This edition of NHL Rumours will take a look at some of the best teams so far this season. The New York Rangers could be in on the Jakob Chychrun sweepstakes. The Tampa Bay Lightning will probably lose another longtime veteran this offseason. Finally, the Carolina Hurricanes won’t be able to keep one of their productive forwards. Welcome back to NHL Rumours.
New York Rangers
Jacob Chychrun is a very good NHL player. In fact, he is probably the best young asset the Arizona Coyotes currently have. If the Rangers want to make a run for the talented blue-liner, the cost will be high. Thankfully for General Manager Chris Drury, the Rangers have a boatload of solid prospects. The Coyotes will surely want at least one of them in return. K’Andre Miller is a likely candidate to be on the move, in addition to picks and likely another middling prospect.
While that cost may seem steep, it would be worth it for a defenceman of Chychrun’s calibre. He is already a capable top-four defenceman and could still improve his game. On top of that, he is locked in at $4.6 million until the end of the 2024-25 season. Whoever gets him will have him for a while. The only risk is that he becomes an unrestricted free agent when the current deal comes to an end.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: Joe Smith of the Athletic is reporting that Alex Killorn and/or Ondrej Palat could be leaving Tampa Bay this offseason.
As the winners of the last two Stanley Cups and are currently looking to make it a three-peat, we know the Lightning have one of the best teams in pro hockey. They have top-tier talent and depth to go along with it. Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn have been a massive part of their success. However, every team that finds a way to win games must pay the piper eventually. We saw a cap crunch hit Tampa Bay this offseason and it appears that it will trickle down this year as well.
Palat is the most likely candidate to go. He is an unrestricted free agent and carries a cap hit of $5.3 million per year. Unless he signs one of the most team-friendly deals in NHL history, we can count him out after this year. There is one caveat though. The team could find that money elsewhere. Alex Killorn is a player that Tampa already tried to move on from and didn’t find the right offer. He makes $4.5 million per year. Both players were left unprotected at the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. Considering the current cap situation, it appears unlikely that both will return for another run.
The Hurricanes are in a similar situation to Tampa Bay in that they are spending right to the salary cap. They just haven’t been able to replicate their success. Vincent Trocheck was a big trade deadline acquisition for them a few seasons ago and they would like to retain him. They value winger Nino Niederreiter just as much. But it probably won’t be possible to keep both of them.
Martin Necas is due for a new contract at the end of the season. So are Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ethan Bear. While all three are restricted free agents, there will likely need to be a lot of money spent between the three of them. More than enough to make up one of their contracts. There won’t be room for Niederreiter and Trocheck. As good as they have been, the team has their replacements waiting in the wings. As much as it will sting to let one of them go, the salary cap will force them to say goodbye to a veteran player.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours, be sure to check back tomorrow for more.