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Over The Boards

Mailbag: Jaroslav Halak speculation, Penguins goalies

NHL.com's Dan Rosen answers weekly questions

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Here is the Nov. 2 edition of Dan Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run each and every Wednesday through the course of the 2016-17 NHL season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards. 

Will Jaroslav Halak get moved? -- @islanderjunkie

In an ideal world, sure. But what team that needs a goalie right now would be willing to take on Halak next season too at $4.5 million? The Los Angeles Kings? I can't see it. If the Kings got Halak and had to have him next season too (they'd expose him in the NHL expansion draft, but he might not get picked), they'd have Jonathan Quick and Halak on the hook for a total of $10.3 million. That's a lot. Too much in fact. The Dallas Stars? Dallas has Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi signed through next season at a combined $10.4 million. Yikes. Pekka Rinne is struggling for the Nashville Predators, but Nashville isn't ready to give up on him. The Carolina Hurricanes? Maybe. I could see that, but what are the Hurricanes giving up in return? What is realistic for Halak, who is a No. 1 goalie but one with a history of injuries too? The best comparison I can draw is to Calgary Flames goalie Brian Elliott. The Flames traded the St. Louis Blues a second-round draft pick and a conditional third-round draft pick to land Elliott. That was a special situation because the Blues also had Jake Allen and wanted to give him the No. 1 job. Would the New York Islanders want draft picks in exchange for a goalie who may very well be the best goalie they have? Draft picks are nice, but they don't help the Islanders win now, and that's what they need to do, especially to entice John Tavares to sign a contract extension in the offseason. The first day Tavares can sign an extension is July 1. The Islanders don't want that to go until July 2. He's the franchise, but they have to win for him to believe in what they're doing.

The one thing I do know is that the three-goalie system rarely works. There's no way to keep each goalie happy and on his game. The Islanders need to address it now, but I'm just not sure the return for Halak would be worth the cost of trading Halak.

Video: NYI@PIT: Halak spins to clear puck from crease

If the Winnipeg Jets are struggling at .500 or lower on Nov. 20, do they just take the best offer for Jacob Trouba? -- @rayguarino

No. No. No. No.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has to have a long view in mind here, and he has to stick with his guns on this one. He can't trade Trouba for less than what he feels he should get in return for the sake of trading him. Do the Jets miss him and need a replacement if it's not going to be Trouba? Yes. But think of the long-term ramifications if they don't get equal value in return. They're disastrous and a potential job-killer for Cheveldayoff. He didn't ask for this situation, Trouba did, but the Jets have to hold true to what they believe regardless of where they are in the standings. If a young left-handed defenseman who they can play on one of their top two pairs is what they want, they need to hold out in order to get that. If it's a forward who can play in their top-six group, they have to hold out to get that.

How long are Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray still Pittsburgh Penguins? -- @petefrompitt

Well, if there is going to be a change, it'll only be one of them leaving. The question is who and when? Neither is known right now because GM Jim Rutherford doesn't have to make the decision right now. I think there's a misconception that the Penguins immediately have to do something about their goalies because of the upcoming NHL expansion draft. No. Rutherford doesn't have to make any decision in the immediate future. He has time as an ally and can let this thing play out. He can use this two-goalie system to his advantage for now, and then move when it's necessary. I will say, however, that if the Penguins are going to have to part with one of them, it will happen this season. Fleury would be the best guess for the goalie to get traded even though his no-movement clause limits Rutherford's potential trade partners. He can submit a list of 12 teams to which he would not accept a trade. Murray, though, is younger and cheaper after signing a three-year contract extension that will carry a $3.75 million salary-cap charge from 2017-20. Fleury is signed for two more seasons beyond this one at a $5.75 million cap charge. I don't see a scenario in which the Penguins trade Murray unless he falls flat and is clearly the No. 2. I don't see that happening, at least not the first part. Fleury might be good enough to prevent Murray from getting a lot of playing time this season, but that's no reason to trade a 22-year-old potential elite goalie who already has won the Stanley Cup. The good news for Rutherford is he has plenty of time before he has to decide anything. But also don't rule out the potential for Rutherford to try to work a deal with Las Vegas GM George McPhee so he agrees not to take the Penguins goalie who is exposed for the expansion draft.

Video: NYI@PIT: Fleury makes a nice glove save on Cizikas

When do you expect Ron Francis to address the Carolina Hurricanes' goaltending issues? -- @BuyMeABurrito

Either this coming offseason or next season at some point. Cam Ward and Eddie Lack are signed through next season at a combined $6.05 million, which is reasonable. I don't think either is Carolina's goalie of the future. It's possible the Hurricanes have their goalie of the future in the system, Alex Nedeljkovic, but my guess is he would need time as a backup in the NHL before Francis and coach Bill Peters could trust him to be a No. 1. He's 20 years old and not off to a good start in the American Hockey League (0-3-0, 3.88 goals-against average and .871 save percentage). So, I think the Hurricanes are status quo in net for now, but this offseason or next season at some point they're going to have to make changes. Ideally, it'll be the right time for Carolina to land a bona fide No. 1 goalie because it will be at the stage in its development as a team to take the next step. The Hurricanes are a young team, but they need to start doing some winning soon.

Do you think teams like the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers are a fluke, or are they the real deal? -- @Jagr10190

I have an optimistic view of each team with some skepticism on the side.

For the Oilers, I wonder if it's too much too soon and if the bubble will burst? Connor McDavid is absolutely amazing, the real deal, the MVP of the League through the first month, and he has plenty of talent around him too, but it's early and they're flying. What will they look like in December, January and February? A great start will allow the Oilers a slump, but do they have the wherewithal to pull out of it quickly? The good teams do. The Oilers haven't been a good team in a long time, so let's hold off on calling them anything but a team that got off to a good start for right now.

For the Rangers, this is the deepest group of forwards Alain Vigneault has had in his four seasons in New York. They're fast, and speed doesn't go away, so that's a good thing. Henrik Lundqvist hasn't even hit his stride yet, which is a good thing. Ryan McDonagh is looking like a legitimate all-star defenseman again, another good thing. Jimmy Vesey and Brady Skjei look comfortable, more good. But I have questions about their defense and how veterans like Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Nick Holden are going to hold up in the type of speed game they're playing. They don't have any depth on defense either, so an injury or two could be detrimental. But I have no issues in saying the Rangers are much better than they were last season, when they were good enough to finish third in the Metropolitan Division. They got off to a strong start last season too, but that seemed fluky because they were giving up a lot of shots and a lot of chances and Lundqvist was playing out of his mind. This season, they've had the puck a lot and generally are outshooting opponents, or at least out-chancing them. That bodes well for sustained success, but I want to give it time before I can say they're a legit Cup contender.

Video: STL@NYR: Vesey doubles the lead with close-range PPG

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