Late July and early August have traditionally meant bargain bin shopping for NHL teams as unrestricted free agency drags on, and this season is no different – especially with a tight salary cap situation for most clubs. With roughly $2.25MM in projected cap space to spare and a new contract still needed for winger Alexis Lafreniere, Larry Brooks of the New York Post wonders about the Rangers dipping into the professional tryout market as training camps draw closer to round out the bottom of their lineup. With the team’s fourth line (and projected scratches) made up mainly of defensive specialists, Brooks surmises the likes of Max Comtois or Colin White as being fit for a tryout or a league-minimum deal. If the team is still looking to add grit and replace the fourth-line presence of Ryan Reaves, Zack Kassian is still on the market after getting bought out by the Arizona Coyotes, as well as former Ottawa Senator Austin Watson.
Some other potential offseason moves bandied about this morning:
- Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards thinks the Florida Panthers may not be done after a busy free agency period and believes they could be in the conversation for top UFA winger Vladimir Tarasenko if he’s willing to take a short-term deal in the $4MM range. It’s been a disappointing offseason for the 31-year-old, who failed to secure a long-term commitment when free agency opened on July 1 and changed his representation less than a week later. Per CapFriendly, the Panthers still have nearly $10MM of LTIR relief from Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour to dip into. However, they’ll need to figure out how to maintain cap compliance once the pair of defenders get healthy throughout next season.
- Another cap-strapped team looking to add depth is the Edmonton Oilers, and The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell thinks Tomas Tatar or Paul Stastny could be potential fits at the bottom of their forward lineup. Adding to the roster will be incredibly tough for the Oilers, though, who will likely dry up their remaining $6MM in cap space on new deals for forward Ryan McLeod and defenseman Evan Bouchard and will only be able to carry one (or potentially zero) healthy scratch(es) when the season starts. Stastny, 37, would be the likelier option out of the two to take a sub-$1MM deal after taking a $1.5MM contract with the Carolina Hurricanes last season and recording 22 points in 73 games.