We are all anxiously awaiting news about key players around the league. Top two players folks are watching are John Tavares and John Carlson. Also worth keeping an eye on for new contacts or new teams are:
John Tavares- Can the Islanders afford him? Can they afford not to sign him? Could he become the big surprise move?? Could he make his way to the desert or into the Windy City? Both look possible and both could use his style of play.
John Carlson – The Capitals want sign him. He wants to stay here in his home area. He has played his best year yet and is key to the success of the Caps power play. Can the Caps move players around and have the money for a long-term high-dollar deal–maybe $8 million AAV. The Devils might make him a sweet offer to consider- or the Blackhawks if they can work out their cap issues.
Mike Green – No, we don’t expect him back in a red sweater for the Caps. His neck injury derailed his season and it is unclear if the Red Wings will invest in him again, even though he was having a great season pre-injury.
James Neal – So this would be the first big change for the Golden Knights. He stepped up in the playoffs. Was it enough for George McPhee to sign him again?
Carter Hutton – One of those goalies who can probably name his price. Word on the street is he may be ready to move on from the St. Louis Blues? He’s a treat to Grubauer who probably is looking in the same places.
James van Riemsdyk – The Maple Leafs will most likely let him test the waters because they don’t have the salary cap to meet his demands. He has something to offer a team looking to build up their PP. We could see him fitting in with Vegas or maybe the Hurricanes.
Phil Kessel – Has the relationship in Pittsburgh soured? Many attribute the Pen’s slide this season to him. Kessel is sitting in a good place because of the structure of his contact- a modified no trade that restricts which teams might find the gnarly player on their roster. In the end, we think they will work things out he will life to taunt the Capitals next season.
Philipp Grubauer – The Capitals backup goalie is looking for a starting spot somewhere. He has a little competition. The Caps would like to keep him; however, they also want to honor his talent and help him find what he is seeking. Potential new teams bounced around include Hurricanes and Islanders.
Other players we are watching:
And let’s just throw in Erik Karlsson for fun. With all the nonsense going on in Ottawa. Karlsson isn’t a UFA until 2019. We thought the Sens might deal him earlier this year but they all chose to sit pat. He could bring the team some newer younger players in a trade. Now that Mike Hoffman gone does Karlsson settle in? This will be the off-ice drama story of the summer.
The NHL draft is 22-23 June and then UFA’s can start looking around on the 24th. Here are all the dates to watch in the coming weeks as news deals and negotiations move into high gear.