Latest on Keith Yandle, Tyler Bozak, Alexander Semin and Michael Grabner.
Could Yandle hit the trade block?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates defenseman Keith Yandle could become a trade candidate if the New York Rangers need to clear cap space to re-sign center Derek Stepan. Brooks suggests Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly’s new contract (worth $7.5 million annually) could be used as a comparable by Stepan if he files for salary arbitration today. Brooks claims there’s no indication the Rangers intend to trade right wing Rick Nash and no mention of Nash’s name in the rumor mill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out for certain what Stepan’s intentions are by 5 pm ET today. If a Yandle trade becomes necessary, it will likely take place after Stepan gets his new deal, either in negotiations with the Rangers or via arbitration. The Rangers’ are carrying only $2.625 million of Yandle’s salary (the Arizona Coyotes carry the other half), which would make him an affordable, attractive option in the trade market even in mid-summer.
Suggested destinations for Bozak.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes “Arizona, New Jersey, Minnesota, Detroit and Boston (if it could afford him)” as teams which could use Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes could have used depth at center until they brought back Antoine Vermette, signed Brad Richardson and acquired Boyd Gordon. They’re done now. The Devils have Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac as their top-two centers, so there’s no fit there unless they trade one of them.
The Wild have limited cap space ($3.628 million available) and have Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle as their top-three centers, so Bozak’s no fit there unless they make a trade. Detroit signed Brad Richards but he’s long in the tooth as a second-line center, but with Dylan Larkin waiting in the wings and Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan in the lineup, the Wings seem content with their current crop of centers. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are the top two centers in Boston, so Bozak’s no fit there.
Updates on Semin and Grabner.
WASHINGTONCAPS.COM: Mike Vogel reported on July 2 it sounds like Alexander Semin wants to stay in the NHL, but there’s zero chance he returns to the Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there was any chance of Semin returning to the Capitals, their signing of Justin Williams and acquisition via trade of T.J. Oshie since Vogel’s tweet eliminated it completely. As an aside, I believe the Capitals did a superb job addressing their lack of scoring punch on right wing.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty recently reported hearing the New York Islanders could be shopping winger Michael Grabner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That report was on July 1. Have to wonder how the recent player movement via free agency and trades could affect those efforts by the Isles to move Grabner.