The calendar has flipped to August and that means we are one calendar month closer to hockey season! The NHL has actually remained fairly active throughout the summer, which is rare.
A lot of that activity can be contributed to the fact that so many teams are struggling to manage the lower than expected salary cap ceiling and they’re being forced to get creative. There have also been a handful of teams who have had players go to arbitrations and that has opened up second buyout windows for some clubs. That’s where we start with this week’s set of rumours.
RANGERS TO BUY OUT SHATTENKIRK
It’s now official, the New York Rangers will buy out the final two years of Kevin Shattenkirk’s contract. It’s an interesting decision as it gives them major cap relief for this upcoming season, but carries over $6 million in dead cap space for next season and then $1.4 million in dead space for the next two seasons after that.
This makes them cap compliant for now but it only leaves GM Jeff Gorton with about $1 million to sign both Tony DeAngelo and Brenden Lemiuex so I still think it’s worth keeping an eye on the Rangers when it comes to a potential trade partner for Ken Holland. They have a few young forwards that I think could really benefit the Oilers.
Of course, now that Kevin Shattenkirk is a UFA, lots are wondering if there is a potential fit between the 30-year-old defenseman and the Oilers. On the surface, it makes sense. He has a history of being a fairly productive offensive defenseman, which the Oilers would benefit from adding and he shoots right which is a clear need when you look at the Oilers depth chart.
But I just don’t see this happening. First off, there is the Oilers clear lack of cap space. Our friends over at PuckPedia currently have the team with $2.5 million in cap space and they need to leave wiggle room for Mike Smith’s potential bonuses. I would imagine that Shattenkirk will get north of $2 million on a one or two year deal, so if the Oilers wanted to make it work, they would need to move out a contract.
It’s also important to remember that Shattenkirk is from the east coast. He and his wife just welcomed their first child into the world a few weeks ago, I just don’t see him wanting to leave that side of the continent. Combine that with the fact that he already nixed a move to Edmonton a few years ago when the Oilers and Blues agreed to trade Taylor Hall for the defenseman but Shattenkirk wasn’t interested in a contract extension with the Oilers.
On paper, this would appear to be a fit, but I just don’t see it as realistic.
FENTON OUT, WHAT’S NEXT FOR MINNY?
Minnesota made a shocking move earlier this week when they fired GM Paul Fenton after just 14 months on the job. They don’t have a new GM hired as of yet, rumoured names include Ron Hextall, Dean Lombardi, and Peter Chiarelli, but whenever there’s a change in an organization’s front office, it always leads to a flurry of rumours.
For the Oilers, players like Jared Spurgeon, Jason Zucker, and even Joel Erikson-Ek would be of interest but I just can’t see the Wild being very active this summer once they get a new GM hired.
It would be hilarious is the Wild hired Peter Chiarelli and he decided to deal someone like Spurgeon to the Oilers for a ridiculous package but I think we all know that isn’t going to happen.
While a new GM will usually stay pretty calm for their first few months on the job, if the Wild get off to a slow start, they might be in a position to make some moves and if I was the Oilers, I would be keeping a very close eye on Jared Spurgeon. His name has been floated around in trade rumours since the offseason began and considering the fact that he’s a UFA at the end of the season, if the Wild’s season doesn’t go according to plan, they might want to cash in on Spurgeon’s value rather than risk losing him for nothing.
NEW JERSEY KEEPS WHEELING & DEALING
Ray Shero has not put down his phone all summer. After drafting Jack Hughes first overall, the Devils have gone on to acquire the best defenseman on the trade market in PK Subban and the best player who wasn’t in the NHL last season, Nikita Gusev.
They’ve transformed their blueline with one addition and they added two good young forwards to an already impressive group. Now, if Ray Shero isn’t done, I think the Oilers should be looking at the Devils as a potential trade partner.
Pavel Zacha is currently an RFA and considering the Devils already have Nice Hischier, Travis Zajac, and Jack Hughes down the middle, I wonder if the Oilers could pry Zacha loose. He would be a great fit as a third-line centre here in Edmonton and the Oilers have a good amount of future assets they could send New Jerseys way.