NHL Rumours: Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks

NHL Rumours
SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 21: San Jose Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon (4) holds off St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron (57) during the San Jose Sharks game versus the St. Louis Blues on December 21, 2019, at SAP Center at San Jose in San Jose, CA (Photo by Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It is time for the last batch of NHL Rumours for 2019! Last Word On Hockey is bringing you into the New Year with the latest rumours from around the league. To end out 2019, we’ll focus on the Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning, and San Jose Sharks.

NHL Rumours

Nashville Predators

Rumour: Adam Vingan of The Athletic answered mailbag questions regarding Nashville and their willingness to move Mikael Granlund.

Analysis: Nashville is riding the elevator to the top of the cap ceiling. Grandlund is set to hit unrestricted free agency next year. He’ll naturally be expecting a raise at the end of the season. Mix that all together and you’ve got the perfect storm for the Predators.

Grandlund pulls in about $5.7 million a year, and with just $2.2 million in cap space left this season, it’s not looking good for him. Nashville cannot afford to give him the pay bump he’ll be looking for. So far this season he’s only missed seven games, but his score sheet isn’t doing him any favours.

14 points across 32 games doesn’t scream “pay raise”. Especially if the Predators aren’t going to the playoffs this year. If the team is indeed out of the running, trading Granlund could be the way to go. The forward made his way to Nashville after a brief second stint in Minnesota.

Granlund’s career-high of 69 points might not fetch a huge return. However, it also might not bring in the $7-8 million contracts that other players in his tier are earning. If the Predators do opt to ship him out, the most they could hope for is a prospect and a few lower round picks.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Rumour: Joe Smith of The Athletic speculates on what the Lightning will do ahead of the trade deadline. 

Analysis: Oh Tampa. Woah is Tampa. How a team wins the Presidents’ Trophy and then gets swept in the playoffs is just beyond rational. Pile that on top of the fact that the team isn’t exactly doing stellar this year, and you have a heap of confusion.

With their 20-13-4 record this season, are they back on the path to greatness? Maybe not. While the Lightning aren’t going to be having a monumental record again this year, they are still hungry for a playoff push.

Adding to the stress ball that is Tampa Bay, is their nonexistent cap space. Like every other team in the league, the Lightning are in a crunch. $2.24 million doesn’t give the team much wiggle room. There might not be anything the club can do ahead of the trade deadline.

The Bolts are inevitably looking to add to their forward group. Andrei Vasilevskiy has struggled slightly the season, but there are plenty of other capable options in the organization if he falters for too long. Tampa has a strong core group and a strong farm team. There’s no reason they can’t find talent internally and save their nonexistent cap space.

San Jose Sharks

Rumour: The third piece to our NHL Rumours brings us to San Jose. Kevin Kurz of The Athletic writes that Brenden Dillon could be the first to leave the Sharks organization. 

Analysis: The Sharks are currently seventh in the Pacific division. Yikes. This season is a dumpster fire for San Jose. Their 17-20-3 record isn’t exactly enticing anyone to stay, and Dillon is no exception.

Despite his 10 points so far, Dillon is a high-value target for many teams. His 18:53 of time on ice a night alone are desirable. With the amount of team’s willing to load up for a playoff run, the interest in the defenceman is surely strong. No ones heard any reports of contract extensions for Dillon, so it’s likely he will be one of the first pieces to be moved.

Dillon is a heavy defenceman who can utilize his size. His offensive side is lacking, but he is an overall solid player. At $3.3 million per year, he would add some muscle to any teams blueline. And since he’s set to hit the UFA market after this year, he’s a prime target for any team.

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