While he still hasn’t officially decided whether or not he will return this season, unrestricted free agent winger Justin Williams has been in contact with the Hurricanes in recent weeks, reports Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic in the latest Insider Trading (video link). There’s no denying the obvious fit with Williams having had plenty of success with Carolina in recent years. However, cap space is limited in Carolina and LeBrun suggests that the veteran would be open to playing elsewhere if it comes to it. One possible solution would be to put easily achievable performance bonuses in the deal with a base salary close to the league minimum. That would allow them to defer some of the bonus cap charge until 2020-21 when Patrick Marleau’s $6.25MM buyout comes off the books.
More from the East:
- Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev is expected to be out until after the Christmas break, notes Postmedia’s Ken Warren. Head coach D.J. Smith noted that the blueliner was banged up after blocking several shots over the past few games so it appears that they’re opting to give Zaitsev some rest over him trying to play through a lot of pain.
- Flyers winger Michael Raffl has resumed skating as he works his way back from a finger injury sustained two weeks ago, reports Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News (Twitter link). The team is hopeful that he’ll be able to return early in their post-Christmas road trip.
- Staying healthy has been an issue for Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray and he is on the shelf once again. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic notes (Twitter link) that the blueliner is listed as week-to-week due to a lower-body injury. Murray is someone that Columbus has held trade talks for earlier in the season but his inability to stay in the lineup consistently certainly has hurt his value.