It’s an east coast edition of NHL rumours today. There are still a number of free agents either unsigned or scheduled for arbitration. Trades could also be coming our way to relieve salary pressures created by previous moves. Last Word on Hockey will continue to keep fans up to date with the latest NHL rumblings. Today we look at some talk surrounding the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and St.Louis Blues.
New York Rangers
Rumour: The New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis weighs in on how the Rangers need to mange their books after dropping a massive contract on Jacob Trouba Friday afternoon. The deal was for $56 million dollars over seven years.
Things just got worse. https://t.co/dzcjpGQ0Ee
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) July 20, 2019
Analysis: The big contract puts the Rangers slightly over the $81.5 million salary cap. The huge Trouba deal makes someone like Chris Kreider a possible trade target. He has just one year left on his deal worth $4.62 million. The 28-year-old is coming off a good year with 28 goals and 54 points in 79 games. He certainly seems like an attractive target for a team looking for another first or second-line option. Newer faces in town like Artemi Panarin and Kaapo Kakko exist to fill the scoring void if Kreider is indeed moved.
New York could also buy out Kevin Shattenkirk or Brendan Smith. Both are nearing age 31 and posted average or worse numbers last year. Of the two, Shattenkirk commands more money but had a better season last year with 28 points compared to Smith’s 13. Neither player is ideal for the rebuilding Rangers. Trouba’s presence along with the trade for prospect Adam Fox means the team has younger options to deploy for 2019-20.
NHL Rumours: New York Islanders
Rumour: Islanders Athletic reporter Arthur Staple suggests that the Isles could be on the lookout for another centre despite a lack of movement to this point in July.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) July 16, 2019
Analysis: The Islanders’ current projected centres include Matthew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Tanner Fritz, and Casey Cizikas. That is a fine group capable of scoring goals at a decent rate. They might have missed on adding Panarin, but this is a relatively young offence with some forward prospects knocking on the door.
There aren’t many exciting centres left if Lou Lamoriello is insistent on using the team’s $8.6 million in remaining cap space. The two most productive free agents at that position are Derick Brassard and Joe Thornton. It’s unlikely to see Thornton in any jersey other than a San Jose Sharks‘, so Brassard could be the choice if New York wants another veteran in their bottom-six. The 31-year-old scored just 23 points in 70 games last season, but has plenty of experience to provide a team looking to improve more after a gritty playoff run.
St. Louis Blues
I asked Maroon about his future & he hasn’t closed door on #stlblues: “Oh yeah. Me and Doug have talked. We’ve had good conversations. I think it’s tough right now, a lot of restricted free agents. Everyone’s trying to find their number right now. The cap really didn’t go up.”
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) July 20, 2019
I still find it hard to see the #stlblues fit Maroon into their plans moving forward and with the cap situation and three RFA’s left to sign (excluding Husso) but the fact he hasn’t closed this door tells you just how bad he’d love to stay here.
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) July 20, 2019
Analysis: Throughout the season, Maroon had his ups and downs. For St. Louis, Maroon was a player who played his heart out in the postseason and came through in the clutch when the team needed it most. In the end, it was a worthwhile investment for the Blues.
Now the new question is where will Maroon go? The cap situation in St. Louis, as Korac alluded to, is pretty tight. The fact that Maroon is even entertaining the idea of staying shows his willingness to play for the Blues next season.
Will he stay there? If he’s willing to take a larger pay cut than one might like to take, maybe. That said, with restricted free agents like Ville Husso, Joel Edmundson, Ivan Barbashev, Nikita Soshnikov, and Oskar Sundqvist still left to sign, it seems unlikely that there will be much money left over for Maroon.
If he does not re-sign with the Blues, look for him to jump to another contender. He would be a player that most general managers would love to their checking lines.