Five potential moves to watch before next season in the NHL

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While the two best words in hockey are “Game 7”, the most exciting words to associate with off-ice activities are “pressure point”.
Whether it’s the trade deadline, the NHL Draft, or the days that directly mark the start of free will, there are specific times in the hockey calendar that spark movement. The start of a new season represents another time when the going gets tough, as teams are finally forced to deal with issues they were able to avoid during the duck days of the offseason, including downsides. salary cap, contractual negotiations blocked. and – from time to time – a good old disgruntled gamer.

The last time we had training camps in September, the defending St. Louis Blues champion acquired Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes and gave him a $ 45 million stretch he wasn’t going to. get Canes. A year ago, huge subplots in Montreal and Ottawa were finally resolved when the Canadiens moved Max Pacioretty to Vegas (more on Max later) and the Sens sent Erik Karlsson to the Sharks in moves that have took place with less than a month to go before the puck-drop on a new campaign.

As we move closer to a shortened season that everyone is hoping for, there are lingering situations in the league that could – and in some cases need to – be resolved before the opening game of the 2021 campaign. Most Intriguing are listed below.

Tampa Bay Crunch Head

The Bolts have signed one of two key tenders this offseason – Mikhail Sergachev put his pen to paper on November 25, while Anthony Cirelli has yet to agree on terms – and we are now in the game. phase of questions “No, really” how the champions in defense will pass under the cap. Shortly after winning the Cup, speculation erupted that Tampa would at least explore the option of making $ 8.5 million by dealing with Steven Stamkos. The captain, of course, has a no-move clause and by the time you take out the teams he has no interest in playing for and those who just can’t do it under their own hats, the list of contenders. legitimate evaporates quickly. .

Alex Killorn – who can only veto trade with 16 teams – has long heard his name appear in the context of ceiling causation. He’s a great player making $ 4.5 million against the cap for the next three years. Surely Tampa could find a dance partner there, but that probably won’t loosen the belt enough once Cirelli signs on.

Vegas Crunch Head

Either way, the Golden Knights are surrounded as a team that both needs to pay cash, but could also be in the aforementioned Stamkos if it becomes available. Say this about the horny Vegas hockey club; he certainly adopted the uninhibited mentality of his city.

The Alex Pietrangelo equation in, Nate Schmidt out of the equation always leaves Vegas in a position where he has to make a move. Names like Pacioretty, Marc-André Fleury and Jonathan Marchessault have walked the rumor mill. General manager Kelly McCrimmon said in October that Fleury would not be traded and that in fact the Knights could rely heavily on the franchise’s original face as battery witness Robin Lehner underwent surgery on the franchise. shoulder off season. Owner Bill Foley recently said Pacioretty is not going anywhere so maybe there is non-stop smoke.

Either way, there are titillating forces at play because Vegas is all-in, has to do something, and has a well-established desire to make all-caps moves.

Patrik laine

If Vegas is a fast-twitch muscle when it comes to monster deals, Winnipeg moves with the speed of a fingernail. Famous Managing Director Kevin Cheveldayoff won’t be rushed into anything and there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the Wool Trade. Still, that situation hasn’t looked completely healthy for a long time and this offseason has seen what appears to be the most serious version of the talk around that Laine won’t be happy unless he secures a spot in the league. Winnipeg front line.

We have mentioned the role that pressure points play in achieving agreements. Well, Laine is now essentially seven months away from becoming an RFA for the second time in three summers. He’s also getting closer and closer to being able to go for nothing as a UFA, which is basically why Winnipeg finally parted ways with Jacob Trouba – another guy who never wanted Manitoba – ahead of the draft. 2019 NHL.

Laine would be an attractive player for all kinds of teams, so if one of them spits, maybe it will eventually happen.

New York Islanders Crunch Cap

When much of fall and early winter has been spent wondering if there will be a season, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that one of the game’s best young stars – Mathew Barzal – is still without a contract. Getting Barzal inked seemed to require some serious inge-lou-ity (2020 has robbed us so much; we can keep silly puns) from GM Lou Lamoriello, but the math changed when Johnny Boychuk retired due to an eye injury. The blue-liner’s $ 6million hit can now move into long-term injury reserve, creating leeway for a New York club that has already bitten and shipped promising defenseman Devon Toews into the Colorado Avalanche because he didn’t. I have no room to offer him a new deal.

We know that at last year’s trade deadline, the Islanders and the Minnesota Wild were on the path to a deal that would have seen Zach Parise move east and send Andrew Ladd to the state. hockey. Ladd has three years to play with a $ 5.5 million hit against the cap, so while the Islanders would need to inject some serious sweetener, a rebuilding team devoid of cap issues might be willing to acquire a citizen. solid who won a Cup and served as captain. from an NHL club.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

In theory, the book was closed on this when the Arizona Coyotes failed to respond to OEL’s requests to be transferred before free agency started to the Vancouver Canucks or Boston Bruins. . The Canucks subsequently acquired Schmidt from Vegas, so we’ll assume they won’t be adding another defenseman anytime soon – especially one with an $ 8.25 million AAV.

Boston, however, could still be hiding in the weeds. The B’s certainly don’t have a ton of cap space, but if they line up the pieces, it’s conceivable that they could still add 29-year-old Ekman-Larsson to a club that’s on the verge of get his last kicks. .

And, of course, if Coyote’s career agreed to expand the roster of teams he would consider, the new “Zona GM Bill Armstrong could certainly make something work.”

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