NHL Off-Season Rumours: Ilya Kovalchuk, Milan Lucic, Jack Johnson

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VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 28: Edmonton Oilers Left Wing Milan Lucic (27) celebrates his third period empty net goal in front of Vancouver Canucks Defenceman Alexander Edler (23) during a NHL hockey game on October 28, 2016, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. Edmonton won 2-0. (Photo by Bob Frid/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Photo by Bob Frid/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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It’s time for another edition of NHL off-season rumours. There will be a lot of speculation on what players may be on the move before the start of free agency on July 1. Some big names could be on the move, including Ilya Kovalchuk and Milan Lucic

Today we look at more at Kovalchuk’s trip around the league, the continuing rumours surrounding Lucic and the Edmonton Oilers, Jack Johnson‘s ideal cap hit, and other small rumours around the league.

Ilya Kovalchuk

Rumour: TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the Detroit Red Wings might also be among the teams interested in Kovalchuk.

Analysis: It’s no surprise that Detroit is pushing for the 35-year-old forward. They’ve been desperately looking for offence since star forward Pavel Datsyuk left to play in the KHL with Kovalchuk. The team is far from a cup contender, unlike the San Jose Sharks or Los Angeles Kings that Kovalchuk met with last week, and a lot of sources are questioning why Kovalchuk would even sign with Detroit. If he ends up signing, somehow, he’d be a great addition to a weak and young roster.

The one thing Detroit has going for them is cap space. Kovalchuk left the league because of money issues and will likely be just as dramatic this time around. The Wings currently have about $17 million to play around with this off-season, though a good chunk of that will go towards re-signing young stars like Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou.

Milan Lucic

Rumor: In thought 22 of his 31 thoughts, SB Nation’s Elliotte Friedman said that Milan Lucic is working avidly with the Edmonton Oilers to find a trade.

Analysis: Lucic was reportedly denied a trade earlier in the year, after putting in a request. The 30-year-old power-forward is signed through the 2022-23 season at a $6 million cap hit. In his second season with Edmonton, Lucic had fewer points and more penalty minutes than his first year. With the dynamic duo of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid finally coming to life, Lucic didn’t seem too necessary.

Cap space comes into place with Lucic too. He’s a hefty contract, especially for an older player who didn’t seem very productive last year. Any deal he’s involved in would have to be fairly noteworthy just to meet the cap. He is still a great strongman for any team looking for extra grit, but it seems like there’d be cheaper options in free agency or through smaller trades.

Jack Johnson

Rumor: Jack Johnson has reportedly set his price at $6 million, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie during a radio hit on TSN 690.

Analysis: During the radio show, McKenzie analyzed the likelihood of Johnson going to the Montreal Canadiens. This thought was reiterated by Friedman in the aforementioned 31 thoughts article. The $6 million price tag is in the ballpark of players like Keith YandleJohnny Boychuk, and Erik Johnson. Jack Johnson seems to match up with all of those players in terms of production and age.

Last year, Johnson had 11 points in 77 games, continuing his downward slope in scoring. A change of scenery could do a lot for the 31-year-old defenseman who has seen a few seasons of 40 points or more. He’s show off some strong playmaking abilities but can’t seem to be consistent. He hasn’t switched teams since 2012 when he went from the Kings to the Columbus Blue Jackets. That’s when his scoring problems started and another new team could reverse those fortunes.

Nic Petan

Rumor: Winnipeg Free Press’ Jason Bell reported that Nic Petan’s agent has said that Petan is looking for a way out of Winnipeg.

Analysis: Petan is 23-years-old, giving him plenty of time to grow as a player. With that being said, he has played in 96 NHL games and only recorded 16 points. He had a much more successful season in the AHL last season, though. He averaged a point-per-game in 52 games during the AHL’s regular season and had four in nine playoff games. Petan is showing a lot of willpower by speaking out and it could be the spark he needs.

Petan is a strong player with an NHL future. He’ll likely avoid any offer sheets and sign a cheap deal this summer. If he picks the right team, it’s very likely he holds a consistent bottom-six roster spot next year.

 

Main Photo: VANCOUVER, BC – OCTOBER 28: Edmonton Oilers Left Wing Milan Lucic (27) celebrates his third period empty net goal in front of Vancouver Canucks Defenceman Alexander Edler (23) during a NHL hockey game on October 28, 2016, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. Edmonton won 2-0. (Photo by Bob Frid/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Photo by Bob Frid/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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