NHL Rumours: New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders

NHL Rumours
Spread the love

Hello and welcome to the Tuesday edition of NHL Rumours! Training camps begin this Thursday for the seven teams who did not make the playoffs. While the rest of the league starts on January 3rd. As we have seen over the past few days teams are trying to finalize their roster by bringing players in on professional tryouts or signing them to one-year deals. Check-in with Last Word on Hockey every day for the latest news and analysis.  Today’s NHL Rumours feature the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, and New York Islanders

All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL free agent frenzy

NHL Rumours

New Jersey Devils

Rumour: Dave Pagnotta of the Fourth Period joined the Last Word on Hockey Show (found here) and said there is a belief that forward Kyle Palmieri wants to sign an extension with the New Jersey Devils.

Analysis: Look things can always change, but it is a good sign that one of the team’s goal scorers wants to remain with the Devils and the feeling is mutual. As Pagnotta explains there have been ongoing talks throughout the off-season, but given the financial landscape of the league, these talks will be tabled for later on in the season. Palmieri is a New Jersey kid who wants to play for the Devils. Ever since he came over from the Anaheim Ducks, he has found a home on the top line with the Devils.

He has averaged between 25-30 goals each season with the Devils. It would be difficult to replace that kind of production for such a young team. As general manager Tom Fitzgerald said at the trade deadline, “players like Palmieri don’t grow on trees.”

The fact that Fitzgerald believes Palmieri can be a vital piece to what the Devils are building is a good sign. Not to mention, having veteran leadership on the team will help with the development of Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. Now there is a possibility a team could blow the socks off of Fitzgerald at this year’s trade deadline, but it would have to be a “Godfather type of offer” in order to get Palmieri out of New Jersey. When asked about the potential length of the new contract for Palmieri, Pagnotta expects it to be in the three-four year range.

St. Louis Blues

Rumour: Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic writes that the expectation is for Mike Hoffman to receive a one-year deal from the St. Louis Blues prior to the start of the 2020-21 regular season.

Analysis: The Blues pulled off one of the shrewdest moves of the off-season when they brought in Hoffman on a PTO. The initial reaction was like… WHAT? The Blues did What? But after the initial reaction wears off, you realize this is a pretty savvy move as Rutherford explains. The Blues can’t officially move money to long term injury reserve until the start of the season. With Vladimir Tarasenko missing most of the season after recovering from shoulder surgery and Alex Steen‘s retirement, the Blues will have enough money to sign Hoffman and Vince Dunn. However, those contracts cannot be done until the start of the season.

It was expected that Hoffman was going to receive big money deals from teams this off-season. However, once the salary cap remained at $81.5 million, those offers were few and far between. So the next best thing is to sign a one-year deal. Going to a place like St. Louis will be good for him. The addition of Hoffman will make the Blues better. It is expected that his deal will be for somewhere in the range of $3.5 million to $4.5 million. That is a good number for a player who is known for being a goal scorer. Plus Hoffman has the ability to raise his stock if he can produce at the rate he did last season.

New York Islanders

Rumour: Luke Fox of Sportsnet looks at the remaining restricted free agents on the market including Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders. Both the Islanders and Barzal are in constant communication and are hoping to get a deal done before camp. 

Analysis: The Islanders are in a tricky situation with the salary cap. They have about $3.9 million in projected cap space entering the season. General manager Lou Lamoriello had to be creative this off-season to make sure no team would offer sheet Barzal. He had to trade Devon Toews to open up space. The Isles can go over the cap by placing defenceman Johnny Boychuk on LTIR. In addition, the Islanders could send Andrew Ladd down to the minors to open up even more cap space. Not to mention, the Islanders have potential deals in place with unrestricted free-agents Matt Martin, Andy Greene, and Cory Schneider effectively lowering their cap space.

Lamoriello and Barzal’s agent are in constant communication about a new contract. The belief is the team is offering Barzal somewhere around $7.5 million. Barzal is looking for more. Not too much is known as Lamoriello keeps things close to the vest. Nobody really knows what type of contract he is looking for, but you’ve got to believe a long-term deal and security is something Barzal wants. What is known is that Barzal is willing to take a team-friendly deal like Ryan Pulock to keep the team a contender for the foreseeable future. A team-friendly bridge deal might be the best route at this point.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images