Should the Bruins trade Zdeno Chara? How does the Leafs hiring Mike Babcock affect the Red Wings pursuit of Dion Phaneuf? Will the Canucks move a defenseman this summer?
Could Bruins new GM consider trading Chara?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell wonders if the Boston Bruins new GM Don Sweeney will consider a bold decision like trading aging defenseman Zdeno Chara as a cost-cutting move. While acknowledging Chara’s no-movement clause and the remaining three years on his contract, Campbell postulates the blueliner might be willing follow former GM Peter Chiarelli to Edmonton for an opportunity to teach the young Oilers what it takes to be a winner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Chara depends entirely on his willingness to accept a trade. If he won’t waive that NMC, Sweeney must look elsewhere to cut costs. There’s been recent speculation suggesting Chiarelli could try to bring some Bruins to Edmonton. Just because he’s the Bruins former GM, however, doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going that route.
Does Leafs hiring Babcock affect Red Wings efforts to land Phaneuf?
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan wonders how the Detroit Red Wings pursuit of Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf could be affected by the Leafs hiring former Wings coach Mike Babcock. The Wings tried unsuccessfully to land Phaneuf at the March trade deadline, and there’s speculation they could revisit that deal this summer. During Babcock’s introductory press conference last week with the Toronto media, he sounded as though he wanted to give Phaneuf a chance to show what he can do under his guidance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For some time there’s been speculation the Leafs could trade Phaneuf and right wing Phil Kessel this summer. That could change if Babcock believes he can improve their performances. While I wouldn’t rule out one or the other being moved this summer, Babcock’s hiring suggests it’s not longer a certainty.
Latest on the Canucks defense.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports the Vancouver Canucks first-round playoff elimination suggests their defense corps must get young, faster and able to generate more offense. He notes pickings are slim in this summer’s UFA market, with Nashville’s Cody Franson the best of the bunch. Botchford anticipates Franson’s asking price could be in the $5 million range, meaning the Canucks must shed salary if they wish to sign him, suggesting trading Kevin Bieksa or Dan Hamhuis. He also proposes targeting a cap-strapped team, suggesting an offer of Dan Hamhuis ($4.5 million with one year remaining on his contract) along with another asset to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brent Seabrook.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Botchford acknowledges his proposed swap for Seabrook is pie in the sky stuff, but his assessment the Canucks must improve their defense is spot on. He’s also correct it will be expensive, meaning they’ll have to shed salary to make it work. Trading Bieksa or Hamhuis to free up cash to either sign Franson or pursue a blueliner via a separate trade is the obvious choice, but it’s not an easy one as both have modified no-trade clauses. Doesn’t make them impossible to move, but it could prove difficult.