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NHL Rumors: Latest on Shattenkirk to Lightning, Minnesota Wild GM Search, More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2019

New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) warms up before an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens, Friday, March 1, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

With the 2019-20 NHL season getting underway as soon as October 4, moves are still being made around the league. One of the latest involves defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who recently had the final two years of his contract bought out by the New York Rangers.

The 30-year-old quickly inked a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning, which could be a strong indication of how he views the franchise's championship chances this coming season.

According to Tom Gulitti of NHL.com, Shattenkirk vetoed a trade from the St. Louis Blues to the Lightning two years ago. Now, he's freely joining the team, looking to chase a title and prove himself.

"I think I have a huge chip on my shoulder right now,'' Shattenkirk said, per the Associated Press. "I want to show I'm back to my old self and prove that I can be a player in this league again."

Though Shattenkirk had a disappointing two-year run with the Rangers—injuries limited him to 119 games during that span—Tampa Bay was far from his only option in free agency.

According to The Fourth Period's Dennis Bernstein, both the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks were interested in acquiring the blueliner:

Dennis Bernstein @DennisTFP

On Shattenkirk to Tampa, hearing both So Cal teams were in mix: Ducks offered multi-year deal, Kings made an late inquiry but never offered.

The offer from Anaheim was better than the one he signed with Tampa Bay, according to Eric Stephens of The Athletic.

According to Stephens, the Ducks offered a two-year deal worth more than $2 million per season. Shattenkirk signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Lightning.

For the Ducks, the offer is likely an indication of how the team views its roster. For Shattenkirk, the decision to sign with the Lightning could indicate he views them as Stanley Cup contenders—and teams like the Ducks and Kings, not so much.

                 

Wild's GM Search Continues

While teams like the Lightning, Kings and Ducks are still looking to fill out their rosters for the coming season, the Minnesota Wild are looking to fill their vacant general manager position. Owner Craig Leipold decided to part with Paul Fenton in late July after only one season.

According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, Fenton's fit with the franchise appeared to be the issue.

"Sources said for weeks that it was becoming abundantly clear to Leipold that Fenton was not fitting into the culture that he and CEO Matt Majka had worked to create," Russo wrote. "... Leipold obviously felt he better pull the plug now rather than allow further potential damage to come."

The Wild are moving in a different direction, one that could include a general manager who is technically already employed.

Russo added:

"In addition to the Wild interviewing Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin on Monday afternoon for the second consecutive offseason, multiple sources tell The Athletic that owner Craig Leipold and team president Matt Majka interviewed current Carolina Hurricanes president, general manager and alternate governor Don Waddell on Monday morning."

Waddell has not been let go from his job with the Hurricanes, but he hasn't been granted a new contract, either. This means he can join Minnesota if he wishes, which would be the latest event in a bizarre offseason for the Carolina front office.

According to Luke DeCock of the News & Observer, several scouts, two assistant general managers and the goalie coach have left and not been replaced.

Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon doesn't seem eager to stop Waddell from being the latest departure.

"If they're going to pay somebody more money, I'm not going to stop them," he said, per DeCock. "I told him he's got to do what's best for him."

               

Negotiations Between Blackhawks and Perlini Continue

The Chicago Blackhawks and restricted free agent Brendan Perlini continue to negotiate but have yet to reach an agreement on a new deal. Cap space appears to be part of the issue.

According to Spotrac, Chicago is projected to have a little more than $3 million in cap space this season. According to The Athletic's Scott Powers, Perlini is looking for a contract that would eat up a large chunk of that.

"According to a source, the Blackhawks are offering Perlini around a $1 million cap hit," Powers wrote. "That's not exactly the amount Perlini and his agent are looking for. It's believed they're seeking somewhere closer to $1.5 million. It's not a massive difference, but the difference matters to both sides."

Berlini appeared in 46 games for the Blackhawks last season and scored 14 goals during that span. Chicago would like to have him back, but the financials have to fit.

"The Blackhawks don't mind being a cap-ceiling team, but [GM Stan] Bowman usually prefers to have some breathing room to give himself in-season flexibility," Powers noted.

A new deal will likely be dependent on what Perlini is willing to accept and if the Blackhawks are able to clear some cap space at other spots on the roster.