Welcome back to Tuesday’s edition of NHL Rumours from the crew here at Last Word on Hockey. We are just over 50 days away from the start of the season and teams are getting ready for training camp before they make their final decisions on their rosters. With so much uncertainty surrounding a lot of key restricted free agents and team’s cap space, there are a ton of NHL Rumours to cover. Today, we will cover NHL Rumours from the Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals.
All NHL Rumours come from their original sources and are subject to change.
Rumour: The Buffalo News reports that defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen implies that he has asked to be traded during a tv interview with Finnish television outlet MTV Sports.
Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen implies he’s asked to be traded https://t.co/EXjclHMQFZ
— Buffalo News Sports (@TBNSports) August 11, 2019
Analysis: The translation of the interview according to the Buffalo News states that Ristolainen has said that he wants to keep things between him and his general manager. He also states that he will be at training camp for an NHL team and that he has not been able to enjoy hockey over the past few seasons. This is of no surprise, as the Sabres just have not been a good team in recent years and nobody likes to lose night in and night out.
For the Sabres, they should be able to get a nice package for the young defenceman. Ristolainen has been excellent offensively for the Sabres as he has put up over 40 points in each of the last four seasons. The Sabres will also be dealing from a position of strength, as they have spent a lot of the off-season in upgrading their defence group.
Two teams to look at who would certainly be interested in trading for Ristolainen are the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers have been looking for a right-shot defenceman for years and with the Jets just losing Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers, they are looking for someone to eat up those minutes as well. Ristolainen would be a great fit for both clubs, depending on the cost.
NHL Rumours: Colorado Avalanche
Rumour: Joe Sakic opens up about contract negotiations with Mikko Rantanen. Sakic and the Avalanche are hoping for a long-term deal, however, if it has to be short they will go short. They just want him signed. Sakic states that they are awaiting comparable contracts before agreeing to a deal with Rantanen.
– Will Mikko Rantanen sign before training camp?
– How will the heavier workload affect Philipp Grubauer?
– Can the Avalanche improve in overtime?@NHLdotcom answers three key questions facing the @Avalanche! #31in31https://t.co/MJUMFcutK0
— NHL (@NHL) August 8, 2019
Analysis: These comparable players are, of course, Mitch Marner, Brayden Point, and Patrik Laine amongst others. All of these players are near the same age and are amongst the team leaders in points on their respective teams. They are also all wingers, outside of Point. So it makes sense for Sakic to wait and see what these players get and then negotiate an offer in the same range.
One player, they could also look at as a comparable is Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes. While some will say Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin low-balled him, Aho agreed to the contract. He took what he thought he was worth, which was $8.45 million per season for the next five years. In saying that, we also know that Rantanen will 100 percent not be taking any less than $8.45 million. We’re looking at somewhere between $8.5 and $10 million per year for the Finnish superstar.
Rumour: J.J. Regan of NBC Sports Washington writes that Capitals fans should not expect Braden Holtby to take a home-town discount when his contract expires at the end of this season.
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) August 12, 2019
Analysis: Regan makes some valid points in his article. The biggest being the expansion draft which is coming up and the club most likely not giving Holtby a no-move clause. The reason for this is simple, Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov is expected to be the goaltender of the future for the Capitals. If the Capitals were to give Holtby a no-movement clause, that would mean they would have to protect him in the upcoming expansion draft. Therefore, leaving Samsonov exposed. With Holtby set to turn 30 in September, the Capitals may decide to keep him exposed and begin what may be a mini rebuild, as Alex Ovechkin has already stated he may elect to retire at the end of his contract in two years depending on his health.
Regan explains that due to the Capitals not wanting to give Holtby a no-trade clause, they will have to pay him more money to compensate. Therefore, the best move for the Capitals would be to sign him but try to trade him before the expansion draft comes. This would be the best move in terms of asset management as they would avoid losing Holtby for nothing as the Pittsburgh Penguins did with Marc-Andre Fleury. We all know how that turned out.