In today’s edition of NHL Rumors, are the San Jose Sharks looking to make a move? Will the Detroit Red Wings deal from their defensive depth? And what’s the latest on Julius Honka? Plus, the Vancouver Canucks named Bo Horvat captain and Wayne Simmonds had an emotional night in his return to Philadelphia.
Sharks Not Done with Roster Changes?
The Sharks’ signing of veteran free agent Patrick Marleau signaled that management was not satisfied with the team’s 0-4-0 start to 2019-20. The team has scored a total of five goals and has a goal differential of minus-12 and sit bottom-five in the league in both goals for and against. Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc, and Timo Meier are all pointless on the season. While it’s unknown how much Marleau will help them, it’s clear the Sharks need offense.
According to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Chelena Goldman, the Sharks may not be done making moves. Even after Marleau took a discount and signed for $700,000, the Sharks are tight against the salary cap and this could lead to the team parting with notable names. The team already waived Jonny Brodzinski, who, according to Goldman, has been one of the team’s better new players to start the season. As Goldman points out, if the Sharks signing Marleau after just four games is any indication of their desire to address the team’s struggles, perhaps they’ll have interest in dealing from their crop of 10 unrestricted free agents (UFAs) in order to create cap flexibility.
Given how determined the Sharks currently appear to want to right the ship four games into the season, that structure means flexibility for more moves.
In addition to Brodzinski, other players who will be UFAs in 2020 include Melker Karlsson, Lukas Radil, Brenden Dillon, Tim Heed, Aaron Dell, and Radim Simek. Perhaps the solution is to shed salary via those contracts in order to improve their roster. Whether general manager Doug Wilson can navigate keeping the team competitive while also creating cap flexibility will be interesting to watch.
Red Wings Looking to Trade a Defenseman?
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Red Wings could be looking to move at least one of their defensemen. In the midst of a rebuild, the team has nine NHL-quality blueliners when all are healthy. After the team’s game Monday night, Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley were placed on injured reserve and the team called up Alex Biega and Oliwer Kaski, although Kaski was later returned to the American Hockey League. Friedman thinks that given where the Red Wings are in their rebuild, plus theemergence of Filip Hronek, the team may have interest in moving one or more of their veteran defensemen.
Currently, Mike Green, Biega, Ericsson, and Daley will be UFAs at season’s end. While all four are in their 30s and removed from their primes, they could still have value for teams looking to bolster their defense corps. This is especially true of Green, who remains a minute-eating, puck-moving blueliner, and Daley, who’s a responsible bottom-pair guy still. Friedman specifically lists the Winnipeg Jets as a possible trade partner since their defense corps is a question mark at the moment. If Dustin Byfuglien ends up retiring, the Jets will have the cap space to add any of the Red Wings defensemen, with Green likely the best fit.
Honka Playing in Finland, Now What?
Dallas Stars restricted free agent (RFA) defenseman Julius Honka remains without an NHL contract for the 2019-20 season and recently signed with JYP Jyvaskyla of Finland’s Liiga. According to TSN, Honka will make his season debut on Friday. His contract does have an opt-out clause that lasts until Dec. 1 in which he can opt-out of the contract in order to return to the NHL. Dec. 1 is the last day in which an RFA can sign an NHL contract and still be able to play this season.
Honka remains unsigned after requesting a trade from the Stars in September. The 2014 14th-overall pick has 13 points in 87 career NHL games. He appeared in 29 games last season, with 4 points, and was a healthy scratch in the postseason. It’s been reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie that “the Stars are likely looking for a second or third-round pick or a young player back for Honka.” Honka joins Edmonton Oilers RFA Jesse Puljujarvi in Finland after he too requested a trade before the season.
Horvat Named Canucks Captain
In a ceremony prior to the Canucks’ game against the Los Angeles Kings last night, Bo Horvat was named the 14th captain in franchise history. After going one season without a captain following the retirement of Henrik Sedin, the team bestowed Horvat with the honor in what was an expected move. On hand for the ceremony were both Henrik and Daniel Sedin, plus fellow former captain, Orland Kurtenbach. On a team that includes Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and Brock Boeser, Horvat has been overlooked in recent seasons, but the former ninth-overall pick was praised for his leadership by Henrik Sedin as well as current veteran Canuck, Jay Beagle. The Canucks won the game 8-2 and Horvat registered an assist on Josh Leivo’s third-period goal.
Now that the Canucks have named their captain, the only teams left without a captain are the Red Wings, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, and Vegas Golden Knights. None are expected to name a captain this season.
Simmonds’ Return to Philly
On Wednesday night, former Philadelphia Flyer Wayne Simmonds made his first return to Philly after the teamtraded him at last season’s trade deadline. Making his return as a New Jersey Devil, the Flyers gave Simmonds a video tribute complete with a standing ovation and, of course, some boos, as he wanted. But while the tribute was emotional and certainly deserved, it was Simmonds’ words prior to the game that were a bit surprising.
In an interview with CBS Philly, Simmonds admitted that he was a little bitter.
I put so much time, sweat and tears into this organization. I thought I did everything I possibly could to at least deserve a little bit of an extension.
Simmonds later admitted that “it also sucks to hear that you’re not obviously thought of as you think you’re thought of. It definitely put a little bit of bitterness into it.” In parts of eight seasons in Philadelphia, he had 203 goals and 378 points in 584 regular-season games after he was included in the trade that sent Mike Richards to the Kings in June 2011. The Devils lost last night’s game 4-0.