The Wednesday edition of NHL rumours finds us checking in on three Eastern Conference teams. Let’s see what they are doing to prepare for the upcoming 2019-20 season. Deals are being talked about more and more with training camp quickly approaching. With that in mind, we will discuss NHL rumours concerning the New York Islanders, New York Rangers, and Buffalo Sabres.
New York Islanders
Rumour: Shayna Goldman of The Athletic recently wrote about where the New York Islanders could look to add a top-nine forward before the season begins. Goldman gives an extensive list of options for the team. These options range from free agency to potential trades.
Analysis: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello may wait and evaluate his roster during training camp and preseason play before deciding on any additional moves. The Isles have over $6 million in cap space. That will shrink a bit once Anthony Beauvillier is re-signed but, still, the team will have plenty of money to spend. That means there will be sufficient room if Lamoriello decides to bring in an affordable UFA forward.
Many of the mentioned trade options carry expensive contracts. That means the Isles must give up a salaried player to make the dollars fit. Some of the teams on Goldman’s list, like the Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights, and New York Rangers, have limited cap space. That could work in the Islanders favour.
For example, the Toronto Maple Leafs may be forced to part with Kasperi Kapanen or Zach Hyman if necessary to sign Mitch Marner. As we’ve seen, however, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has juggled his cap space very well this summer without hurting the roster. But can he continue to do so?
The Vancouver Canucks could also part with Tanner Pearson but he improved in Vancouver after struggling with the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins last season. They might prefer shipping out someone like Loui Eriksson or Brandon Sutter but would have some difficulty doing that. These are just some of the many, many options, though.
While that’s a multitude of choices, such is life as an NHL GM. A lot of action is dependent on what other teams may or may not do. It’s mostly a waiting game at this point. Lamoriello is no fool and he will do what’s best for his team… after all, that’s his job.
New York Rangers
Analysis: Carpinello thinks Kreider’s UFA price may be in the seven-year $7 million range per year. While that’s a moderate price, it may be enough to count of the rapidly improving Rangers. The Kreider NHL rumours could last through next season. In any event, don’t expect to see him wearing a Blueshirt after the 2019-20 campaign.
When discussing Lemieux and DeAngelo, it’s important to note that any team could trade for them instead of using an offer sheet. They could also get away cheaply by signing either player for under $1.3 million without giving up any compensation in return, although it’s hard to believe either player accepts such a modest deal.
Rumour: Joe Yerdon of the Athletic notes that the Sabres are likely to sign star forward Sam Reinhart to a long-term deal next summer. The 23-year-old is facing a contract year and will play a tremendous role on the Sabres this season. Locking up such a valuable player will be essential for Buffalo moving forward.
Analysis: Yerdon compares Derek Stepan‘s six-year $39 million contract and tries to determine what would be fair for Reinhart. This is an admirable comparison. When Stepan signed this six-year deal, he was the staple of the Rangers second line. He was coming off a year that saw him centre an amazing line that also featured stars in Martin St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello.
Reinhart could likely serve the same role in Buffalo next year, albeit without the elite talent flanking him. After a breakout 2018-19 season, which saw him net 65 points in 82 games, the Sabres are ready to give Reinhart a hefty amount of responsibility. If he handles this newfound power well, he’s likely to receive a definite deal from the Sabres before next summer.