It’s time for another edition of our NHL rumours as we draw closer to the start of training camp. Some teams are already planning ahead for their long-term futures. However, some team are worried about the present. We take a look at NHL rumours surrounding the Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Tom Gulitti of NHL.com said that the Capitals will have preliminary talks with centre Nicklas Backstrom and goalie Braden Holtby. Both become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season and general manager Brian MacLellan wants to get out in front of other teams making offers on the key players.
Backstrom said he’s open to signing an extension because Washington is all he knows. Holtby wants to see how the market plays out and would love a deal near that of Carey Price or Sergei Bobrovsky. Both goalies command over $10 million a season and Holtby thinks he’s worth that.
Analysis: Backstrom will most likely sign with Washington. The 31-year-old could net the maximum eight years that the Caps can sign him. The Swede is one of the cornerstones of Washington’s Stanley Cup run in 2018 and is a valuable component. He currently makes $6.7 million a season and the Capitals are presently up against the salary cap.
Re-signing Holtby might be a little harder because he wants a significant raise. The Lloydminster, Sask. native makes $6.1 million a season. He is up there amongst the best netminders in the league. MacLellan’s position will depend on the development of the team’s goalie prospects. Both Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are eager to take the reins as the goalie of the future. Washington’s GM could roll the dice on one of his prospects if the numbers don’t line up with Holtby.
Rumour: Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that the Senators are now working on an extension for young defenceman Thomas Chabot. This is the next item on Pierre Dorion‘s to-do list after locking down Colin White to a long-term deal.
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) August 26, 2019
Garrioch went on to say that talks are going well, but Dorion is mum on what numbers are being tossed around. Ottawa’s general manager was tight-lipped as well during the White contract talks. Both Dorion and owner Eugene Melnyk are set on trying to keep their young core together.
Analysis: The Senators look to be spending some of that money that they’ve been saving up. There are some promising youngsters including Brady Tkachuk, White, Chabot and others. Ottawa has plenty of space to work with, but they want to be smart with their money. They’ve seen plenty of teams get into cap trouble by overpaying for players.
The Senators and Chabot will likely get a deal done sooner rather than later. They want to show the same commitment to Chabot as they did with White. Ottawa faces a few seasons of rebuilding before challenging for a playoff spot with all of the heavyweights in the Atlantic Division.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: Brian Hedger of the Columbus Observer-Dispatch reports that that restricted free agent defenceman Zach Werenski and general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen aren’t sweating a new deal as training camp draws closer.
What is #CBJ D Zach Werenski doing as he awaits a new contract?
Finally healthy, he’s maximizing the offseason … skating, weightlifting and relaxing with family & friends.
That includes golf. Lots of golf.
“I’m kind of making up for lost time.”https://t.co/URP1KhHotL
— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) August 15, 2019
Both parties are keeping in touch as we get closer to the pre-season. Werenski has filled his summer with golf and making up for a lost summer in 2018. The former University of Michigan product spent the last off-season rehabbing an injured shoulder.
The two sides aren’t concerned about the many RFAs that haven’t signed this off-season.
Analysis: Columbus has over $15.7 million in cap space and Werenski is a key cog in the defence along with Seth Jones. The Grosse Pointe, Mich. native has double-digit goals in all three NHL seasons.
All three should get decent deals with a significant raise from their entry-level contracts.
WASHINGTON DC, DC – APRIL 23: Brooks Laich #21, Alex Ovechkin #8 and Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals look on against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on April 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)