Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 15, 2018
Latest on the Blackhawks plus updates on Max Pacioretty and Chris Tanev in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
A SNIPER OR TOP-FOUR DEFENSEMAN FOR THE BLACKHAWKS?
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Potash believes the first priority this summer for Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman should be acquiring a top-four defenseman. ‘‘We’re going to look at all those options, whether it’s a trade or free-agent acquisition or promoting players from Rockford,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘There have been some nice stories [at Rockford].’’
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Steve Rosenbloom acknowledged the Blackhawks’ priority is finding a No.1 defenseman or at least a top-four blueliner. However, he also felt their offseason shopping list should include a sniper for Patrick Kane’s line.
Rosenbloom noted Kane’s production declined this season, his first since the Hawks shipped winger Artemi Panarin last summer to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He suggested Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk, who tallied 36 goals this season, as one possibility, though the cost of signing van Riemsdyk could prove too expensive. The Blackhawks might have to make a trade to address that need.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As always, the Blackhawks salary-cap space will be a determining factor in how they address their roster needs. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $67 million invested in 16 players. Their notable free agents (Anthony Duclair, Vinnie Hinostroa and Tomas Jurco) should be affordable re-signings. The salary cap is projected to reach around $80 million for next season and they’ll get some additional cap relief when Marian Hossa ($5.275 million cap hit) is placed on long-term injured reserve, but they’ll only get that at the start of the season.
There won’t be a lot of wiggle room this summer to take on additional salary. They could go the trade route to address their roster needs, but it’ll cost them some of their promising young players. Unless they can find a way to free up additional cap room they can’t afford to pursue an expensive potential free agent such as van Riemsdyk.
PACIORETTY FOR BRODIE?
— NHL/Prospects Watcher (@Prospects_Watch) April 13, 2018
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Canadiens’ poor performance this season and Pacioretty only a year away from unrestricted free agent status, there’s plenty of speculation he could be traded this summer. However, almost all of that trade chatter suggests the Canadiens could seek a young scoring center as part of the return for Pacioretty. If the Habs were to pursue a Pacioretty-for-Brodie swap, I daresay they’ll want a promising young center as part of the deal.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Flames explore shopping Brodie for a scoring forward but I don’t see them pursuing a guy who’s a year away from UFA status unless they have some certainty that he’ll re-sign with them this summer. Pacioretty, a left winger, won’t address the Flames’ need for scoring depth at right wing.
TANEV TO TORONTO?
THE ATHLETIC: Jason Brough recently speculated over the possibility of the Vancouver Canucks trading a defenseman this summer, perhaps Ben Hutton or Chris Tanev. “I’ve said it over and over that Tanev would be perfect for Toronto, so I’ll be curious to see how the Maple Leafs fare in the playoffs,” wrote Brough, going to to propose Tanev fill Ron Hainsey’s role on the Leafs blueline. Tanev’s injury history, however, could hurt his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering how the overworked 37-year-old Hainsey struggled in the Leafs’ first two games against the Boston Bruins in their opening-round series, I daresay their management will make bolstering their blueline a priority this summer. Perhaps Tanev might interest the Leafs, though Brough’s point about his injuries could send them looking elsewhere for help. His eight-team no-trade list could also complicate things.