Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 31, 2014

As we bid farewell to what’s been a very quiet August for NHL news & rumors, here’s a look at next summer’s notable free agents and an update on Ryan Johansen’s contract status. 

Martin St. Louis could be among next summer's notable free agents.

Martin St. Louis could be among 2015′s notable free agents.

ESPN.COM: A listing  of 2015′s potential unrestricted free agents. Jason Spezza, Mike Green, Martin St. Louis, Shawn Horcoff, Jaromir Jagr, David Krejci, Bobby Ryan, Marc-Andre Fleury, Sergei Gonchar and Paul Martin are among those who could be available next July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The performance of each player and their current respective teams will largely determine if they re-sign or test next summer’s UFA market. Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill is confident of re-signing Spezza. The Bruins have reportedly initiated casual contract discussions with Krejci’s agent. The Senators expect to begin contract talks with Ryan when he returns to Ottawa for training camp.

The Penguins and Fleury’s agent have decided not to initiate contract talks this season, preferring to let Fleury focus on the upcoming season. No word on Martin’s future but if the Penguins young blueliners (Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, Simon Despres) step up this season, they could cut ties with Martin. 

Green’s been a fixture in this summer’s rumor mill, with the Detroit Red Wings believed to be interested in him. If St. Louis and Jagr have strong performances their respective clubs will attempt to re-sign them to short-term deals. Horcoff will have to take a significant pay cut from his current $4.5 million annual salary if he hopes to remain with the Stars. Gonchar is a spent force and won’t be re-signed by the Stars, who attempted to trade him this summer (even offered to pick up half his salary for this season) but couldn’t find any takers.   

NBC SPORTS: Dhiren Mahiban cites a report from The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline exploring possible options for the Blue Jackets if Ryan Johansen isn’t re-signed before the start of training camp on September 18. Portzline suggests several unrestricted free agent options, including Saku Koivu, Dustin Penner, Michal Handzus, Andrei Loktionov, David Steckel, Ryan Malone, Ville Leino, Colin Fraser, Daniel Carcillo and Ryan Carter. A short-term bridge contract is expected for Johansen, though money is the sticking point. The Blue Jackets have reportedly offered a two-year, $7 million deal while the Johansen camp seeks $7 million per season. Portzline believes Johansen will eventually get a two year deal worth between $9 – $10 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: None of those UFA options will adequately replace Johansen’s skills. Though there’s over two weeks until training camp opens, this is looking like a game of chicken between the Jackets and Johansen’s agent. A holdout won’t do either side any good. A two-year deal worth between $4.5 and $5 million annually is more than enough for Johansen at this stage. If he builds upon last season’s breakout performance over the next two years, he’ll be in a much better position to land a big, lucrative deal from the Jackets. Right now, he has no leverage other than a holdout. If the Jackets perform well in his absence, that limited leverage is gone. 

15 Comments

  1. What would it take for a team to get johanssen out of Columbus… A player of equal age and potential plus prospect? Salary demands might scare some teams off..

    • I’ll bet you could get Evander Kane

    • Johansen to Winnipeg for Evander Kane and a solid prospect. Or maybe to the Canucks for Jake Virtanen and a prospect. Just spitballing. But he definitely needs to take the bridge contract. Kind of a respect thing now IMO. Young players gotta pay their dues in a way I guess??

      • I’d give Johanson 6 million over 8 years. But I personally think he is goi to continue to excell and with the rising cap he could demand 8 million in a few years

      • So Johansen to the Canucks for two prospects? Lol ya. That’d be a HUGE step back for a team that finally took a huge step forward last season.

  2. Johansen shooting percentage over first 2years is just over 8% last year was nearly 17% unsustainable to say the least…
    CBJ is stacked down the middle Dubinsky Anisimov Jenner Letestu. This does not look good for Johansen. I would question if he is even worth that bridge deal right now. 7 mill is just an insanely over the top evaluation by his agent.

    • True the shooting % is considerably higher but he finally played a full season. Took over 130 more shots and for a young player an increase in stats is better then a decrease.

      • True but it has to be somewhat consistant for the ammount of money or anything close to 7 mill, 30 goals last year is fantastic but will he consistantly be a 30 goal guy? Not woth the number of shots he takes average shooting percentages are around 9 % great goal scorers with very high % top out at 11-12 %…he was shooting 16.45. There is more to his game than goals I realize that but he is 22 years old with one good season, not sure Id be offering up any more than 4.5. Particularly when you have some depth at the position.

    • I agree. His agent is really pushing the envelope in terms of the value the CBJ’s receive from a player that has had one good year.
      This is similar to many people in the world today that want instant gratification for their work. One good year does not earn a player $7 million a season. I’s almost like he wants the Jackets to trade him, without coming right out and saying it.

    • Seeking $7 million is though. Agent’s operate to get the most possible value. They talk about Johansen as a 30 goal, big bodied two way center. That puts him in similar value range as guys like Ryan Kesler, Jordan Staal, Eric Staal, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, David Backes and Anze Kopitar.

      Not saying he is on that level, but that description puts him in that group, and if these guys hit the open market they would likely all get offers well north of 6 million a piece, most well more than 7. So I get where the 7 million dollar number comes from.

      The flip side is that he just has one good season under his belt, his shooting percentage is not sustainable (unless your name is Stamkos), he isn’t on the open market, and his elevation was a little quick to feel as though its a lock to be the new norm.

      Personally if I were the GM in CBJ though, I would seriously consider a longer term deal at something around 5.5-5.75 if it was possible. Looking around the League at big centers, even ones who aren’t bonafide #1′s, that would be a good price as long as he plays well enough to be a 20-25 goal, 60 pt guy in the long run. I’d take a chance on the upside and get him locked down considering the difference. I mean if it’s going to take 4.5 million on a bridge, I is worth a shot for something along the lines of 6 years at 5.5. When you look at a team like Colorado, who I bet wishes they offered ROR 4.5 coming out of the lockout on a 5 year deal, I don’t think it’s too much of a gamble. Also, big centers with 30 goal potential can be traded in a down season, just on upside alone. So I don’t think the risk is that high if they can get him under that 6 million dollar mark.

    • Shticky your out of your mind (as usual) if you don’t think Johansen isn’t worth the bridge deal.

      • Why give him 10 mill? He has no leverage he has 1 season of 30 goals with a 16% shooting percentage even shooting high 10 or 11% thats a 15 or 16 goal season, there are other decent centers on CBJ (they are not desperate) its pretty unlikely he gets an offer sheet of 6 or 7 mill and if he does they can match it….whats the harm in sticking at 4 or 4.5 which is a higher “bridge deal” than Duchene or Giroux got, Seguin got 5.75 for 6 years, there are other comparables that would be against giving Johansen 5 mill for 2 years, Taveres 5.5 for 6 years, Not sure whats so “crazy” about that.

  3. Off topic, but my fantasy pool manager is drafting this weekend! I don’t know why.
    I would like some insight on who will start in net for Minnesota.

    • I think Minnesota would also like some insight on who will start in net for them.

  4. Remember that Johanson’s agent is the same one as Kyle Turris, Kurt Overhardt, who wanted like 5 mil/year for Turris after scoring a whopping 25 pts. Idiot.