Benning shares thoughts on draft, Eriksson trade rumors
Each day through the NHL Draft on June 21-22 and free agency on July 1, TSN.ca breaks down the latest news and rumours around the NHL.
Down to the Wire?
The Philadelphia Flyers traded a fifth-round pick last week to acquire Kevin Hayes' negotiating rights from the Winnipeg Jets, but with the clock ticking towards July 1, the two sides have still yet to reach a contract.
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher remained optimistic about talks with the 27-year-old centre on Monday.
"I've had some good preliminary conversations with Kevin and his representation," Fletcher said. "This week, I expect to follow up with Kevin and his camp and we'll see where it goes. I don't know how to characterize it other than we've had good conversations and we're hopeful we can find a way to make something work."
However, AJ Haefele of BSN Denver reports talks between the two sides "haven't really gone great so far." He adds the door remains open for a deal, but the Flyers are racing the clock before June 23 when Hayes can begin speaking to other teams.
Fletcher admitted Monday that Hayes may want to see out the free agent process for the first time in his career.
"I don't have a vibe other than he's certainly open-minded," Fletcher added. "You have to remember, it's also two or three weeks away from getting to July 1. That's a nice status to attain in this league. Certainly he's earned that right and we're respectful of that, but I think we have a lot to offer here in Philly. We'll continue to speak to him and he's open-minded to conversations, or at least that's what his camp has said to us and obviously we have strong interest in him."
The general manager also stated once again on Monday that the team's first-round draft pick could be in play this month as he looks to continue to revamp the team's roster.
“As you get closer things can change,” Fletcher said. “If we keep our pick and stay at 11, we’re gonna get a really good player. It is a really good chip and there are scenarios where I wouldn’t hesitate to move it if it could really help our team. Most of our conversations haven’t really involved the pick at this point in speaking with teams. In a couple weeks we can speak to agents about free agents. We’ll get a better sense there.”
No Squeeze Here
The Chicago Blackhawks have been through their fair share of cap crunches in recent history, but as general manager Stan Bowman told The Athletic, the team is facing no such troubles this year.
“There are other teams facing that challenge even now,” Bowman said. “I talked to some of them just the other day. ‘I’ve gotta sign so-and-so, and we’ve gotta find some room, so I’ll probably have to move this guy, even though I don’t want to move him.’ For us, it’ll be different.”
According to CapFriendly, the Blackhawks are projected to have over $20 million in space on a projected $83 million salary cap with 17 players already under contract for next season. Mark Lazerus of The Athletic notes that the team will likely have $15-$17 million in space once restricted free agents Brandon Perlini, David Kampf and Gustav Forsling are re-signed, but the team will be tight on roster spots.
Bowman told Lazerus that he's willing to continue to bring in players in free agency to improve the team and put off making roster decisions in fall.
“That’s not a concern of mine,” Bowman said. “I would rather have an over-full roster and then try to sort through it in training camp. We may have a lot of guys signed now, but some of them might be traded. Or if they don’t (get traded), and we add free agents, we’ll have to figure out the guys that are the right mix and then pare it down later. The focus is not trying to set your roster in June, when you don’t have to really set it until October. I think those things have a way of working themselves out. I’d rather have an over-full roster, and if we make some signings or if we make some trades, there’s certainly some players we could move out in trade discussions.”
The Blackhawks, who made the playoffs in nine straight seasons from 2008-2017 and won three Stanley Cups in that stretch, missed the playoffs for the second straight year this season. Bowman admitted that his roster remains a work in progress
“It’s just trying to find the right mix of guys that fit together,” Bowman said. “And we’re a long way from knowing what that is right now.”
Ready to Talk?
Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Justin Faulk has heard his name involved in trade rumours with just one season left on his contract, but it appears he could soon be off the market.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun wrote in The Athletic that the Hurricanes have already reached out Faulk's camp to gauge his interest in a contract extension and LeBrun adds Faulk has "some interest" in doing so.
LeBrun notes the Hurricanes would still consider trading Faulk if a team made them an "intriguing" offer, but adds the Hurricanes may wind up keeping all three of their right-hand shots - Faulk, Dougie Hamilton and Jaccob Slavin - this off-season, something that seemed doubtful during the season.
Faulk, 27, has spent his entire career with the Hurricanes since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 Draft. He posted 11 goals and 35 points in 82 games this season while averaging 22:25 of ice time per game. He carries a $4.83 million cap hit for next season and has a 15-team no-trade list.