Earlier today we referenced an item regarding the status of the Jacob Trouba trade discussions in Pierre LeBrun’s recent Rumblings column on ESPN.com. As it turns out, LeBrun covered a number of other worthwhile topics in his piece, which should naturally be read in its entirety. But in the meantime, we’ve got several of the highlights for your reading pleasure.
- There’s been a lot of talk of late regarding the potential availability of Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, in large part due to the team’s need to re-sign RFA Hampus Lindholm and Anaheim’s precarious salary cap situation. As it stands, the Ducks have less than $400K in space according to Cap Friendly. With Lindholm expected to receive in excess of $5MM annually on a new deal the team certainly has their work cut out for them. Dealing Fowler would clear $4MM in cap space, assuming of course they don’t take an NHL contract back in any trade. Anaheim also has Brandon Montour and Shea Theodore, both of whom appear to be NHL-ready, or close to it, and that could step into the vacancy should the club move Fowler – or any other defenseman for that matter. LeBrun, however, doesn’t believe trading Fowler is a “front-burner issue” and believes the club could keep Fowler. He suggests Anaheim could create some salary cap space and buy more time by placing Simon Despres on LTIR. Despres has been out since leaving the team’s first game with what is believed to be a concussion. Despres accounts for $3.7MM against the cap so the Ducks would likely have to make at least one more move to create enough space once Lindholm is re-signed.
- Speaking of Lindholm’s contract talks, LeBrun believes the two sides continue to move closer on a new pact, with the defenseman likely using the recent extensions inked by Seth Jones and Rasmus Ristolainen – six years, $5.4MM AAV – as a comparable and the Ducks possibly countering with Morgan Rielly – six years, $5MM AAV. A six-year deal would buy out two of Lindholm’s potential free agent seasons, whereas the Jones and Ristolainen contracts only bought out one. That likely serves as justification for Lindholm’s pursuit of something more than $5.4MM annually.
- Matt Murray’s recent extension with Pittsburgh shines the light on the decision the team will have to make ahead of next June’s expansion draft. LeBrun notes the team believes Marc-Andre Fleury’s NMC will force the Penguins to protect him, assuming he’s still on the roster. Assuming the Penguins decide Murray is their long-term answer between the pipes, the team would still have several options, as LeBrun writes. In addition to the NMC, Fleury’s contract contains a modified no-trade clause which allows him to list 18 teams to which he would accept a trade. The Penguins could attempt to move him to one of those clubs to whom the goalie would agree to go to. Or the Penguins could buy out Fleury’s contract after the season. Pittsburgh also might try to work out a separate deal with the Las Vegas franchise ensuring they don’t select Murray if the team is required to protect Fleury. The scribe did say he doesn’t believe the team has decided on a course of action as of yet. Whatever they decide, however, LeBrun believes the team will make sure Fleury is on board as they “greatly respect” their longtime #1 netminder.
- Once Murray returns from injury, the team is likely to waive goalie Mike Condon with the intent of sending him down to the AHL. LeBrun believes he could be claimed and one interested party could be the Kings. With Jonathan Quick out for up to three months, Los Angeles may eventually look for a short-term upgrade between the pipes and they might conclude Condon fits the bill. Condon’s contract expires at the end of the season and currently makes just $575K. LeBrun suggests that Pittsburgh could call up the Kings and offer Condon in a trade with the idea that adding a late round draft pick would be better than losing the young goalie for nothing on waivers.