The NHL continues to play through the pandemic, and with the season moving forward rumours persist. Teams continue to figure out what works and what doesn’t for their roster. Lots of teams are realizing they are not as good as they thought, or realizing they need to add to make them cup contenders. Today we will be looking at NHL rumours surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche, and Philadelphia Flyers.
Analysis: GM Ron Hextall has recently extended forward Jeff Carter. It seems he’s continuing this trend by beginning discussions with his bigger name free agents-to-be. Malkin and Letang have been a part of the Penguins core for as long as they have been competitive. Both have won all three of the Penguins post-lockout cups, being two of three still on the roster to be a part of each cup-winning team. They’re lifelong Penguins and it seems that all parties involved want them to retire as Penguins.
While mutual interest obviously seems to be there, Dreger was sure to stress that discussions were very surface level and this is only the initial stages of talking. The question becomes: what kind of dollar amount and term do you give these older stars? There aren’t many 35+ year-old players of their calibre still. One example is Alex Ovechkin. Recently The Great 8 signed a five-year contract with an AAV of $9,500,000. Another player they could wait to see is Patrice Bergeron. All players are in similar situations. Older players that still hold a high pedigree of sorts. While the skill levels between each of the four players named are different, the situations present themselves as similar.
The term is the biggest question for these players moving forward. Typically a team doesn’t want to give out a lot of years to an old player. However, core players such as these can be different. Conversations starting this early between Hextall and Letang and Malkin is promising. The only question will be the contract details.
Analysis: Giroux is an interesting player around this deadline. He’s been mentioned before as to have complete control in where he goes. The fit between Colorado and Giroux just makes sense. From a wants perspective for Colorado wanting to add even more skill to maybe compliment Nazem Kadri and the amazing season he is having. From Giroux’s perspective, he could land on an elite roster that won the President’s Trophy last season and who are now perennial cup contenders. Giroux’s career may be beginning to wind down, but he still offers a lot as a player.
The thing is, what does Colorado give up? They would likely need Giroux’s cap hit retained by Philly, if not double retained. They have pieces like Alex Newhook and Justin Barron. Or potentially the Flyers are looking at a roster player in exchange? The Avalanche have a plethora of great defencemen in the NHL. Perhaps the Flyers look there for a return. The fit seems to be there, but the cost is the question.
Rumour: According to Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts: The Podcast if Kadri has not re-signed this off-season, he’s a Flyer. Similarly, Johnny Gaudreau is a name that makes sense for the Flyers.
Analysis: Nazem Kadri and Johnny Gaudreau are both having fantastic seasons this year. The Flyers have said they are not going through a 3-5 year rebuild. They are going to compete, or try to compete, for the Stanley Cup next season. If that’s the direction the team has decided to go in, Kadri and Gaudreau both make a lot of sense as players.
Both will be demanding a massive raise from their current contracts. They’re a team that has a lot of money coming off the books next season but also need to make some key re-signings or fill in holes left by free agents. They have the ability to attract these big-name players to Philadelphia with the amount of cap space they can offer. Kadri and Gaudreau will provide value for the Flyers roster if they want to be competitive. The question is should they be trying to be competitive with their current roster?
That’s all for today’s NHL rumours!
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