Thursday is upon us, and that means another Thursday of NHL Rumours. Every day, the Last Word on Hockey team scours the hockey globe for rumblings about players on the move. Today we’re looking at the uncertainty surrounding a veteran’s career and young stars starting to emerge into contract and trade discussions. Join us as we look at the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, and Florida Panthers.
Los Angeles Kings
Rumour: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun tweets that the Kings would be most interested in trading winger Ilya Kovalchuk, but aren’t sure if there’s a market for him.
My understanding of the Kovalchuk situation at this hour: still no firm decisions taken, more discussions to take place today between his camp and LA. The 35-and-over contract really limits the options. Trade is best scenario after the Dec. 15 bonus paid. But is there a market?
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 13, 2019
History Repeating Itself
One has to wonder where it all went wrong for Kovy under the bright lights of Los Angeles. He isn’t off to a terrible start this year with nine points in 17 games (3-6-9), but has failed to earn the trust of multiple coaches and has been held out of the lineup when healthy on multiple occasions. His issues with coach Willie Desjardins last year were very evident. However, they’re certainly looking for more out of him given his $6.25 million AAV contract with a season remaining after this.
What Now for Kovy?
Now, it’s obvious that the Kings would prefer to trade him after his signing bonus is paid on December 15th so that the deal is more palatable to other teams. They want at least something in return for Kovalchuk. However, given that the Kings plan on holding him out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, and that the Kings might just mutually terminate him anyway if they can’t find a trade partner, the market may be nonexistent. If a team could sign him for free, why would they trade for him?
There’s one caveat. If there is a team that wants him, Kovalchuk may opt to return to the KHL (Russia) if mutually terminated. If a team wants a guarantee, they may trade for him purely out of not being able to sign him in free agency.
Analysis: Dhaliwal offers a statement at the end that immediately prompts a look at Vancouver’s CapFriendly page:
“He could pass Connor McDavid’s salary.”
Pettersson will need a new deal after the 2020-21 season, and a cursory look reveals that Vancouver will still have Jay Beagle‘s and Antoine Roussel‘s $3 million AAV deals on the books for another year at that point. How ironic. However, they’ll be offered significant cap relief by the departures of Alexander Edler and Chris Tanev, but at this point, those may be offset by a contract extension for Jacob Markstrom.
Pettersson’s entrance into NHL rumours notates that Vancouver is entering a true cap crunch, and one can only guess the casualties. Given Vancouver’s goaltending pipeline, this may be Markstrom’s last season in a Canucks uniform as the front office and general manager Jim Benning look forwards to that Pettersson extension. Pettersson will be getting an increase of $9.5-10 million a year, at least. Vancouver is over the salary cap right now (LTIR is keeping them compliant). Benning will have to do some significant maneuvering to comply with the cap.
Analysis: It was obvious that Florida was looking for a change when they signed free-agent pivot Brian Boyle and demoted Borgstrom to Springfield (AHL). Borgstrom has been given opportunities in three NHL seasons so far and has still failed to harness a real spot. He was held scoreless in four games this year. He had only 18 points in 50 games last year to show while looking quite unsure of himself.
Florida is progressing towards contender status. They have to start focusing on being a buyer at the deadline and building a win-now team. Borgstrom is a name to watch that might get moved this year. There’s no real spot for him on the team at the moment. The Panthers are developing significant chemistry at this point in the season, and given that Borgstrom is stuck watching from Springfield, he may be on the outside looking in when general manager Dale Tallon takes a cold, hard look at his roster.
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