could make those contracts work out before they expire.
NHL Rumours: San Jose Sharks
Rumour: NBC’s Marcus White looks ahead to the NHL Seattle Expansion Draft. The Sharks have several defencemen under contract, but need to make some tough decisions about who to protect in advance of 2021.
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) July 25, 2019
Analysis: All teams will have two options when protecting which of their players to protect. They can either keep seven forwards, three defenders, and one goalie or just eight players regardless of position and one goalie. Either way, San Jose will keep at least two of their three big defenders in Erik Karlsson, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Brent Burns.
Karlsson and Vlasic are the two that must be protected due to their no-movement clauses that require protection unless waived. Burns also has a no-movement, but league rules dictate the the Sharks expose one defender that is both under contract for Seattle’s first season and has played a certain number of games. Burns has a no-trade clause as well, but it is structured differently and does not affect the organization in the same way.
The team could also re-sign a player like Brenden Dillon after the 2019-20 season just to expose him in the expansion draft. A huge factor is Burns’ production. He will be 36 when the draft happens and San Jose has younger defenders that might be ready.
Rumour: George Richards of the The Athletic Miami ponders who will back up free agent acquisition Sergei Bobrovsky.
Florida Panthers mailbag: Who backs up Bobrovsky, and how close did they get to signing Panarin?
— The Athletic Miami (@TheAthleticMIA) July 19, 2019
Analysis: The current favorite to backup Bobrovsky is 22-year-old Sam Montembeault. The former 3rd round pick played in his first NHL games in 2018-19. He appeared in 11 games with a save percentage of .894 and goals-against-average of 3.05. His biggest competition in training camp will come from Chris Driedger, who was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 2012. The job is Montembeault’s unless he struggles mightily and forces the team to look for a bargain option. Florida does have just over $2.04 million in current cap space, so an emergency signing is possible.
Whomever supports Bobrovsky will have to watch their backs as top goalie prospect Spencer Knight works towards the pro ranks. Boston College is the first stop on the road to the NHL for the 13th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.