With the August heat right around the corner, NHL rumours are heating up. Teams around the league are fighting to stay under the salary cap ceiling while also trying to sign players before training camp. In Tuesday’s edition of NHL rumours, we cover the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Rumor: According to David Staples from the Edmonton Journal it is starting to sound like Jesse Puljujarvi will be back with the Edmonton Oilers this upcoming season.
It's sounding more like Jesse Puljujarvi will be back so what does that mean for Edmonton Oilers? https://t.co/p7BPWs0x5W
— David Staples (@dstaples) July 29, 2019
Analysis: It seems to look like the Edmonton Oilers hold all the power on this. Ken Holland has made it public that no trade including Puljujarvi is imminent. Markus Lehto, Puljujarvi’s agent, has consistently made it seem like, if Puljujarvi wasn’t traded, he’d be playing in Europe next season. However, on July 10th Lehto was on a Vancouver radio station and threw a curveball into the situation by saying: “First off, I’m not sure that Jesse is going back to Europe.” He also said: “I don’t think Jesse himself ever, or I don’t think I did, ever told anyone that unless he’s traded he’s for sure going to be back in Europe.”
It looks like Puljujarvi’s camp is backing off a bit as it seems his stock isn’t as high as they first thought. The Oilers seemed to have called Lehto’s bluff with the Europe comments. Now, Puljujarvi’s party seemingly has to stay content in Edmonton.
This doesn’t mean that something won’t happen. The Oilers are still in need of a 3rd line center. Puljujarvi is a talented young hockey player and teams could still take a shot at the young winger. Ken Holland has been around long enough to realize that the Oilers don’t need to make a trade simply for the fact of making a trade
Rumor: Adam Gretz of NBC Sports is reporting that as of Saturday the Jets only have 17 players under contract for the 2019-20 season. This news isn’t necessarily a bad thing as they still have around $17 million in cap space to work with. But they still have two big-name RFA’s on the board in Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine.
This year’s restricted free agent market has been one of the most intriguing ones we have seen in years.https://t.co/WumVF0CGGu
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) July 27, 2019
Analysis: Laine has scored 30 or more goals in each of his first three NHL seasons. Connor, on the other hand, has scored 30 goals in the last two seasons for the Jets. Both players are due for big contracts.
Both Connor and Laine are coming off of their entry-level deals. With both becoming staples of the team’s top-six, there’s no doubting that Winnipeg would like to re-sign both. The hard part for the Jets is trying to juggle the money around to keep them both. These two players could take up well over 90 percent of Winnipeg’s remaining $17 million cap space.
Laine and Connor are the future in Winnipeg. The Jets will have a tough time re-signing both at market-value. They’ll surely be looking to swindle one, fighting for a cheaper deal, but the likelihood of that happening is slim. If they can’t re-sign both, rumour has it that Laine will be on his way out.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumor: Diana C. Nearhos from the Tampa Bay Times dives into why Lightning fans have no reason to panic about the fact that the Lightning have yet to sign RFA Brayden Point. Point has been the unsung hero for the Lightning putting up 192 points in his first 229 NHL games.
— Diana C. Nearhos (@dianacnearhos) July 26, 2019
Analysis: Tampa Bay currently has $5 million left in cap space, which will not be enough to sign Point. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. The Lightning are set to place Ryan Callahan on long-term injured reserve due to his career-ending, degenerative, back issue. This will open up a tremendous window for Tampa Bay.
Point said at the end of last season that he expects to be back. Both camps have been in contact throughout the summer. According to Tampa’s general manager, Julien BriseBois, has called these talks very productive. Of all the restricted free agents yet to sign, there’s a clear feeling that Point will be the most likely to return to his prior team.
The Lightning need to get this deal done before the start of training camp. The deal could be done in one of two ways, a bridge deal or a long term deal. A bridge deal could see a contract of 3 years in the $6.5-7 million range. A long term deal could see 6 years with a yearly average of over $8 million.