NHL Notebook: Kings dump salary in three-team trade, RFAs who might not receive qualifying offers, and more

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
10 months ago
It seems like nobody is paying attention to the Stanley Cup Final this year so the L.A. Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, and Columbus Blue Jackets got together to spice things up.
This deal was about the Kings finding a way to shed contracts, the Flyers kicking off a full-scale rebuild, and the Blue Jackets adding a long-time favourite of their new head coach, Mike Babcock.
The Blue Jackets landed defenceman Ivan Provorov and the Kings are retaining 30 percent of his $6.75 million cap hit. The Kings received minor-league players Kevin Connauton and Hayden Hodgson but the real play for them here was dumping the contracts of Cal Petersen and Sean Walker. The Flyers get a first- and a second-round pick plus another conditional pick along with prospect Helge Grans for their trouble.
It seems like Philadelphia isn’t done here. They have a handful of quality young players on their roster like goaltender Carter Hart, defenceman Travis Sanheim, and wingers Joel Farabee and Travis Konecny who could net them a wealth of future assets if they decide to fully tear things down.
Might the Leafs be able to dump a contract like Matt Murray’s on the Flyers and get themselves one of those aforementioned players in return?

Habs ink Cole Caufield to an eight-year deal…

The Montreal Canadiens signed one of the members of their young core to a long-term deal earlier this week, as Cole Caufield agreed to an eight-year contract extension worth $7.85 million annually.
Caufield was set to become a restricted free agent this summer upon the conclusion of his entry-level contract. The $7.85 million cap hit mirrors the eight-year contract that captain Nick Suzuki signed with the Habs back in October of 2021.
The Habs selected Caufield with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 draft from the United States National Development Team. He spent two seasons with the University of Wisconsin and joined the Habs during the pandemic-shortened 2021 season and helped them on their surprising run to the Stanley Cup Final.
All told, Caufield has scored 53 goals and 84 points in 123 games over his entry-level deal.

Restricted free agents who might not be qualified…

Over at Daily Faceoff, Frank Seravalli wrote about a handful of restricted free agents who might be too expensive for their teams to issue them a qualifying offer… 
1. Mackenzie Blackwood
Goaltender, New Jersey Devils
Qualifying Offer Due: $3.36 million
Scoop: Blackwood is far and away the most likely player to not be issued a qualifying offer this spring. Seen as recently as two years ago as one of the promising, up-and-coming young goaltenders, Blackwood’s stock has dropped steadily by combination of injury and inconsistent play. Over the last three years, he’s appeared in 82 games with an .897 save percentage. It’s possible the Devils could try to find a suitor ready to rehab Blackwood for a late-round pick, but every team knows he’s set to become a UFA otherwise.
2. Jesse Puljujarvi
Right Wing, Carolina Hurricanes
Qualifying Offer Due: $3 million
Scoop: It was a worthy gamble for the Hurricanes, acquiring Puljujarvi for next to nothing, to see if he could find magic with some fellow Finns. It didn’t work out. He didn’t score a single goal in 24 total games and was a healthy scratch for eight of Carolina’s 15 playoff contests.
3. Denis Gurianov
Right Wing. Montreal Canadiens
Qualifying Offer Due: $2.9 million
Scoop: Similarly, the Habs took a flier on Gurianov at the deadline, moving the expensive but expiring Evgenii Dadonov for Gurianov – who is under team control as an RFA. It made sense. Now, Montreal has a decision to make. Gurianov’s qualifying offer is higher than his value relative to last season’s point production (17). But it’s in line with what he produced the three prior seasons. So, is it worth trying for another year to see if he can get back to that level?
4. Max Comtois
Left Wing, Anaheim Ducks
Qualifying Offer Due: $2.45 million
Scoop: Comtois has all of the tools to be a solid NHL player, but he’s struggled to put it all together in his first four seasons. His game has regressed in the last two seasons. He appears to be frustrated at times and a change of scenery might fit. The only question is whether the Ducks wonder if they can get more out of him with new coach Greg Cronin. If that’s the case, he might be worth the bump in pay to find out.
5. Ethan Bear
Right Defense, Vancouver Canucks
Qualifying Offer Due: $2.2 million
Scoop: Bear is likely to be issued a qualifying offer. He’s been well featured in a lot of Vancouver’s marketing materials, an indication they see him as part of the future. But Bear’s play has been spotty and inconsistent, and his qualifying offer is expensive relative to his impact. But the Canucks spent an asset to get him and Vancouver needs him to play a lot and play well.

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