As training camp nears, many teams are feeling the pressure. While some fight to re-sign star RFAs, others look for ways to fight their way under the salary cap. This has sparked a host of NHL rumours. Today, the Last Word on Hockey team will cover NHL rumours surrounding the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Jake Gardiner.
New York Rangers
Rumour: Larry Brooks of New York Post mentioned that Chris Kreider‘s name is “out there everywhere” for Rangers rumours. Nothing seems immediate but there is potential in the future.
Cannot say that there is necessarily anything brewing but a couple of industry sources report that “Kreider’s name is out there everywhere.” Rangers’ buyout window closes at 5 PM tomorrow.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) July 30, 2019
Analysis: This was before the Rangers bought out Kevin Shattenkirk, however, a Kreider trade could still make sense. Shattenkirk was bought out for cap reasons but the Rangers may not be done. Kreider is already 28 and while New York isn’t “rebuilding” anymore, they are going to need money. A generally younger core means that paying Kreider may not make sense.
On top of this, Shattenkirk’s buyout will cost the Rangers a $6 million cap hit next season according to CapFriendly. Kreider is still a very good player for any team to pick up. No doubt the Rangers would want to keep him but the timeline just doesn’t make sense. Combine the fact of needing cap space along with Kreider fetching a good return and you have a scenario that makes lots of sense. Look for Kreider’s name to be in NHL Rumours a lot this upcoming season.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: TSN reported that Tampa Bay’s GM Julien Brisebois said that goalie Louis Domingue could find a new home soon.
Brisebois’s full quote was “(The goalie) market is fickle. It can change in a hurry. You can go from no one looking for a goaltender to three teams looking for a goaltender. I’ve had ongoing talks with a couple of organizations, and hopefully, something pans out over the next coming weeks here. I’m fairly confident he’ll find a new home prior to the start of the season.”
This news comes after Tampa traded for goaltender Mike Condon. The Lightning have a log-jam in the net and it makes sense that they will be looking to move at least one goalie. It appears the 27-year-old Domingue is that goalie. Domingue posted a .908 in 26 games played last year.
He has been a career backup with his save percentage almost always being in the low .900’s. A team looking for a backup could take a swing at Domingue. The cost of acquiring him likely will not be much and his cap hit is just over 1 million, making him an all-in-all low-risk acquisition. He can also be buried in the minors for under 100k if he becomes a third-string option. Look for some team to take a flyer on Domingue, even if it happens closer to the season’s beginning.
Rumour: Michael Russo of The Athletic reported that Jake Gardiner may have a “handshake deal” with a team. However, the team in question needs to clear out cap space before they can sign him.
Analysis: This could explain why Gardiner has yet to be signed. James Mirtle of The Athletic reported a few weeks back that Gardiner’s back, which has been cause for concern, is indeed fine. Despite that, he has yet to find a deal.
Russo did not mention which team may be in on Gardiner but any cap-clearing trades, especially one involving a defenceman, could be a sign. There are still plenty of teams that may feel they need an extra player on the blue line before the season.
Gardiner is a very debated player as he does tons of small things correctly but also has makes some huge errors. At the end of the day, he could help just about any team’s top-four with the puck-moving and offensive abilities that he has. He is a better fit on the second pair but could also ride shotgun on a first if needed. Look for Gardiner to have a home by the time training camps come around.
That’s all for NHL Rumours! Check in again tomorrow for more!