The latest on Travis Zajac, Brayden Schenn, Lars Eller and Dustin Byfuglien in part one of today’s NHL rumor mill.
Highlights from Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports a question being asked by agents and team executives regarding a future expansion draft is if players with no-movement clauses or partial no-trade clauses will be draft-exempt.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s something I’ve looked into, but the CBA doesn’t appear to address that point. If players carrying those clauses aren’t exempt, it could be used as a means for teams with limited cap space to free up salary, provided of course the player is claimed by an expansion club. For now, that’s not something I expect the league to specifically address until approval is given by the Board of Governors to add new franchises. And if the comments of BoG chairman and Boston Bruins owners Jeremy Jacobs are anything to go by (I know, proceed with caution!), expansion might not be the certainty we’ve assumed it to be.
Agent Kurt Overhardt, who represents New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac, pushed back hard against speculation suggesting his client would be traded. Friedman claims Toronto Maple Leafs general manager (and former Devils GM) Lou Lamoriello likes Zajac, but there’s been no substantive discussions with New Jersey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman notes, Zajac also has a full no-trade clause, giving him complete control of the situation. He reportedly wants to remain with the Devils. Overhardt claims there’s no truth to medial speculation that his client is being traded. So much for those “Zajac to Toronto” rumors.
The Dallas Stars will carry eight defensemen rather than risk a rival club plucking Jamie Oleksiak off waivers.
Friedman thinks a few teams have contacted Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergervin regarding his plans for defenseman Jarred Tinordi. He believes Bergevin is reluctant to put Tinordi on waivers, meaning the struggling blueliner remains on the Habs roster “or they do something”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, that “something” would be a trade. CTV’s Brian Wilde thinks the Habs should shop Tinordi, who hasn’t developed into the big shutdown defenseman they hoped he would be, to give the kid a fresh start elsewhere. Could be worth keeping an eye on in the coming days. Hey, maybe they ship Tinordi to Dallas for Oleksiak? The two clubs have a recent trade history.
Speaking of the Canadiens, their recent shift of Lars Eller to left wing to accommodate more Alex Galchenyuk to center has prompted more speculation over his future in Montreal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think we’ll have to wait and see how the season plays out. Eller was the subject of trade speculation at last year’s trade deadline and during the offseason, but Bergevin seems unwilling to move him.
Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall received some inquiries regarding winger Brayden Schenn following his recent comments that Schenn was “ok” in training camp. However, Hextall didn’t mean for his remarks to come across as disappointment in the forward’s performance and Friedman doubts it’s a guarantee Schenn will be dealt.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Schenn would have considerable trade value, I don’t see the sense in the Flyers moving him, as that would leave a gap in their scoring lines difficult to fill. Yes, they need to shed salary and free up a roster spot, but there’s less painful ways of addressing that.
Despite speculation linking the Boston Bruins with Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, it appears they’re looking at more cost-effective ways to bolster their blueline. There’s no indication that there’s been much discussion regarding a contract extension between Byfuglien and the Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Jets trade Byfuglien, it won’t happen until near the Feb. 29 trade deadline, if at all.