Hockey is nearly back and NHL rumours continue to swirl. Several players have recently agreed to contracts with new teams as the season approaches. Teams are not done making moves. One such player from the Columbus Blue Jackets has just signed a new contract but that has not stopped trade chatter. The Vancouver Canucks are looking to add another veteran defenceman. Finally, the Los Angeles Kings could use their extra cap space to add excess talent from other teams.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Analysis: In recent years, plenty of stars have walked out of the door at Nationwide Arena and never looked back. Dubois could be the next player on that list. Although the budding star just signed a two-year extension with the Jackets, he still wants to move on. This contract is simply a bridge deal. This will give the Blue Jackets more time to find a trade partner for Dubois while keeping him on the ice.
Something important to note is that Dubois is a restricted free agent. The only reason he signed this contract is that he has no leverage with the Blue Jackets. Dubois and his agent were reportedly involved in offer sheet conversations with other franchises. While those talks never came to fruition, it is uncommon for players to be offer-sheeted. Dubois’ camp will need to find a trade in order to get out of Ohio.
Rumour: Rick Dhaliwal of TSN 1040 is reporting that the Cancucks could be interested in signing free-agent defenceman Sami Vatanen.
The #Canucks have checked in with the agent for UFA D Sami Vatanen.
Just kicking tires.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) December 30, 2020
The Vancouver Canucks are a young team that wants to build upon their success from last season. They feel the need to bolster their defence in order to do so. They have reportedly kicked the tires on free agent Sami Vatanen. Vatanen is a talented two-way defenceman who most recently played for the New Jersey Devils. In 434 career NHL games, he has 194 points. He could easily slot into a bottom pairing role on a team that is already solid defensively.
In any other year, a player of Vatanen’s calibre would have already been signed. COVID-19 and a flat salary cap have made it more difficult for these players to find teams to sign with. Teams just do not have the space to sign these players to contracts worthy of their talents. Vatanen is simply the latest player to fall victim to these challenging times. Hopefully, he will bring his talents to the Cancuks roster this season.
Los Angeles Kings
Rumour: Los Angeles Kings insider Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period is reporting that the front office may pursue trades with cap-strapped teams.
LAK GM Rob Blake says he would explore a deal comparable to the Ottawa-Tampa one, utilizing cap space to acquire assets and has had conversations with teams with cap issues.
— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) December 30, 2020
The Kings hope to return to their championship days in the near future. They could start trending in that direction this season. With the development of several top prospects and the addition of second overall pick Quinton Byfield, Los Angeles projects to be a much-improved team. They also have a large amount of salary cap space remaining. They could use this space to not only help other teams stay under the cap but help themselves long term.
One player who has been commonly linked to trade discussions is Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is being paid a hefty salary of $5.5 million. The Lightning have many players they would surely like to retain and Johnson does not fit their long-term plans. At 30 years old, Johnson still has plenty of hockey left in his career. The Kings could be a team that trades for him to not only add additional talent to their lineup but to also help Tampa stay under the salary cap.
That does it for today’s edition of NHL rumours. Be sure to check back for more tomorrow!
Embed from Getty Images