Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The 2022-23 regular season is more than halfway done and players will be evaluated. Now, with the trade deadline past, the focus becomes what deals may go down this summer? What about free agency?
Clubs are always working to improve their rosters for next season. Some teams are having difficulty creating enough cap space to make moves. Others are experiencing severe injuries to star players. Trade rumors/signings are over for now, but teams will be gearing up for the playoffs. In this Wednesday edition of NHL Rumors, we will look at the San Jose Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, and the NHL Salary Cap Limit.
San Jose Sharks – Erik Karlsson
Rumor: Per – Kevin Paul Dupont – bostonglobe.com. Expect the Sharks to renew trade talks regarding Erik Karlsson leading up to and including the 2023 NHL draft in late June.
GM Mike Grier had deals lined up for Karlsson before the trade deadline. But Karsson’s hefty contract and retention percentage demanded by Grier nixed any potential trade. Teams usually have more salary cap space to work with from mid-June through early July leading up to the NHL draft and the annual start of the free-agent period on July 1. Perhaps one can be found willing to take on most or all of Karlsson’s contract.
The only realistic method to trade Karlsson remains to have the team acquiring him retain some of his $11.5 million salary for the next four years. This becomes especially evident if the salary cap only rises by $1 million again. More on that later. One thing is certain… Karlsson is having an absolutely terrific season. He has tallied 20 goals and 65 assists and has four game-winning goals. If the salary situation can be worked out, teams will be lining up to add him to their rosters. The last time an NHL defenseman scored 100 points was Brian Leetch in the 1991-92 season when he scored 102 points for the New York Rangers. Karlsson has 14 games left to see if he can break that record.
Winnipeg Jets – Pierre-Luc Dubois
Rumor: Per –Jeff Marek – sportsnet.ca. Dubois’ agent raised eyebrows last offseason when he mentioned that his client might one day be interested in joining the Canadiens.
Questions about Dubois’ future in Winnipeg have never really gone away. Add in the possibility of the Jets missing the playoffs. They currently have 79 points in the last wild-card spot and you start to think he could be moved in the offseason.
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The Jets would love to sign Dubois to a long-term extension, especially with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler slated for UFA eligibility next summer. However, If he prefers a one-year deal taking him up to UFA status, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could have no choice but to trade him this summer. The Habs will have $10.5 million in cap space to work a deal for Dubois. They also have the Florida Panthers first-round pick they acquired in the Ben Chiarot trade. The summer deals may be numerous, and this could be one of them.
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NHL Salary Cap Limit
Rumor: Per – Frank Seravalli – dailyfaceoff.com. Frank Seravalli speculates NHL commissioner Gary Bettman could face some pressure from team owners about potentially increasing the salary cap above the projected $1 million raise to $83.5 million for 2023-24.
The NHL's salary cap remains projected to rise by just $1 million – to $83.5 million – for next season, but could be bumped up further, commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday. https://t.co/tHLuTMTYMO
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) March 15, 2023
The NHL general managers held their three-day meetings. Don’t expect Gary Bettman to discuss the salary cap in any detail. He’ll probably say that calculations and projections for next season aren’t final or on track yet to reduce the players’ escrow debt to the owners to a negligible level. Nevertheless, Seravalli thinks Bettman could get some heat from the NHL executive committee to get into negotiations with the NHL Players Association about finding a way to raise the cap by more than just $1 million for the fourth straight season. He pointed out that the players’ debt to the owners would likely be paid off within the first few weeks of next season.
Even though there were plenty of trades before the deadline, many teams couldn’t make deals. That was because salary retention limited their activity. If the cap were to be raised by more than the rumored $1 million, teams would be free to make moves they really intend to make but are strapped by the cap limit. We will need to wait on this one until Bettman announces the plans for the cap limit increase.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article and thanks for reading!
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