The Blue Jackets are in desperate need of cap space with key restricted free agents Seth Jones and William Karlsson due for new contracts. One possibility could see Scott Hartnell, Fedor Tyutin or possibly even captain Nick Foligno sent packing to make room under the salary cap. Meanwhile, the Panthers may not be done dealing this off-season.
The Chicago Blackhawks wasted little time shedding salary following the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Last Thursday, they shipped forwards Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes for two draft picks.
They won’t be the only cap-strapped team trying to free up salary-cap space over the next couple of weeks. With over $66 million invested in their payroll for 2016-17, the Columbus Blue Jackets must create room to re-sign restricted free agents Seth Jones and William Karlsson.
Hartnell has reportedly agreed to waive his no-movement clause and provided the Jackets with a list of several preferred destinations. If the Jackets fail to find any takers for Tyutin, he could be bought out by month’s end.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports the Jackets are also entertaining offers for winger Nick Foligno. The 28-year-old Foligno, named team captain in May 2015, completed the first season of a six-year, $33-million contract. He also carries a no-trade clause, giving him control over this situation.
Re-signing Jones is a priority for Jackets management this summer. They acquired the highly-touted blueliner in a mid-season trade with the Nashville Predators. The 21-year-old is completing an entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. He’s also due for a significant raise.
Garrioch claims there’s concern a rival club will attempt to sign Jones to an offer sheet. He believes the Jackets would match such an offer but prefer avoiding that possibility.
PANTHERS LOOKING TO MAKE MORE OFF-SEASON CHANGES
It’s already been a busy off-season for the Florida Panthers. They re-signed right wing Jaromir Jagr, dealt defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Vancouver Canucks for center Jared McCann and shook up their front office.
Recent speculation suggests the Panthers aren’t done making roster moves this summer.
It’s doubtful the Panthers will move Kulikov. The Miami Herald’s George Richards notes the Russian rearguard is currently the Panthers longest-tenured player and they’re interested in discussing a contract extension.
Having dealt away Gudbranson, the Panthers face the possibility of Brian Campbell departing via free agency on July 1. Meanwhile, concussion symptoms could force Willie Mitchell into retirement. Losing Kulikov would leave them thin in experienced talent on their blueline.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims the Panthers are also shopping center Nick Bjugstad. Bjugstad, 23, is completing the first season of a six-year, $24.6-million deal. He began this season as their second-line center, but the rise of Vincent Trocheck knocked Bjugstad down to the third line. The addition of McCann could also make him expendable.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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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