As the long hot summer progresses, so do the NHL rumours. Teams are trying their best to make as much salary cap space as necessary to sign players they need. Similarly, some teams also look to fight their way back under the salary cap’s ceiling. In Monday’s edition of NHL rumours, we cover the New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, and the Calgary Flames.
New York Rangers
Rumour: According to Larry Brooks from the New York Post, Kevin Shattenkirk may soon be a salary cap casualty. With the New York Rangers acquiring Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets and hoping to re-sign Anthony DeAngelo the right side of the blueline is seemingly set. The odd man out will undeniably be Shattenkirk.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) July 28, 2019
Analysis: When you consider that the Rangers spent a combined $19.54 million on both Trouba and Artemi Panarin, them being in deep cap space trouble is no surprise. They currently sit $4.155 million over the $81.5 million limit. This number includes DeAngelo accepting the one-year qualifying offer he received, worth $874,125 in terms of cap hit.
The team can effectively clear $5.17 million of cap space if they buyout Shattenkirk’s contract. While this would clear their mind of salary cap-related worries for next season, it would be short-lived happiness. The Rangers would save the aforementioned $5.17 million next season but would only save roughly $500 thousand the following year. After that, the Shattenkirk buyout would actually cost the team $1.4 million in cap space for the next two years. This is really not an ideal option. The alternative is to trade Chris Kreider, who owns a $4.625 million contract with a modified no-trade clause complicating that escape route.
The Blueshirts could also consider buying out Brendan Smith, which would save the team $3.4 million in cap space next season. Though similar to Shattenkirk’s buyout, those savings dwindle in the following years. New York would save $3.4 million next season, $1.2 million the following, and then cost the team $1.15 million in the next two years. Their decision should be made public soon, as the team’s second buyout window closes on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Rumour: Moving on to another NHL rumours segment, Michael Russo of The Athletic says that Minnesota Wild general manager Paul Fenton is looking into the possibility of trading winger Zach Parise. The 35-year-old has been shopped around since last month’s draft.
Analysis: Fenton may come up empty in his search to trade Parise. He has an unsuitable contract with an AAV of $7.53 million for the next six years. To add insult to injury, he also has a full no-movement clause in the contract. This demonstrates that long-term contracts taking an NHL player into his late 30’s are not fiscally advisable.
If Parise were to waive that clause in his contract the Wild would more than likely need to sweeten any prospective deal by retaining some of his salary. That may be enough to get a modest return. Despite the hefty contract, Parise is still a very productive player. Last season he tallied 61 points in 74 games, modest production for his cap hit. He also has a history of prolific seasons, netting 94 points in the 2008-09 season and 82 the following year. While that was quite a while ago, and injuries have notably changed Parise’s play, it’d be no surprise to see teams reaching out to Fenton about a possible trade.
While Parise loves playing in Minnesota he said to Russo, “the hockey part lately has been difficult.” Like any other NHL player, Parise’s goal is to win the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t seem that he will be given that opportunity with the Wild, who haven’t made it past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2015.
NHL Rumours: Calgary Flames
Rumour: Now that the Flames have re-signed David Rittich, Kristen Anderson of Postmedia notes that all attention is turned towards re-signing Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk could easily demand between $7 and 8 million on his next deal, almost double what the Flames currently have in cap space.
Analysis: Anderson thinks the team must make a move so they can sign the highly-touted Tkachuk. The Flames have quickly started to center their team around Tkachuk, who was drafted sixth overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. The 21-year-old had quite a breakout season last year. In his first two NHL seasons, he netted 49 and 48 points respectively. While that’s notable as is, he topped it with 77 points in 80 games last season. He played on the team’s first line, averaging 17:36 in ice time each game.
Calgary’s general manager, Brad Treliving, stated to Anderson, “we just have to keep looking at each of these things and knock them off the list. We’ve talked about Matthew, really, throughout the summer and continue to work away at that.”
While stars like Brayden Point and Mitch Marner also remain unsigned, Tkachuk could have the most interesting deal of the summer. He’s been very outspoken after the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Auston Matthews to a five-year contract extension with an annual cap hit of $11.6 million. Since then, Tkachuk has constantly made note of young stars’ right to demand a high salary and shorter deals. This creates an interesting juxtaposition, with the self-righteous Tkachuk being on such a cap-strapped team.