Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word on Sports. The Stanley Cup Final is approaching us quickly. That means we’re that much closer to the NHL Entry Draft and free agency. With that comes a ton of NHL rumours. Today, we focus on rumours from the Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild and Arizona Coyotes.
All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: According to Francois Gagnon of RDS (french article) the Canadiens and Joel Edmundson are close to an extension. The deal is expected to be between three to five years with an expected cap hit between $3.5 to $4 million per season.
Analysis: Signing Edmundson to a five-year deal worth anything more than $3.5 million would be a bit of an overkill. With the prospects the Canadiens have on the way up such as Alexander Romanov, Mattias Norlinder, Jordan Harris, and Jayden Struble it would seem insane to lock Edmundson up for such a long-term deal. Even more so when you think he hasn’t really earned such a large deal.
However, a deal identical to Ben Chiarot‘s would be the perfect contract for Edmundson. A three-year deal would be the longest contract Edmundson has signed since his entry-level contract. It would also be the largest salary he has received as well. This is expected, considering he just put up a career year statistically with the Carolina Hurricanes scoring seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points. Getting Edmundson under contract is key for Marc Bergevin as he looks to bring in more size and make his team tougher to play against.
Edmundson plays a similar style to Chiarot and posted very similar numbers to what Chiarot did during the 2018-19 season before signing with the Canadiens. It seems fair to award Edmundson with the same type of contract. The bigger news from this signing is it could spell the end of Victor Mete or Brett Kulak‘s time in Montreal.
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) September 15, 2020
Analysis: With the new contract extension for Jonas Brodin, this should not come as a surprise. Brodin was rewarded with a new seven-year deal worth $6 million per season. He was also given a full no-movement clause with the deal as well.
This means the Wild now have three defencemen with a no-movement clause, Brodin, Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon. This also means that if the Wild elects to protect seven forwards and three defencemen, then those are the three they have to protect. This would leave Dumba exposed. If not, the Wild would have to go with the eight skaters option. And with those three names plus Mats Zuccarello and Zach Parise also holding no-movement clauses, there would only be three spots left. With players like Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek and Jordan Greenway all needing to be protected, the Wild certainly would not want to go that route. So they have an expansion draft dilemma on their hands.
Moving Dumba is the Best Option
When asked if the extension would mean they would be trading another defenceman, Guerin was quoted saying: “We could always think about doing that, but we’re really happy with our D corps the way it is. Not saying I won’t try to do anything else. It was kind of first things first with Jonas, let’s get him locked up, then see where we are.”
With the expansion draft coming, something has to give. The Wild could offer Seattle a trade to stay away from Dumba. However, it may be in their best interest to move the stud defenceman. Dunba would certainly fetch a nice return. With essentially every forward on their roster set to become a free agent of some sort by the end of the 2020-21 season, the Wild will need to find some extra cap space. The Wild could benefit from moving Dumba to a team in exchange for a package that would include a young forward with some scoring punch who is ideally on an entry-level contract to help with their cap situation as well as bring in some much-needed depth up front.
Rumour: Darren Dreger appeared on TSN1040 radio and stated that he is hearing that the Coyotes have basically said that anyone that is 25 or over, make an offer on.
“There is a # of teams that have stressed going below that 81.5 cap & at least a few teams that want to get it into the low 70’s or lower. I heard from a good source today that ARZ has basically said anyone 25 or older, make an offer & they’re willing to listen.” @DarrenDreger pic.twitter.com/zNq6YcyguM
— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) September 15, 2020
Analysis: This stems from teams looking at making an internal cap and sticking to it. A lot of teams are feeling the financial crunch of the global pandemic. This is big for Arizona. They are currently sitting at a projected cap hit of $80.3 million. That’s without Taylor Hall on the books. Essentially meaning Taylor Hall is going to walk. It also means they are still looking to shed salary. With Adin Hill signing a one year, one way deal with the club, chances are he is the new backup. Is one of Antti Raanta or Darcy Kuemper getting moved? The bigger question, is captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson getting moved? His name has been all over the rumours page lately. With a hefty cap hit of $8.25 million AAV for seven more years, the Coyotes would certainly benefit from moving his salary.
Of course, given the situation of the team. They would not be taking back much in salary if they did move Ekman-Larsson, so the price would be early-round picks and top prospects. Which would set the Coyotes into another rebuild. Given the roster that was built by former general manager John Chayka and the shape he left the team in, that may be the best route to take regardless. Despite the team having only one playoff appearance in the last eight years.