We are just four days away from the start of meaningful NHL games. NHL Rumours are starting to pick up as teams are finalizing rosters and front offices will begin to look beyond this season. Major stars will begin contract negotiations. And the crew here at Last Word on Hockey has you covered with the latest news and analysis. In today’s edition of NHL Rumours, we look at the news involving the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders, and Carolina Hurricanes.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Sportsnet analyst Chris Johnston is reporting that the Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender Frederik Andersen are beginning negotiations on a contract extension.
Frederik Andersen, asked whether he’s had discussions on a contract with the #leafs: “There’s been a little bit.”
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 8, 2021
Analysis: The Toronto Maple Leafs have had their best success in the last 10 years with Frederik Andersen in goal. He has been critical to the team’s success and they would surely like to keep him around for a few more years. While Andersen did have a down year last season, this actually works in Toronto’s favour. The team is struggling to find the money to pay the players they already have. They cannot afford to pay Andersen any more than the $5 million per season he makes now. His down year allows them to get away with paying him slightly less. While there may be concerns over his play last season, should he continue to trend in that direction, Andersen is certainly capable of having a bounceback year.
A good price range for Andersen would be around in the range of $5 million. This would likely be a relatively short term deal. If Andersen’s play continues to decline, the Leafs won’t want to be stuck with a lengthy contract. If he bounces back, it will be worth the money. Braden Holtby was able to secure a contract worth $6.1 million per year after having a worse year than Andersen based upon his history. Andersen should be able to accomplish something similar.
New York Islanders
Rumour: Darren Dreger of TSN is reporting that the New York Islanders have not offered a new contract to restricted free agent forward Mathew Barzal.
I will be that guy. It’s not a holdout. Barzal doesn’t have a contract. https://t.co/qwdNgXThpj
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 7, 2021
Analysis: Since the departure of John Tavares, Mathew Barzal has been by far the New York Islanders’ best player. Now it appears they will be without him for the upcoming season. The young forward has 207 points in 234 career games. Scoring at that pace could easily earn him anywhere from $7 million to $9 million. The Islanders will begin the new season on January 14th. They will be headed to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers. If they do not have Barzal signed by then, it may be too late. As a result, they could be moving on without him
If New York wants to keep Barzal, they will have to trade one of their high earning players. The franchise currently has roughly $5 million in salary-cap space. Barzal could take a short term bridge deal in order to get on the ice, but it would not be longer than a year or two. Andrew Ladd’s $5 million contract is one they should look to get rid of. Some teams would likely require a sweetener to take on such an albatross of a deal. This is a very bad situation for the Islanders and they will need to get creative if they want to get Barzal suited up for the 2020-21 NHL season.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Sara Civian is reporting that the Carolina Hurricanes have not been involved in trade discussions.
Don Waddell is very much not working on any trades right now, I’m told. https://t.co/mayKkcahDm
— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) January 8, 2021
This is one of the strangest NHL rumours we have seen in some time. David Pagnotta seems to think that the Carolina Hurricanes are involved in trade discussions for Patrik Laine. Insider Sara Civian appears to disagree. Civian insists that the Hurricanes are not involved in any trade negotiations. The Winnipeg Jets forward is reportedly disgruntled with his playing time and wants out of the organization. Trading for Laine will not be easy. Carolina only has about $2 million in salary-cap space. Laine’s $6.75 million contract would require the Canes to shed roughly $5 million to make a deal happen.
While the Hurricanes may be interested in Laine, it is not an easy deal to make happen. With the current financial situation, the NHL is in, there is too much uncertainty for Carolina to make this happen. As it stands, the Hurricanes may be more interested in upgrading other areas of their roster first. While this is certainly a confusing situation, one thing is certain. It won’t be easy for any team to bring Patrik Laine onto the roster.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours. Be sure to check back for more tomorrow.
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