Hampus Lindholm and Jacob Trouba remain unsigned by their respective teams, with Trouba still seeking a trade from the Winnipeg Jets.
On the Lindholm front with the Anaheim Ducks, is there any rush to get something done there?
“I’m sure both sides would like to get something done but they’re kind of dug in,” noted NHL Insider Bob McKenzie during a Wednesday morning appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690. “My understanding is they’re probably about $250,000 apart a year on a six-year deal. It doesn’t seem like a lot of money. It’s not mine, mind you (laughs). It’s not a vast gulf, but nevertheless, it’s tough sledding here.
“It really seems the Ducks are intent on getting Lindholm for less than Rasmus Ristolainen signed with the Buffalo Sabres. He signed a six-year deal. $5.4 million per year. Anaheim, right now, is looking to get (Lindholm) for six years at less than 5.4.
“Lindholm is saying, ‘I can’t take the Ristolainen deal because that would be buying two years of my unrestricted free agency, and Buffalo only bought one year of Ristolainen’s free agency.
“So my sense of it is at 5.5 this deal gets done in a heartbeat, I would think. If I had to guess. But it’s been tough sledding. Right now he’s still in Europe. He doesn’t have a visa. Even if they get this deal done in the next day or two, it might be a week or two before he’s in the lineup. I notice the Ducks lost again last night… so I don’t think they’re off to a great start. We’ll see if that affects the negotiation.”
As McKenzie alluded, the Ducks dropped a 2-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night, falling to 0-3-1 on the season. That would seemingly put more pressure on Bob Murray to get this deal done, but just remember how the general manager stood pat in the wake of mounting pressure to fire Bruce Boudreau during the Ducks’ struggles early last year.
The other potential domino waiting to fall for the Ducks revolves around the fact that they are a budget team, and not a cap team. This is an area to which McKenzie touched on last week during an appearance on Vancouver’s TSN 1040.
“It also gets complicated too because the Ducks are not a cap team, but they are a very strong budget team,” said McKenzie. “And I think when they get Lindholm signed they are going to be over budget. That means – and we’ve all suspected it for awhile – that they’re going to have to move somebody. We’ve all suspected for awhile – we don’t know if it’s true or not, it’s all speculation – but I think that somebody could very well be Cam Fowler. Pretty notable defenseman. So there’d be a nice return coming back Anaheim’s way. So I think there’s moving pieces there, the timing of which all has to kind of fall together.
“I would suspect that if they do get Lindholm signed it won’t be long before they make a trade and my guess would be Fowler will be moving, probably to an Eastern Conference team. I know Buffalo had great interest in him, and we thought there was a deal done at the draft – that Fowler might be going to Buffalo. Boston would be a team that has interest in Fowler, amongst others. There’ll be all sorts.”
Sportnset NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman had an interesting wrinkle on the Fowler front during his Saturday Headlines segments though, while discussing the possible ramifications of the eventual Lindholm signing.
“The big question is what’s that going to mean for the rest of their lineup,” said Friedman, who also updated the Lindholm situation in his 30 Thoughts column Tuesday. “The name Cam Fowler has really been out there. I think the issue is the Ducks want to win the Stanley Cup this year. If they trade Cam Fowler for a prospect and a draft pick, they’re not helping themselves win. What is the message that sends the rest of the players in the room.
“So I think Bob Murray is trying to find a way. Can he do this without having to make a cap move that hurts his roster this season.”
Tick-tock, Mr. Murray. Tick-tock.
Sources: TSN 690, TSN 1040, Sportsnet
For reference: Covering the Insiders