With little trade and free agent speculation from the mainstream media, here’s a look at the rumors that have kicked around the NHL blogosphere in recent weeks. Enjoy!
The Capitals, Wild and Flames are interested in James van Riemsdyk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk is a talented young left wing. If the Leafs shop him (which I consider unlikely, as they’ll evaluate his play next season before determing his future in Toronto), there will be considerable interest. However, don’t expect the Capitals, Wild and Flames to be among the bidders.
The Flames only have a little over $3 million in cap space for next season and have to re-sign Mark Giordano, Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau next summer. Even if Giordano and Hudler depart next summer via free agency, Monahan and Gaudreau will be expensive re-signings. van Riemsdyk certainly can’t replace Giordano and on the wrong wing to replace Hudler. The Capitals and Wild lack the cap space to take on van Riemsdyk’s $4.25 million per season salary, plus the Wild are deep at left wing with Zach Parise, Thomas Vanek and Jason Zucker.
Patrick Marleau for Rick Nash.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not happening. Both have no-trade clauses and no interest in moving. Marleau is aging and not an improvement over Nash, the Rangers’ leading scorer last season. Also, when the Columbus Blue Jackets were shopping Nash three years ago, he made it clear he was only interested in playing for Eastern teams.
The Montreal Canadiens could trade Lars Eller or David Desharnais to the Capitals for a defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: First, I don’t see the Capitals making any significant roster moves until they’ve sorted out Marcus Johansson’s contract situation. He’s slated for arbitration later this week. Once that’s done, the Capitals won’t have much cap space available. Even now, they’ve got only around $4.2 million remaining. Eller and Desharnais each earn $3.5 million annually, so the Caps would have to move comparable salary to make the dollars fit. They aren’t trading John Carlsson ($3.966 million) or Karl Alzner ($2.8 million). I don’t see Dmitri Orlov being an improvement for the Habs defense corps, nor do I see the Habs moving Eller or Desharnais for him. Such a move makes no sense for the Canadiens.
The Winnipeg Jets could be interested in Jeff Skinner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see why. The Jets are pretty much set on their top-two lines with Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler, Drew Stafford, Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault. They’re also bringing back Alex Burmistrov and there’s a good chance promising Nikolaj Ehlers makes his debut in 2015-16. Skinner’s not a fit with the Jets.
The Arizona Coyotes are pursuing Cody Franson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Coyotes have lots of cap space to sign Franson, they’re also under a self-imposed cap ceiling that is much lower than the league ceiling. The recent addition of Nicklas Grossmann and the return of Zbynek Michalek addressed their need for experience on their blueline. They also possess one of the league’s best puck-moving defensemen in Oliver Ekman-Larsson. They also have several promising young rearguards in their system and in their lineup. I don’t think Franson’s a fit with the Coyotes.