With Washington’s top two centers being Evgeny Kuznetsov and newcomer Dylan Strome (with Nicklas Backstrom injured) and Connor McMichael in the mix as well, some have wondered if the Capitals should look into moving veteran middleman Lars Eller. However, Sammi Silber of Washington Hockey Now cautions against that approach, noting that having a bit of a logjam down the middle is never a bad thing while Eller can certainly help on the defensive side of things, an area that McMichael isn’t ready to take on just yet. With one year left at $3.5MM, Washington would have some interest if they were to shop the 33-year-old around but his best value might come later in the season compared to now when the trade market is not yielding top returns for veteran players.
More from around the hockey world:
- While the season-ending injury to Robin Lehner has many thinking that the Golden Knights need to acquire a goaltender, Vegas’ Ken Boehlke argues that the best move they could make is to make no move at all. That will allow them to evaluate whether the core of this roster is truly good enough to contend and assess the readiness of Logan Thompson to be a full-time NHL goaltender. If they’re in the playoff picture midseason, that approach would also give them a bit of cap flexibility to try to add thanks to LTIR as they won’t have spent Lehner’s $5MM at that point. Vegas hasn’t shown much patience in their brief NHL tenure but there’s definitely a case to be made for them to have some now.
- In his latest mailbag column (subscription link), Scott Powers of The Athletic reports that Alex DeBrincat didn’t show interest in signing a long-term deal with the Blackhawks before his trade to Ottawa last month. The 24-year-old was only eligible to sign an extension at the start of the new league year on July 13th (a few days after the swap) and is owed a qualifying offer of $9MM next summer. That amount will likely be the starting point for extension negotiations with the Senators as he’s coming off his second 41-goal campaign over the last four years.