Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 16, 2017
Could the Tampa Bay Lightning make a pitch for John Tavares? Could the New Jersey Devils make another move this summer? Read out for the latest in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks asks, “Am I the only one envisioning (Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat) being part of the package the Lightning would offer the Islanders in exchange for John Tavares at some point this season if No. 91 remains unsigned?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, Larry, you are the only one envisioning that scenario.
Brooks notes the Islanders are committed to riding out the upcoming season to get Tavares under contract before his eligibility for unrestricted free agency next July. However, if Tavares reaches free agency, Brooks believes there’s “a keen sense” the Lightning will aggressively pursue him. He also feels the lack of a state tax in Florida could work to their advantage.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tax, schmax, everyone knows all the best Ontario-born NHL players sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, right Steven Stamkos? Oh wait…
Okay, so I’m being a bit snarky on this one. Sure, the Lightning could pursue Tavares via trade or free agency. Stranger things have happened. Honestly, though, I don’t see why the Bolts would do this.
For one thing, why would they ship out two core players recently re-signed to long-term deals? Lightning GM Steve Yzerman didn’t sign those two simply to use them as trade bait before their no-trade clauses kick in next July. He believes they can help the Bolts return to the Stanley Cup Final.
If the Lightning make this move, where does Stamkos play? Do you move him to left wing to make room for Tavares as the top-line center?
And why trade away $10.3 million in combined annual average value invested in two quality core players to spend that much, if not more, for Tavares? That move not only robs them of their best left wing and two-way forward in Palat but potentially ties up nearly $20 million in just two players, Tavares and Stamkos. And they’ll have to re-sign Nikita Kucherov to a big raise (over $8 million annually) in 2019.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa speculates New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero might not be done dealing this summer. While Shero is down two draft picks, Shinzawa thinks he has plenty of salary-cap space to pursue a deal similar to his acquisitions of Taylor Hall and Marcus Johansson.
He points out the Nashville Predators have several restricted free agents (Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson and Pontus Aberg) in need of significant raises. If they get too close to the salary-cap ceiling, Shinzawa believes Shero will be happy to help them clear some salary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not sure if there’s a fit there. The Devils need help on defense. While the Predators have considerable depth on the blueline, they’re not keen to move a rearguard.