It’s time once again for our NHL rumours as we are almost to September. There’s still a logjam of restricted free agents left to be signed and teams are trying to fit players with team-friendly deals. August has yielded little movement as we get closer to training camp in the middle of next month.
Rumour: Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic (subscription required) reports that Bruins and restricted free agent defenceman Charlie McAvoy are playing the waiting game with a new contract. The blue-liner is part of the gridlock with restricted free agents.
Shinzawa said that the two sides are likely headed to a bridge deal that will force another contract showdown down the way. Boston also has to sign fellow defender Brandon Carlo to a new deal.
Hurry up and wait: Charlie McAvoy has company among stars seeking deals. https://t.co/cDDLGRltZk
— Fluto Shinzawa (@FlutoShinzawa) August 21, 2019
Analysis: This has been one of the slower RFA periods ever as deals are stalled everywhere. McAvoy is also part of an RFA defence class along with Zach Werenski and Ivan Provorov and no one wants to blink first. The other teams will use a deal as a baseline for the other two parties.
Boston is four weeks away from the start of the pre-season on September 16 and has a lot of work to do if they want to keep their younger defencemen together. McAvoy is the higher priority but general manager Don Sweeney wants to keep Carlo in the fold.
The Bruins have $7.2 million in cap space left to get McAvoy and Carlo taken care of.
New York Rangers
Rumour: Larry Brooks of the New York Post said that options are limited for restricted free agents Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo. Both were given one-year, $874,000 qualifying offers, but are looking for better deals.
They both could hold out. However, they face limited options because they’re both not arbitration eligible and the Rangers are up against the cap.
Analysis: Another team could submit an offer sheet, but the compensation is light due to their pay grade. Lemieux and DeAngelo don’t have much leverage.
General manager Jeff Gorton could try to trade either one of them to get more cap space. There’s also the Chris Kreider question hanging over the team and he could be dealt to give New York some vital breathing space.
It’s likely that both DeAngelo and Lemieux will just sign their qualifying offers for now. They will see if they can improve their negotiating position.
Rumour: Sean Shapiro of The Athletic (subscription required) reported that RFA defenceman Julius Honka doesn’t know if he’ll be a member of the Stars next season. Honka played in 29 games and was a frequent healthy scratch.
General manager Jim Nill has thought about trading the Finnish blue-liner because he’s constructed one of the best defences in the league. Honka doesn’t seem to be part of the Stars’ future plans on the back end.
Jim Nill says he has been getting calls on Julius Honka and is exploring options there
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) June 22, 2019
Analysis: The former first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft could be a good low-cost option for a team. Shaprio speculated that Honka would a solid solution on a third pair with another NHL team.
Dallas would get compensation if they decline to match an offer sheet, but it could be worth the gamble. Honka is another defenceman playing the waiting game due to the logjam of restricted free agents. Things will get moving once one of the big-name RFAs inks a deal.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 04: Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins skates against Matt Duchene #95 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 04, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)