Julio Cortez/Associated Press
Much of the player movement heading into the 2019-20 campaign is in the rearview mirror at this point of the offseason, but there are still rumors circulating around the NHL world as the season approaches.
With that in mind, here is a look at some of the latest buzz surrounding Artem Anisimov, Brock Boeser and Justin Williams.
Artem Anisimov Trade Could be Next in Line of Blackhawks Moves
The Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs the last two seasons after a stretch of dominance that saw them win three Stanley Cups during nine straight postseasons. Given the recent struggles, roster turnover has been a theme of the offseason as they attempt to reestablish themselves among the league’s elite teams.
Chicago has added Olli Maatta, Calvin de Haan, Andrew Shaw, Alexander Nylander and Robin Lehner while watching Dominik Kahun, John Hayden, Gustav Forsling, Marcus Kruger and Henri Jokiharju leave.
The moves may not be done, though, as Jay Zawaski of 670 The Score appeared on the Madhouse Chicago Hockey Podcast and said the Blackhawks are shopping Anisimov.
The veteran center has played for the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Blackhawks in his career. The Blue Jackets traded him to the Blackhawks prior to the 2015-16 campaign as part of the deal that sent Brandon Saad to Columbus, and his time in the Windy City got off to a promising start.
He finished with 42 points in his first season and a career-best 45 points in his second season with a combined plus-minus total of plus-17. However, he was an ugly minus-17 in 2017-18 and a minus-two in 2018-19 as his play dropped off while Chicago struggled.
Anisimov is under contract for the next two seasons with a cap hit of $4.5 million, per Spotrac, so a trade could help free up financial resources for the Blackhawks after the dip in production. It could also provide a contender the opportunity to take a flyer on him with the hope a cliche change of scenery could help him tap into his production from 2016-17.
Canucks and Brock Boeser Reportedly Not on Same Page in Contract Talks
Patrick Johnston of The Province provided context for the Vancouver Canucks’ roster situation on Thursday, explaining they will need to either trade, waive or demote two players to get down to 21 skaters.
He also noted those moves would help free up additional cap space to assist in negotiations with Boeser during the right-winger’s restricted free agency.
According to Johnston, the Canucks are operating with approximately $5 million in cap space and have proposed a six-year, $6 million per deal with Boeser. However, his side “is believed to be interested in a shorter deal, worth about $1 million more per season.”
That could be a cause for concern, although Jared Clinton of the Hockey News suggested the situation “isn’t as dire as it might seem” because teams can exceed the cap’s spending limit by 10 percent during the offseason. That gives Vancouver approximately $13 million in cap space for the time being with the $81.5 million cap providing an additional $8.15 million.
Boeser is just 22 years old and in line for a significant deal as a 2018 All-Star who tallied 55 points as a rookie in 2017-18 and 56 points last season.
The promising playmaker is known for his strong shot, and 55 of those 111 points came via goals.
Vancouver has been in a tailspin of late having missed the playoffs in four straight seasons. It hasn’t won a postseason series since it reached the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, and securing players like Boeser long term is important to turning its position around in the Western Conference.
Hurricanes Reportedly Expect Justin Williams to Return
The Carolina Hurricanes were one of the biggest surprises in the league last season and reached the Eastern Conference Final after missing the playoffs nine straight years.
They have only improved this offseason by trading for Erik Haula, signing Ryan Dzingel and keeping Sebastian Aho and Petr Mrazek. However, Luke DeCock of the News & Observer suggested “their summer won’t be an unqualified success until they get an answer from Justin Williams.”
While DeCock granted it is still unclear whether the veteran leader with retire or return for another season, he said “the expectation within the team” is the captain will be back on the ice in 2019-20.
Williams will turn 38 years old in October but can provide veteran leadership in the locker room and timely production on the ice. He was the 2013-14 Conn Smythe winner as the Most Valuable Player in the Stanley Cup Playoff while helping lead the Los Angeles Kings to a championship and also won titles in 2006 with Carolina and 2012 with the Kings.
He has been in the league since 2000 and is a prolific scorer with 12 seasons of 40 or more points on his resume, including each of the last six years. He posted 53 points on 30 assists and 23 goals last season, and his return would provide another ingredient in Carolina’s push for a championship after coming so close in 2019.
Now he just has to decide whether he wants to return for one more run at the Cup.