The NHL season marches on through its second week and the stories don’t stop. That also means a number of exciting NHL rumours to examine. Last Word on Hockey remains committed to bringing fans the best analysis it can. Today’s rumours feature the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, and Boston Bruins.
Rumour: Kent Wilson of The Athletic Calgary takes a dive into the Flames increasingly complex cap situation.
Analysis: Calgary is in a very tough position when it comes to their contracts. They have just $163,000 in cap space according to the most recent figure on CapFriendly. That is a number so small the team can’t even afford to put another body on the roster; the Flames are operating with 22 players which is one below the maximum. They are relatively fine unless something changes and forces a roster move. There will be some hefty juggling between the NHL and AHL levels depending on the team’s immediate needs.
The team could also choose to trade one of any number of players who are approaching free agency next summer. Austin Czarnik and Mark Jankowski are two potential casualties. Both are in their mid-20s but neither is particularly important when it comes to Calgary’s bottom-six. Moving one or both for cheaper alternatives such as Dillon Dube would clear over a million dollars in space.
There is also the distinct possibility that Calgary could move on from a defender. T.J. Brodie has a cap hit of $4.65 million and is coming up for unrestricted free agency after this season. The career Flame is a steady presence but is playing his fewest minutes since his 2011-12 season. Moving him could open up a spot for defence prospect Juuso Valimaki once the 21-year-old returns from injury. Oliver Kylington is another cost-effective alternative at Calgary’s disposal. It is safe to expect some sort of move from Calgary before the trade deadline depending on how the season develops to that point.
Rumour: Mike Heika of DallasStars.com answered questions recently and briefly explored the idea of an early trade to fix the team’s early woes.
Analysis: Few expected Dallas to struggle this early in the year. The 1-3-1 Stars have very little top-six production and have gotten crushed with injuries. Blake Comeau, Corey Perry, and Jason Dickinson are some of the names expected to play lots of minutes this season. They also sent Denis Gurianov back to the AHL so he can regain his confidence after a slow start. Finally, Martin Hanzal was placed on long-term injured reserve to shift his $4.75 million cap hit. The numerous moves have left Dallas in the need of bodies and a spark.
The Stars have just over $2.5 million in cap space. That leaves enough room to sign for someone with upside like Jesse Puljujarvi who is doing well in Finland. Puljujarvi has 14 points in 14 games with Karpat and has wanted the Edmonton Oilers to trade him since the summer. Dallas’ wings aren’t all that exciting so Puljujarvi would have an immediate opportunity to step into important minutes if the trade and subsequent contract were signed. Otherwise, the Stars will see what their current group can do as the fall portion of the season continues.
Rumour: Joe Haggerty of NBC sports recently went into a number of mailbag topics revolving around the Boston Bruins’ roster composition.
Analysis: Boston is currently one of the more top-heavy teams in the NHL this year. Five of their nine goals through Saturday night were scored by Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Nobody else has more than one. That is mildly concerning as the Bruins are certainly capable of challenging for a Stanley Cup with a roster entirely intact from its 2018-19 run. Some shuffling could be in order if the bottom-nine continue to underwhelm.
Danton Heinen or Charlie Coyle are two names that could move around. Heinen had a fine 2018-19 with 11 goals and 34 points while Coyle was a consistent top-six player with the Minnesota Wild. Coyle is particularly intriguing as a second-line wing next to Jake DeBrusk and veteran David Krejci. That could shift Heinan to the centre or remain on the wing with fellow 24-year-old Karson Kuhlman. Boston has a poor farm but does have a few million in cap space thanks to the injured reserve. They could attempt a trade as they seem to be in a similar situation as Dallas. Boston does have the benefit of a solid blue line and a great top line but a lack of offence will only go so far in the modern NHL.
NHL Rumours Main Photo: LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: TJ Brodie #7 of the Calgary Flames shoots against Alex Tuch #89 of the Vegas Golden Knights in the first period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on March 6, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)