Training camps are underway and the NHL is closer than ever to making a return. With more of an eye on players, NHL rumours are swirling, especially surrounding pending free agents. There is much uncertainty surrounding the salary cap situation for many teams, many players may hit the open market. Today’s NHL rumours involve the Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights, and the Detroit Red Wings.
EF puts himself in their shoes, talking about Pettersson and Hughes, says he would tell the #Canucks to backload the deal, but that they are worth Marner money, I’m that guy to you, why should I take a short-term deal?
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) July 16, 2020
Analysis: Elias Pettersson quickly established himself as a top tier centre for the Canucks last season. The Calder Trophy winner scored 66 points in his first year as an NHL forward. He was able to match that total in three fewer games this season. With 132 points in 139 career games, Pettersson is among the NHL’s elite. The Canucks would be foolish to not extend his contract as he could attract offer sheets from rival teams.
The unfortunate truth is that Vancouver has a lot of money tied up in players who play smaller roles. One such forward is Loui Eriksson. The 35-year-old is signed through the 2021-22 season at $6 million per year. The team is in similar situations with several players. None of them make outrageous amounts of money, but they are slightly overpaid. With so much of their cap spent on $3-$4 million contracts, they are in a sticky situation. If Pettersson is willing to take a short term deal with slightly less money, he could be in for a massive payday when contracts like Eriksson’s expire.
Vegas Golden Knights
Robin Lehner has been the subject of many NHL rumours. After bouncing around the league for several years, Lehner has taken the next step. He has been playing at the level of a true #1 goaltender. Over three games, Lehner recorded a shutout and averaged 1.67 goals against. His .940 save percentage got his time in Vegas off to a hot start. Lehner is primed to make a big impact in Vegas and could challenge Marc-Andre Fleury
for the starting role.
The odds of Lehner signing another contract worth under $1.5 million are slim to none. As a 28-year-old player, Lehner wants a long term-extension. If he is going to get one, Vegas may be just the place for him. Fleury is 35-years-old. While he has been excellent during his time in Vegas, he won’t be around forever. If Vegas and Lehner can agree on a long term extension that is not unreasonable in terms of cost, Lehner could be the long term answer. In the meantime, having Fleury and Lehner would give Vegas the best goaltending tandem in the NHL.
Detroit Red Wings
Rumour: Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News is writing that the Detriot Red Wings have plenty of cap space to sign several high profile targets in free agency.
The Detriot Red Wings were historically bad this past season. They finished with an abysmal 17-49-5 record that gave them 39 points. The Ottawa Senators were the next worst team in the NHL and still had 23 more points with 62. Looking at the positives going into the offseason, a few of their worst contracts are set to expire. They also dealt Mike Green and Andreas Athanasiou at the deadline, giving them more space to work with.
While it may be difficult to attract high profile free agents to such a bad team, they can consider it a win if they get even one. Players from the Tampa Bay Lightning could be prominent, as Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, and Alex Killorn could all hit the open market. The team needs help in nearly every part of the roster. Jake Allen was also mentioned as a potential replacement for Jimmy Howard. This team is in rough shape. If they can sign some decent players in free agency, they may be able to regain some respect.
That does it for today’s edition of NHL Rumours, stay tuned for another edition in the next few days.
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