NHL Rumor Mill – February 7, 2017
Another list of potential trade-deadline trade bait, an update on the Ducks and more speculation over John Tavares’ future.
USA TODAY: St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal, Detroit Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek and Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop top Kevin Allen’s list of the top-10 players most likely to be on the move by the March 1 trade deadline.
Hanzal’s teammates Radim Vrbata, Michael Stone and Shane Doan, Dallas Stars forwards Patrick Eaves and Patrick Sharp and Bishop’s teammate Brian Boyle round out the list. Allen left off Colorado Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, speculating it could take until this summer for them to be moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the usual suspects are here, but Allen tosses in a couple of interesting new names in Eaves and Boyle. Both are skilled two-way forwards and are eligible this summer for unrestricted free agency. For playoff contenders seeking depth at center, these two could be worthwhile and affordable options.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Elliotte Friedman telling Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 the Anaheim Ducks depth in good young defenseman could make them an increasingly attractive trade deadline as the March 1 deadline approaches. He notes Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic and Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman attended Friday’s Anaheim-Florida game.
Friedman points out the Avs have players with term left on their contracts they want to move and the Lightning have salary-cap issues to address. Friedman speculates they could’ve been scouting Josh Manson, a blueliner the Ducks could be forced to leave unprotected in the June expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since last summer, there’s been speculation the Ducks could move a defenseman. Much of the focus was on Cam Fowler but that’s died down since last fall. Some believe Manson, Brandon Montour or Shea Theodore could hit the trade block by the deadline in hopes of landing a scoring forward.
Everyone knows the Avs are listening to offers for Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, but the asking price is huge and their contracts are expensive. There’s also talk the Bolts could try moving Valtteri Filppula by the deadline, but could also shop a pending UFA such as Brian Boyle or possibly even a restricted free agent such as Tyler Johnson.
TORONTO SUN: Rob Longley reports New York Islanders captain John Tavares once again deflected questions about his future from Toronto reporters. Tavares was born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario and is eligible in July 2018 for unrestricted free agency. He’s frequently been the subject of speculation over whether he’ll join his hometown team as a UFA.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You’d think those pundits learned their lesson from last year’s fail Steven Stamkos watch. Even if Tavares decides to test the market next year, the Leafs could have no need for him. They’ve got a budding superstar center in Auston Matthews and two more bright young stars in Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
If the Leafs want to make a foray into free agency in 2017 and 2018, it should be for skilled and affordable depth talent to surround their trio of rising young forward stars. Adding a budget-busting superstar such as Tavares could set them back, making it difficult to re-sign those youngsters.