NHL Rumours: Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars

NHL Rumours
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 29: Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals clears the puck the third period against the Boston Bruins on September 29, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Capitals defeated the Bruins 4-1. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s time for another round of NHL rumours as we draw closer to the resumption of the season. Teams are already thinking about the 2020-21 season and how they’ll make the pieces fit. Salary cap issues and making room for the future of teams. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks, and Dallas Stars.

All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Washington Capitals

Rumour: Tom Gulitti of NHL.com recently talked about Braden Holtby‘s contract situation in a recent mailbag. Holtby said that he’s focused on winning a Stanley Cup, but may have to go elsewhere after this season. The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan native’s contract is up and he’s looking for a raise from his $6.1 million salary.

Earlier numbers had him asking for over $10 million like Carey Price or Sergei Bobrovsky. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has put the squeeze on salary caps. Next season’s cap will remain flat at $81.5 million.

Analysis: The Capitals have a hard choice to make on whether or not to keep Holtby. He’s been the main man in the crease for many seasons, but that number is too much of a headache. Washington also has promising goalie Ilya Samsonov poised to be the goalie of the future. He and Pheonix Copley may be the netminding duo going forward. However, the Capitals may decide to add a veteran backup for insurance.

Washington would love to bring back Brendan Dillon and Ilya Kovalchuk next season, but there’s also the looming Alex Ovechkin contract after next season. The captain makes nearly $9.6 million and one wonders what he’ll do next. It may likely be one of his last deals before he heads home to Russia or calls it a career.

Vancouver Canucks

Rumour: Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic and TSN 1040 reported that embattled winger Loui Eriksson has no intention of walking away from his contract. The Swedish forward has two years left on his contract and carries a $6 million per season.

He struggled during his tenure with the Canucks and the team has been trying to find a way get that substantial hit off the books. A trade would be hard to pull off because of the lack of production.

Analysis: Eriksson wants to fight for his place on the team and play-in round versus the Minnesota Wild and this may be his ticket back into the lineup. Ben Kuzma of The Province explored that and the issues the Canucks have with the Swede’s salary.

Kuzma said that Eriksson’s defensive game could allow him a spot on the penalty kill. The veteran has always been good in his own end of the ice, but the team would love some more production out of him. His salary is a little much to be a fourth-liner.

Buying out his contract wouldn’t be a viable option due to all the bonuses that would count towards it. Burying his contract in Utica would still cost the team $4.9 million per season. There’s also the concern that the Comets may not have a season due to the regulations on large gatherings in New York State due to the coronavirus. The AHL is a gate-driven league like other minor leagues.

Retirement doesn’t carry the same penalties of cap recapture like the team suffered with Roberto Luongo. That would be the best solution, but Eriksson doesn’t want to hang up his skates.

Dallas Stars

Rumour: Matthew DeFranks of The Dallas Morning News said the Stars would love to keep goalie Anton Khudobin. However, the numbers may not be able to match up. The Kazakhstan-born netminder also added that he would like to stay, but he’s focused on the postseason.

Khudobin is 34-years-old and may be near the end of his career sooner rather than later. He’s making $2.5 million this season in the final year of a two-year deal. He would be part of a backup goalie class which includes Robin Lehner, Thomas Greiss, and Cam Talbot.

Analysis: Khudobin has been a key player for the Stars this season as Ben Bishop has battled injuries. He’s almost been a second starter at times with his stellar play. The veteran led the league with a .930 save percentage and had a 2.22 goals-against-average. Dallas almost has two ready-made starters if needed.

The team can’t copy the backup goalie deal that the Boston Bruins gave to Jaroslav Halak. He will get $2.25 million and another $1.25 million if he plays 10 games next season. However, Khudobin doesn’t fall into the categories listed for an incentive-laden deal as mentioned by DeFranks.

Only three types of players are eligible for performance bonuses: players signing an entry-level contract, players 35 and over signing a one-year contract, or players that have played 400 games and spent at least 100 days on injury reserve the year prior that sign a one-year contract.

Dallas may also let Khudobin go based on how well Jake Oettinger does. He’s the prospective goalie of the future, but he may need more time in the AHL with the Texas Stars. If Dallas thinks he needs more time, Khudobin might be able to stay.

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