Each day through the NHL Draft June 21-22 and free agency on July 1, TSN.ca breaks down the latest news and rumours around the NHL.
More to Come?
Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press believes trading Jacob Trouba on Monday night was simply the first domino in a busy off-season for the Winnipeg Jets.
McIntyre notes that with the Jets still needing to free cap space for Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Andrew Copp, Nikolaj Ehlers name has surfaced in trade rumours and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff left the door open Monday for more changes to come.
"There’s lots of things on the go. It’s probably an unprecedented time of conversation between all the general managers. We’ll see if there’s some other things that make some sense for us going forward," Cheveldayoff said.
"We've still got lots of moving parts or balls in the air, so to speak. There's no question we have a challenging summer still ahead of us."
If the team elects to trade Ehlers, McIntyre suspects it will be to fill a need either on the blueline or at centre since the Jets remain in a win-now mindset.
Ehlers, 23, scored 21 goals and posted 37 points in 62 games last season. He is signed for six more years at a $6 million cap hit.
New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said Monday he hopes acquiring Trouba will simply be remembered as one of his many moves this summer.
“It’s a tone-setter [for the off-season],” Gorton said. “Will there be more moves? I hope so.”
Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes that Trouba is expected to play alongside fellow off-season addition Adam Fox in the team's top pairing next season and wondered if his addition could lead the team to buy out defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk.
“I don’t have an answer on that right now,” Gorton said when asked Monday's deal made a buyout more likely. “Maybe I will be able to answer that better closer to the draft.”
Brooks believes that Trouba, a restricted free agent, is likely to command a salary in the range of $7.5-$8 million on a long-term deal this summer, meaning the team will need to shed salary if they're going to pursue Artemi Panarin on the free agent market come July 1.
While buyouts remain an option for Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith, Brooks believes the Rangers could also elect to trade Chris Kreider, who is entering the final year of his contract. Brooks notes that Kreider is likely to command at least $6.5 million on his next deal and the Rangers could instead elect to trade him for a first-round pick at this week's draft. Gorton said Monday he has engaged with Kreider’s camp on preliminary talks.
“I’ve had a couple of short conversations with [Kreider’s agent],” Gorton said. “We’ll talk more. We’ll see how it evolves.”
Kreider, 28, scored 28 goals and posted 52 points in 79 games this season. TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger said Tuesday Kreider is among several Rangers forwards who could be in play this week, along with Jimmy Vesey, Vladislav Namestnikov and Pavel Buchnevich.
Andrew Gross of Newsday notes the New York Islanders were among the teams pursuing Trouba before Monday's trade and were also likely to make a run at Erik Karlsson on July 1 before he re-signed in San Jose.
Gross, however, expects Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello to remain aggressive this summer as he looks to upgrade his roster. Gross believes that the emergence of defenceman Devon Toews this season and having Noah Dobson in the system could allow the Islanders to shop veteran Nick Leddy as they search for another top-six forward.
With a projected $22 million in cap space, Gross also wonders if Lamoriello could look to sign Jake Gardiner or Tyler Myers on the free agent market to upgrade the top end of his blueline. He adds that Tampa Bay Lightning veteran Anton Stralman could also be a useful addition.
The Islanders, who have re-signed Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle so far this off-season, still face the possibility of losing captain Anders Lee and starting goaltender Robin Lehner to free agency.