As the contract standoff between the Toronto Maple Leafs and center Nazem Kadri continues, Sean Gentille of The Sporting News wondered if Kadri would receive an offer sheet from another club.
It's rumored Kadri is seeking a long-term contract worth $5 million per season, though he's been quick to deny those reports.
The Leafs have $4.9 million in cap space and also hope to re-sign defenseman Cody Franson, who is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal worth $4 million per season.
In a normal year, the Leafs would be vulnerable to a rival club pitching an offer sheet to a promising player like Kadri. This season's declining salary cap, however, leaves few clubs with enough space for such a bold move.
Gentille noted the Phoenix Coyotes ($6.12 million in cap space), St. Louis Blues ($7.62 million), Calgary Flames ($7.69 million), Colorado Avalanche ($10.29 million), Buffalo Sabres ($10.5 million), Ottawa Senators ($11.31 million), Florida Panthers ($11.98 million) and NY Islanders ($15.65 million) had room to pitch an offer sheet to Kadri.
He also pointed out most of these teams are either under strict self-imposed budgets (Panthers, Islanders) or have free agents of their own to re-sign (Coyotes, Blues, Senators, Sabres).
The Avalanche is loaded with young centers so Kadri isn't a fit there. Flames GM Jay Feaster unsuccessfully tried to sign Avs center Ryan O'Reilly to an offer sheet last season, but don't expect him to do the same with Kadri. Feaster's new boss, Brian Burke, despises offer sheets.
HEMSKY APPEARS SET FOR AWKWARD FINAL SEASON IN EDMONTON
After spending the summer trying to trade Ales Hemsky, Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish held a press conference Wednesday (with an uncomfortable Hemsky in tow) announcing the winger was off the market.
MacTavish confirmed Hemsky's injury history and $5-million salary for the upcoming season hurt his trade value.
Having opted not to use a compliance buyout on Hemsky and unwilling to have a $5-million player toiling in the minors, the Oilers are stuck with him for another season.
MacTavish said Hemsky enters this season with a “blank canvas” and an opportunity to prove himself. Still, the veteran winger will find it difficult to move past Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov on the depth chart.
The awkwardness of the situation (very apparent between MacTavish and Hemsky during the press conference) suggests this will be Hemsky's final season as an Oiler.
If Hemsky stays healthy and regains his scoring touch, his trade value will certainly increase before the trade deadline. If not, he'll depart next summer via free agency.
MITCHELL RETURN WOULD PUT KINGS OVER CAP
The Los Angeles Kings expect veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell to be ready for training camp.
Mitchell, 36, missed all of last season with recurring knee problems. While his return would fill the gap left by Rob Scuderi's departure this summer via free agency, it would also put the Kings $86,000 above the $64.3-million salary cap.
The Kings are one player over the 23-man roster limit, carrying nine defensemen with one-way contracts.
A healthy Mitchell would force management to move one or their lower-salaried blueliners – like Keaton Ellerby or Jeff Schultz – via trade or waivers later this month to become cap compliant.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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