It’s time for another round of NHL rumours. We’re closing in on the March 8 trade deadline and there are a number of names that could be available. However, there are teams that are trying to make sure their respective players don’t get to market. This either via the trade market of the free agency market. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Winnipeg Jets.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: TSN’s Insider Trading addressed the future of Steven Stamkos. Insider Chris Johnston talked to Tampa general manager Julien BriseBois and he said he will not trade the team captain.
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— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) January 16, 2024
Analysis: Stamkos has mentioned before training camp that he was unhappy about not having more contract talks. It seemed the the Markham, Ontario native’s next contract wasn’t a priority. Could that contempt be simmering under the surface when it does come time to for the two sides to talk?
However, BriseBois has made it clear that he’s not in the market to deal Stamkos. Tampa Bay wants a full lay of the land before it enters into talks with the surefire Hall of Famer. The Lightning already have $41 million committed to nine forwards for the 2024-25 season. It’s going to be tough to balance the books even with the cap going up by more than it has in recent off-seasons.
Stamkos is making in $8.5 million in the final year of his contract. Things to monitor is Brandon Hagel‘s raise from $1.5 million to $6.5 million that takes hold next season. Tampa has a lot of players making big money on the roster. Will Stamkos want to score one more large payday or will he take some sort of hometown discount in order to keep the band together in the Sunshine State?
Picturing Stamkos in a sweater other than a Lightning one. There seems to be a mutual desire to get a new contract done. However, there could be some bad feelings left over from the lack of talks in the last off-season. Stamkos is probably going to find a way to get a new contract, but one never knows what could come out of contract talks.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Murat Ates talked to Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff about the futures of free agent blueliners Dylan DeMelo and Brenden Dillon. Winnipeg’s GM was quick to say that he’s had talks with the duo, but nothing is going on right now on the negotiation front.
Kevin Cheveldayoff and Larry Simmons have begun conversations with Dylan DeMelo and Brenden Dillon’s camps. Doesn’t say negotiations are ongoing exactly. Sounds preliminary.
— Murat Ates (@WPGMurat) January 11, 2024
Analysis: The Jets have been a surprise this season with head coach Rick Bowness behind the bench. Winnipeg is first in goals allowed and hasn’t given up 100 as of yet this season. One of the team’s hallmarks is their strong defensive system that Bowness has helped install.
Part of the Jets’ success on the back-end has been DeMelo and Dillon. The pair have been absolutely key in the top four for Winnipeg’s defence. DeMelo has been a great partner for Norris Trophy candidate Josh Morrissey. Dillion has formed a nice partnership with Neal Pionk on the second pair.
Getting both under contract seems to be an early priority for Cheveldayoff and he’s already taken steps to get deals done for both defencemen. Dillion makes $3.9 million in the last year of his deal while DeMelo is getting $3 million on his contract.
One factor that could muddy the waters are the impending increased salary cap hits for goalie Connor Hellebuyck and team captain Mark Scheifele. Winnipeg also has to find a way to pay restricted free agents Cole Perfetti and Logan Stanley. There’s also $2.75 million in dead cap money that is still owed to Blake Wheeler for the next season.
Main photo by: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports