Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The 2022-23 regular season is over and players as well as front offices will be evaluated. Now, with the season completed, the focus shifts toward deals that 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 are competing in the playoffs. In this Sunday edition of NHL Rumors, we will look at the Boston Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights, and the Los Angeles Kings.
Boston Bruins – Tyler Bertuzzi
Rumor: Per – Jim Biringer – nhlrumors.com. Tyler Bertuzzi’s playoff performance will lead to high market value if he goes to free agency.
The rugged forward was obtained before the trade deadline in exchange for the Detroit Red Wings’ 2024 first-round pick along with their 2025 fourth-rounder. The Red Wings also retained half ($2.375 million) of his contract. That means his full contract was $4.75 million. His performance since arriving in Boston has been exemplary, and he will be due a raise. The thing is for the Bruins, the cap can be a deterrent to keeping Bertuzzi. They have about $10.6 million in cap space and need to sign some pretty important players.
Patrice Bergeron ($2.5M), David Krejci ($1M), Jeremy Swayman ($925,000) will all be free agents. Bergeron and Krejci are both 37, with the former turning 38 in July. If the Bruins want to re-sign them even to a lower contract, it will take some cap space to do that. Then, you have Swayman who will definitely want and deserve a nice raise. He could demand about $4 million over four years. Then, with David Pastrnak‘s new deal at $11.25 million kicking in, that won’t leave much for Bertuzzi, with his projected new contract coming in at $6.56 million per dobberhockey.com. Add in Bergeron’s projected cap hit of $5.82 million and things will be tight.
Totaling up just Bergeron and Swayman’s projected increase comes to $6.7 million alone. Then, there are other free agents like Nick Foligno ($3.8M), Tomas Nosek ($1.75M, Garnet Hathaway ($1.5M), and Trent Frederic ($1.05M).
There’s no doubt that Bertuzzi is playing exceptionally well with four goals and five assists in six playoff games thus far. That places him sixth in scoring in the postseason. Do the Bruins want to keep him? SURE! Finding the cap space will be a severe challenge.
Vegas Golden Knights – Alec Martinez
Rumor: Per – Frank Seravalli – dailyfaceoff.com. Martinez ranks 15th on Seravalli’s trade targets for the offseason.
Soon to be 36 years old, Martinez seems to be slowing down a bit. He did play in 77 games this season, but only collected three goals, and 11 assists. Martinez was limited to just 26 games last season due to a facial injury. He is no doubt a valued veteran on the Golden Knights club, but can they afford to pay his $5.25 million contract for another year?
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Another factor to consider is his “no-trade” list decreases to just eight teams this summer. Will the Vegas brass try to trade him instead? He can certainly help a team with his leadership and hockey knowledge but for $5.25 million? Perhaps not. With eight other defensemen on the roster and younger players like Kaedan Korczak and Brayden Pachal vying for a roster spot, it may be time to move Martinez. He has been in NHL rumors in the past, but now it seems he could really be traded.
He’s had a good run of 14 years in the NHL, but even his possession stats are becoming not worth his contract. He had a 42.5 Corsi for percentage, with a -8.7 Relative Corsi percentage, and that’s just not good enough. One thing he did excel in was blocked shots. He had 244 blocks this past season, and it’s amazing that he wasn’t injured from all the rubber hitting him.
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Los Angeles Kings – Joonas Korpisalo
Rumor: Per – James Wilson – nhltraderumors.me. The Los Angeles Kings’ acquisition of goaltender Joonas Korpisalo from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the trade deadline has proven to be a positive move for the team.
What a save by Joonas Korpisalo after Connor McDavid walked through three of the Kings four penalty killers. Holy wow. pic.twitter.com/iBNUKqJ7WM
— Jeff Middleton (@jjmid04) April 18, 2023
With the disappointment of Calvin Petersen ($5 million, 24/25) not succeeding, adding Korpisalo was an upgrade. He has played well and there isn’t a lot of cap space to re-sign him. Korpisalo is an unrestricted free agent and may want a longer-term contract than the Kings can afford. He is currently under his $1.3 million expiring deal. With a couple of young prospects needing new contracts, that adds to the dilemma. Gabriel Vilardi who has two goals and two assists in four playoff games is due for a contract renewal. So, is Rasmus Kupari who only tallied three goals and 12 assists in 66 games this season and has gone scoreless in five playoff games.
Korpisalo has not had a great playoff performance with a 2-3 record and a 3.49 GAA, and a .904 SV%. Still, with Pheonix Copley not having the experience that Korpisalo possesses, it would be ideal to keep the veteran goalie. Copley has only appeared in 68 games compared to Korpisalo’s 221.
With the depth that the Kings possess, especially at the forward position, they may deal a prospect to attempt to make some cap space available for Korpisalo. It’s tough to predict if they will even keep Petersen at this point. During the summer, trades are made quite a bit more than the rest of the year. We’ll need to see what the Kings plan to do.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article and thanks for reading!
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