Hello and welcome to the Tuesday edition of NHL Rumours! We are about a month away from the start of the next NHL Season. However, that is not official yet. All eyes are on the NHL as we wait for the official announcement to the start of the 2020-21 season. However, once that happens activity around the league will start to increase. Last Word on Hockey will continue to bring you the best news and analysis each day even when things are a little slower than normal. Today’s NHL Rumours feature the Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, and Mikael Granlund.
Vegas Golden Knights
Rumour: It was recently reported that the Vegas Golden Knights were looking to shop forward Max Pacioretty. However, owner Bill Foley, who was recently on 8newsnow in Las Vegas talking about his new business venture and was asked about the rumour and adamantly denied it.
Analysis: Bill Foley is not one to mince his words. He has a vision of the Golden Knights lifting the Stanley Cup within the first five years of existence. They almost did it in the very first year. However, since that run to the Stanley Cup Final, Bill Foley has been one of the more active owners in the NHL. Every offseason he has gone out and acquired the most coveted player on the market. First, it was Pacioretty, then it was Mark Stone, and then Alex Pietrangelo. And this strategy has put the Golden Knights in salary cap hell. Which Foley acknowledges in the interview. Now they must figure out a way to get under the salary cap by the start of the season. Even if the Golden Knights do not trade Pacioretty, they still need to make a move. But if not Pacioretty then who?
Well, the Golden Knights could still try to move Marc-Andre Fleury‘s money off the books. Having two goalies on the books making close to $12 million does not help the cap situation one bit. But who will take his contract? Other names that have been mentioned have been Jonathan Marchessault and Alec Martinez. According to CapFriendly, Marchessault is owed $5 million over the next three seasons. Moving him would allow the Golden Knights to get another player at a cheaper cost. The most obvious move is trading Martinez. Even though the Golden Knights just traded for him, he is a UFA at the end of the year. Vegas needs to make a move and make it fast with the season right around the corner.
Rumour: James O’Brien of NBC Sports recently discussed the Carolina Hurricanes goaltending situation and their decision to stick with goaltenders Petr Mrazek and James Reimer rather than upgrade during this past offseason. He wonders if that is an area they will look at during the trade deadline.
Analysis: Entering this season, the Hurricanes are going with two goalies that will unrestricted agents at the end of the season. This past free agency saw the market flooded with goalies. The Hurricanes had a chance to upgrade that position with guys like Corey Crawford, Thomas Greiss, Jacob Markstrom and others. Instead, the organization decided to go with Mrazek and Reimer. Mrazek and Reimer were solid for the Hurricanes last season as they made it back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, that duo failed to get the Hurricanes past the Boston Bruins in the first round. Understanding that duos are a part of the modern NHL and it is something the Hurricanes have perfected, why not upgrade instead of being patient? What is the reward there?
It’s not like either guy lit the world on fire last season. Granted at times both guys were hurt, but still if there is a chance to upgrade you do it. The problem is the Hurricanes only have about $900,000 in cap space this season. And with a flat cap for the next couple of years, that could play a role in the decision of sticking with this duo. For now, it appears the Hurricanes will ride with this duo to start the season. And hopefully, both guys step up this season to earn contracts for next year or the Hurricanes will be in a hurry to find not only a replacement for this year but for years going forward.
Rumour: In her most recent column Emily Sadler of Sportsnet looks at the remaining UFAs on the market and where their potential landing spots could be. She specifically looks at Mikael Granlund and how the Columbus Blue Jackets and Hurricanes are looking to upgrade their scoring.
Analysis: It is hard to imagine that a player like Mikael Granlund is still on the free-agent market. However, this is the world we live in as COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the NHL’s salary cap. Last season was definitely a down year for Granlund. He only recorded 30 points (17 goals and 13 assists) in 64 games last season with the Nashville Predators. He was never really a fit with the Predators but did show sparks of his old offensive self. And maybe finding a new like in Columbus or Carolina will do him some good. Columbus is continuing to be active this off-season. And they could definitely use a player like Granlund to go along with guys like Cam Atkinson, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Max Domi.
And there is Carolina. As previously mentioned they do not have much cap space, to begin with. In fact, if they were to bring in Granlund it might just be on PTO or a cheap one-year deal. But Granlund’s fate is tied to Mike Hoffman. Once Hoffman signs, Granlund will soon follow. What is most interesting is that Nashville still has an interest in him. Despite the fit not being a good one, the Predators need offensive help.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumour. Be sure to check back for daily for more of the latest NHL Rumours.
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