The Wednesday edition of CSM’s NHL Rumors we’ll see what’s happening with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche, and Vegas Golden Knights.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Justin Holl
Rumor: Per Dan Kingerski – pittsburghhockeynow.com. The Pittsburgh Penguins defense was already paper-thin before injuries and COVID hit. Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reported the Toronto Maple Leafs have placed a defenseman on the NHL trade block who could be a solution to the Penguins blueline woes.
Analysis: At 6′-4″, 210 pounds Justin Holl, 29 seems like a perfect fit in Pittsburgh. His $2 million salary is not a huge problem for Pittsburgh who still has Evgeni Malkin‘s $9.5 million salary protected in long-term injury reserve. The Pens always seem to figure out salary cap issues when pressed.
Holl’s welcome in Toronto has decreased recently with the emergence of Timothy Liljegren. Holl has been scratched in favor of Liljegren and that won’t settle well with him sitting in the press box. Holl is a right-handed shot and can play 20 minutes a night. He can block shots and his physical presence would be a welcome sight for head coach Mike Sullivan.
While Holl is not an offensive threat, he did manage 20 points in 55 games last season. This is of those NHL rumors to follow, as something could happen soon.
Colorado Avalanche – Sam Girard
Rumor: Per Mike Chambers – Denver Post. The strong play of rookie defenseman Bowen Byram may have made the Av’s consider trading for Jack Eichel with the return being Sam Girard, plus a prospect or two with draft picks. Does that make Girard a possible trade candidate before the trade deadline to add a second-line scorer? You’ll need to follow CSM’s NHL Rumors to find out.
Analysis: After a disappointing exit from the playoffs last season, the Colorado Avalanche may do some dealing. Girard carries a $5 million AAV through 2026-27 but has no trade protection, making him vulnerable to be traded. The Av’s could logically seek another scorer or goalie as needs arise. They are really deep on the blueline, allowing them freedom to consider changes.
The Av’s are a mediocre 4-5-1 thus far this season. Since they are projected to be a Stanley Cup favorite, making upgrades may be needed.
Vegas Golden Knights – Cap Space Issues
Rumor: Per Lyle Richardson – si.com. While adding Jack Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights lineup may seem great, it will cause some cap space nightmares for the team. They currently sit $11 million OVER the cap limit of $81.5 million. And when injured players return something will need to be done to keep them cap compliant.
Analysis: Shaving down the salaries may include sending Jake Leschyshyn (no points in 10 games) and Jonas Rondbjerg (one point in five games) to the minors, waiving Ben Hutton and Michael Amadio, and trading pending unrestricted free agents Reilly Smith and Brayden McNabb. That’s a lot.
Depending on which of the three players on LTIR including Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and newly added Eichel heal first, general manager Kelly McCrimmon will have his hands full playing musical players.
There’s no doubt that the Golden Knights are very focused on winning this year. Eichel is expected to have his neck surgery on November 12th and predicts he’ll be back in action in three months. That may be very optimistic considering it is a touchy surgery never done on an NHL player. In any case, Vegas is surging forward in their quest to be champions.
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