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. Teams who were eliminated from the postseason need to assess what happened and make adjustments. Some teams are having difficulty creating enough cap space to make moves. Others are experiencing severe injuries to star players. Trades/signings are all but over for now, while teams are competing in the playoffs. In this Wednesday’s edition of NHL Rumors, we will look at the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and the Washington Capitals.
Carolina Hurricanes – Mitch Marner
Rumor: Per – Matt Larkin – dailyfaceoff.com. After the Canes missed out on adding Matthew Tkachuk and Timo Meier, will they go after Marner?
General manager Don Waddell may be looking for a big summer. Now if for example, the Toronto Maple Leafs are open to trading a Mitch Marner, would that mean returning a Seth Jarvis? Brett Pesce? Andrei Svechnikov? A package including more than one of them? That’s what it might take if the Canes want to push themselves over the top. And it stands to reason their window is no longer wide open.
Sebastian Aho enters the final season of his contract, as do Teuvo Teravainen, Pesce and Jordan Martinook, while Jarvis and Martin Necas are 2025 RFAs. There’s a degree of maneuverability when so many of your core pieces aren’t locked up to massive long-term deals. The uncertainty around Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar, who were entering their final seasons with the Panthers last summer, likely spurred GM Bill Zito to act aggressively. Now it’s Waddell’s turn.
Over the past five seasons, the Canes… haven’t had a 40-goal scorer, a 90-point scorer, or a single-player crack the top-15 in league scoring. The Carolina Hurricanes were done during the postseason because the other team had a star take over the game in its most important moment. IF they can find a way to add Marner, that may solve that issue immediately. While Marner and the other core-4 Leaf players may not be available, you never know. It could really change the Canes going forward. We shall see.
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New Jersey Devils – Damon Severson
Rumor: Per – Brian LaRose – prohockeyrumors.com. The Devils have a long list of free agents to contend with this summer. They’re not in a spot where they’ll be able to keep all of them around.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (video link), New Jersey is receiving calls with inquiries about Severson’s negotiating rights. At this point, the Devils are still believed to be trying to re-sign him but if those talks fall through, there might be enough interest to at least secure a late-round pick over losing him for nothing entirely.
The 28-year-old blueliner had a career year in 2021-22 with 11 goals and 35 assists in 80 games and while he wasn’t able to repeat those numbers this season, he still managed 33 points in 81 contests despite having his playing time cut by nearly four minutes per night. Severson is also a right-shot player, the side always in high demand. As there continues to be a greater emphasis placed on mobility and puck movement from the back end, Severson fits in well with those requirements.
Looking at the money, Dougie Hamilton and John Marino are signed through the 2026-27 season for a combined cap hit of $13.4 million. With Severson’s expected bump from his expiring $4.166 million deal to about the $6 million range, that means the team will be paying nearly $20 million for three right-shooting D-men. So, if New Jersey can’t get a contract inked with Severson in the next few weeks, they may have to move his rights before the draft if they want a shot at getting some sort of value in return.
With eight RFA’s and six UFA’s the Devils will need to do some budgeting with their salary cap numbers. The big guys like Timo Meier could get nearly a $9.56 million deal, and Jesper Bratt may be in the $7.81 million range. While the team wants to keep Severson, they may be in cap crunch territory.
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Washington Capitals – Anthony Mantha
Rumor: Per – Frank Seravalli – dailyfaceoff.com. The Caps have made it known that they are ready to move on from Mantha.
Mantha has one more season with a $5.7 million cap hit. His production has really slipped of late. He had just 11 goals, 16 assists in 67 games this past season. Hardly worth that large cap hit. That qualifies him for NHL rumors in the news. Buying out his contract is an option if a trade cannot happen. The buyout would cost $3.53 million over two years. Then, they could possibly find another forward at the $3 million range which is much better than paying $5.7 million. To move Mantha, GM Brian MacLellan may need to add a sweetener.
In today’s cap world, creativity rules. Until, and if the cap limit rises by a reported $4 million for the 2024-25 season, GMs are strapped to sign players and must think outside of the box.
For Mantha, that box is closing in quickly. Look for him to be moved and if that can’t happen, the buyout is the next option.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article and thanks for reading!