Latest on Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis, Calgary Flames goalie Jonas Hiller and Ottawa Senators winger Colin Greening.
Hamhuis, Canucks could talk contract this season.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis claims he spoke about his contract status with GM Jim Benning “a little bit” this summer. An unrestricted free agent next summer, the 32-year-old Hamhuis suggested contract talks could occur throughout the upcoming season. Brough notes some Canucks followers believe the transitioning team should trade him before the Feb. 29 deadline, perhaps for a return similar to what the Carolina Hurricanes received last season from the LA Kings (a first-round pick) for blueliner Andrej Sekera. Brough believes the Canucks will either re-sign Hamhuis or trade him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamhuis is a BC native who has enjoyed playing in Vancouver. He will be completing a six-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. Hamhuis is now the most experienced rearguard on the Canucks and his skills and leadership will be invaluable in aiding the adjustment of younger defensemen. However, he’ll turn 33 in December and I doubt he gets an extension longer than three years from the Canucks, nor do I expect it will be worth much more than his current annual salary. If unable to come to terms on a new deal, the Canucks could shop Hamhuis leading up to the trade deadline, especially if they’re out of playoff contention by then.
Will the Flames trade Hiller?
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis speculates Jonas Hiller could be the odd man out in the Flames goaltending rotation if promising Joni Ortio has a strong training camp. He claims the Flames would love to trade Hiller to a club in need of depth between the pipes but the return will be minimal. Francis speculates it’s more likely Hiller will hit the waiver wire and either be picked up by another club or sent to their AHL affiliate. Hiller, 33, is in the final season of his contract and will earn $4.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Francis that the Flames won’t get much back for Hiller in terms of a trade. His performance has declined in recent years. His salary could prove difficult to move, though the Flames could pick up part of it to make him more enticing on the trade market. If he’s demoted, they’ll only receive $950K in cap relief. For now, we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out in training camp.
Update on Greening.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports little-used winger Colin Greening carries a contract (two more seasons at $2.65 million per) the Ottawa Senators would like to unload, but he’s hoping to prove himself worthy of that deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Garrioch observes, Greening will have his work cut out for him. “Their depth chart, before the tinkering, figures to have Clarke MacArthur with Kyle Turris and Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman with Mika Zibanjad and Bobby Ryan, Milan Michalek with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Curtis Lazar, and Alex Chiasson with Zack Smith and Chris Neil.” Greening will also have to outperform promising Shane Prince and Matt Puempel. If he’s odd man out again, expect the Greening trade speculation to continue this season.