NHL Rumor Mill – February 8, 2017
Latest on the Avalanche, Rangers, Senators, Canucks, Blackhawks & more in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic and Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman were scouting the Anaheim Ducks recent game against the Florida Panthers. He notes the Ducks have a surplus of young defenseman “and it’s been believed for a while now GM Bob Murray will trade one for a forward. Both the Avalanche and Lightning have that.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Ducks biggest need is to add a first- or second-line left wing. The Avs had that commodity in Landeskog. The Bolts have Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin, who are restricted free agents this summer and could prove expensive to re-sign.
Friedman also doubts the Ottawa Senators are interested in paying a big price for Colorado’s Matt Duchene. He also notes the Senators are getting calls about struggling young forward Curtis Lazar but doubts they want to part with him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch also believes the Sens are unlikely to part with Lazar, as they don’t want to give up on him yet. If they were to put him on the block, and Garrioch considers that doubtful, they’ll want “a high-end pick or top prospect” in return.
Friedman speculates the Avalanche could be among the clubs with interest in Edmonton Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson. He’s not someone the Oilers want to trade, but the difficulty in protecting him in the expansion draft and the need to re-sign other key players could make him tough to retain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers don’t have to move Davidson now. They could attempt to trade him before the June 17 deadline for submitting their expansion draft protected list.
Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka was spotted in Chicago for the recent Blackhawks-Dallas Stars game. While Hawks management is downplaying the possibility of a big move, Friedman observes they love to win and opponents think they could make a stealth move. He speculates they could target Detroit Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks only have $1.7 million in deadline cap space. They’ll have to shed some salary or get a trade partner to pick up part of the cap hit of any notable player they could be interested in (like, say, Vanek or the Coyotes Shane Doan) to make this happen. Bowman has pulled off deadline moves before and I wouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility that he could it again. As Friedman notes, however, the Hawks GM won’t move his first-round pick because his club is hosting this year’s NHL Draft.
Friedman notes the New York Rangers are looking for defensemen. While he mentioned Toronto Maple Leafs blueliner (and former Ranger) Matt Hunwick as a possibility, he points out the Rangers need a right-side defenseman, which Hunwick is not.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman probably won’t be a big player at this year’s NHL trade deadline. He also reports the Ottawa Senators kicked the tires on Colorado Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, but given the high asking prices, they’re unlikely to call back.
Earlier this season, Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said he wouldn’t ask pending UFAs Alex Burrows and Ryan Miller to waive their no-trade clauses. Bob McKenzie reports, however, that situation might change. If the Canucks decide to sell, and if there’s interest in Burrows and/or Miller, Benning could go to those players, explain what’s being made available to them and see if they’re willing to waive their clauses.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning was quite insistent about not asking players carrying no-trade/no-movement clauses to waive them. We’ll find out soon enough if he’s changed his mind.
Earlier in the day, McKenzie told Vancouver’s TSN 1040 that if the Canucks were able to parlay a young defenseman such as Ben Hutton into a good young scoring forward, it could be a good option for them. He stressed, however, that he’s not saying Hutton’s being shopped.
Darren Dreger reports the Winnipeg Jets will be hard-pressed to replace defenseman Tyler Myers, who’s now out for several weeks because of a lower-body surgery. He’s already missed most of this season to injuries. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was already shopping for blueline depth and will continue to look.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff should be looking for a proven starting goalie. While I agree they could use more depth on defense (especially with Myers out most of this season), inconsistent goaltending is once again their biggest weakness. That’s been an ongoing issue for years, and until it’s suitably addressed, the Jets will remain a non-playoff club.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers need a big-minute, puck-moving right-side defenseman, but argues against them overpaying for that player at the trade deadline. If they’re going to pursue someone like St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, he suggests it’s better to wait until free agency in July, when all it will cost them is money. He also suggests blueliners such as Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba, Calgary’s Dougie Hamilton, Nashville’s Ryan Ellis or Anaheim’s Brandon Montour might be available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers could land Shattenkirk in a sign-and-trade deal in which they don’t give up a lot of assets, then (as Brooks suggest) it’s worth exploring. Otherwise, however, it would be a wasteful effort to pursue him as a rental. Addressing that weakness on their right side will likely have to wait until this summer. Trouba, Ellis and perhaps Montour could be trade possibilities, but I take Flames president Brian Burke at his word when he said last fall that Hamilton’s unavailable.