May 26, 2024

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LeBron: Rumble on Johansen, Krug, D’Angelo, DuBois and more as the NHL kicks off.

When the Predators announced they would eat up 50 percent of Ryan Johansen’s remaining contract, they’d already had a few teams nibbling over the past two or three weeks.

That culminated in a 30-year-old Center shipped to Colorado on Saturday, but it’s a deal that once again highlights how difficult it is to move money in year three out of a somewhat frozen roof environment.

Think back to Max Pacioretty who went to Carolina for free last summer in a trade, or the more recent Kings three-team trade to void Cal Petersen’s contract. It was difficult to move the money.

“There is no money in the system,” said Predators general manager Barry Trotz. the athlete by phone on Sunday afternoon. “So I wanted to make sure I got the money in the system.”

In other words, making $4 million in room over the next two years was worth it to the Predators even though it meant $4 million in dead cap space by keeping half of Johansen’s $8 million cap. It’s not about spending cap money now. It’s more than a projection as the new GM continues to tweak this list in resetting the organization.

“I expect,” Trotz said. “I’m in a different window.”

So yeah, Nashville got nothing in return in the trade (the Predators aren’t re-signing suspended unrestricted free agent Alex Galcheniuk; Colorado needed to move that contract out of their 50 contract limit right now), but not really. . They had $4 million in savings for two years. This is something in today’s world.

And it looks like it’s becoming an even harsher reality in the third year of the cap recession. Next summer, when he finally jumps the hat for real, can’t come fast enough for teams and players.

For Avs, the $4 million acquisition of Johansen — who could be a good fit as a second-line center with AAV now — doesn’t necessarily close the door to pending re-signing of UFA center JT Compher. My understanding is that Avs would like to try to bring it back. But it should work for them. Compher had 52 points last season, so it might be very hard to ignore the July 1 attraction if there’s a chance he’ll be making more than $5 million annually. We’ll see if Avs can find a number that works for both sides in the next six days.

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Meanwhile, all the hype that has been going on around star goalkeeper Joos Sarros shouldn’t be too loud. Trotz does not shop for him.

“No. I’ve talked to Saros. What I have to do is improve our hockey team,” Trotz said. So I have to listen to everything. My goal is to keep the game changers going, your Saroses and your Josis and your Forsbergs. You know, those are game changers. Each team wants to keep three or four guys and you want to build around them.

“We’ve got a lot of little kids coming in. I just have to make sure I leave (the list) holes available for them.”

Grumbles from elsewhere as we begin draft week:

Flyers and new general manager Daniel Breer did really well in the three-team deal for Ivan Provorov earlier this month, but this past weekend has been weird and frustrating for them as word leaked out of a great deal that could have included Travis Sanheim. And Kevin Hayes goes to St. Louis and Tore Krogh a first-round pick goes to Philadelphia. There might have been other parts in it, but those were his bones. Krug was, as of Sunday afternoon, unwilling to waive the no-trade clause, putting the deal on hold. I think his desire to be on a competitive/winning team is at the heart of that. I will say that over the years, players sometimes start out not wanting to compromise and then switch sides, but as of Sunday night, the Flyers haven’t gotten any word that anything has changed on that front.

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So what now? Well, there are three possible scenarios: 1) Krug softens up and decides to go to Philly and the blockbuster is back. No doubt he has Flyers players calling him out and trying to impress him. 2) Krug is not conceding and the Flyers are trying to make a smaller deal with the Blues that includes only Hayes. or 3) no trade. I believe the front desks will call back either Sunday night or Monday morning to decide how to proceed.

But let me say this in case Krug sticks to his gun and doesn’t end up giving up going to Philadelphia: good for him. Players negotiate the right to have a no-trade clause and no one should begrudge them if they choose to use it. Good with agent Louis Gross making sure his client had that in his deal when he left Boston for St. Louis in free agency three years ago. What I wonder, though, is if now the cat is out of the bag and Krug realizes the Blues tried to move him, and with time he wonders if he still wants to play for St. Louis. That would be human nature. That is why I will leave the door open for Krug to change his mind over the next few days.

What is DeAngelo’s snooze?

Meanwhile, no other Flyers trade that was supposed to happen on Sunday did not happen.

The Hurricanes and Flyers were in agreement in principle for Tony DiAngelo to go to Carolina for a potential opportunity and Philadelphia to keep 50 percent of his remaining $5 million salary and maximum earned for next season. But my understanding is that the NHL opposed DeAngelo returning to the Carolinas within a year of his trade from the Hurricanes. There is language in the CBA about a player returning within 12 months, especially on a retained salary, as a possible fraud.

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I believe both the Flyers and Hurricanes argued with the league about this, saying: 1) his contract wasn’t signed with Carolina; It was Philadelphia that signed him last summer to a two-year, $10 million deal. and 2) Chuck Fletcher was the general manager who traded for and signed DeAngelo, and he no longer exists – so how could any of this be a fraud?

My understanding is that the league will be talking to the teams this week in Nashville about it. Either the league has to sign her or she wants teams to wait until July 9 to complete the deal, after the 12-month rule. If so, who knows if the current suggested trade would still work for both teams. So stay tuned.

Dubois’ Racers

The Kings are certainly the frontrunners in the Pierre-Luc Dubois race, but as of Sunday night, there was still a lot of work to do on that front. It didn’t help that both front desk people were traveling Sunday to Nashville, which put some conversations on hold.

I’ve tried the Hab here, sure, but it just seems like it’s simply not a good trade-in for a jets team that doesn’t want to rebuild. The Kings can provide players who can get into the Jets lineup immediately.

Again, there is still work to be done here. Not to mention the fact that even after both teams put together the parameters of a trade, the Kings will want to know they can sign DuBois, a restricted free agent. Those contract talks haven’t happened yet either. Both the Jets and Kings will need to get comfortable that the trade was in the final stages before the Kings begin that conversation with the Jets’ blessing.

(Ryan Johansen and Torey Krug top photo: Jeff Curry / USA Today)