A collection of NHL trade speculation from SI.com involving Steven Stamkos, and more.

Latest NHL rumors from SI.com.

Could the Tampa Bay Lightning trade Steven Stamkos?

Could the Tampa Bay Lightning trade Steven Stamkos?

Allan Muir included the contract status of Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos among his eight storylines worth watching during NHL training camp and preseason. He calls Stamkos a franchise player whose franchise might not be committed to him. “The longer he remains unsigned, the greater the likelihood that he is dealt at some point this season or worse, allowed to leave as a free agent next summer”, writes Muir.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree the longer Stamkos goes without a new contract, the more speculation there will be about his future. However, I doubt very much he’ll be traded this season. The Lightning enter this season considered a Stanley Cup contender. Their chances of winning the big mug are better with Stamkos than without him. Stamkos also carries a full no-movement. Even if he agrees to waive it, the Lightning’s asking price will be astronomical. Why would a team part with top assets for a player they can pursue via free agency? Why give up top assets for a player who could only end up as a playoff rental?

Given the offseason speculation linking him to Toronto, it could cost the Leafs at least their first-round pick in 2016, one of their top prospects (hello there, Mitch Marner or William Nylander) plus either Nazem Kadri or Morgan Rielly. All that accomplishes is weakening the Leafs already-shrunken depth. If they truly want Stamkos, better to wait until he hits the UFA market. 

Muir also suggests the Toronto Maple Leafs could be adding assets that have trade value later in the season should PTO (professional tryout offer) forwards Brad Boyes, Curtis Glencross, Devin Setoguchi and defenseman Mark Fraser earn roster spots. Their recent shipping of five minor leaguers to the New York Islanders for winger Michael Grabner indicates they’re clearing contract room to make possible further additions via waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That certainly seems like the Leafs plan, and it’s a smart one. Stockpile what serviceable short-term players you can now and attempt to barter them off to playoff contenders near the trade deadline for picks and/or prospects. 

Muir considers the Nashville Predators a possible trade destination for Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal later this season. “Nashville’s current crop of centers—Mike Ribeiro, Mike Fisher, Cody Hodgson and Paul Gaustad—stands out as the weakest of any team with legitimate playoff aspirations,” he writes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming the Hurricanes will trade Staal and that he’ll waive his full no-movement clause to go to Nashville as a rental player, because I doubt the usually cost-conscious Predators could prevent him from testing the UFA market in July. 

Following the news defenseman Dennis Seidenberg will miss a few days of training camp to an upper-body injury, Muir speculates the Boston Bruins could be in the market for depth for their wafer-thin blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule it out, though it’ll depend upon how their young defenseman (Torey Krug, Zach Trotman, Joe Morrow) perform in preseason action.