Updates on the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers in your first Sunday rumor roundup of the new NHL season.
Could the Bruins trade Chara or Rask?
SPORTSNET (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): In a recent radio interview, Elliotte Friedman was recently asked about the possibility of the Boston Bruins making further bold moves this season, perhaps by trading captain Zdeno Chara or goaltender Tuukka Rask. He noted Chara and Rask have no-movement clauses. He claimed there were rumors this summer about Rask, but when he looked into them he was told they weren’t going to do it as the goalies in their system are inexperienced. When asked about the possibility of Chara to Montreal, Friedman said it would be quite the storyline. He also suggested the Columbus Blue Jackets as a team, though they’ll have cap issues and must re-sign top center Ryan Johansen in a year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Friedman was merely responding to questions and not saying this is what he’s heard from his sources. As he put it, he’s merely spitballing here. Chara has two more seasons left after this one at an annual cap hit of over $6.9 million. He’s also turning 39 in March and has lost a step or two. I think the new Bruins management would love to move Chara, but he’ll have to agree to the deal. If so, the Bruins will likely have to absorb part of his cap hit or take back a toxic contract in return. I don’t believe Rask is going anywhere unless he forces the issue or is challenged for the starter’s job down the road by a young goalie like Malcolm Subban.
Blackhawks shopping for a defenseman.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Kuc reports a source says the Blackhawks are in the market for a defenseman. They’re seeking experienced depth for their third defense pairing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Blackhawks have promising depth at forward this season in Teuvo Teravainen and Artemi Panarin, they’re lacking that beyond their top-two defense pairings. Trevor van Riemsdyk has potential, but he needs an experienced blueline partner. The problem, of course, is their cap space. The ‘Hawks have only $350K available, meaning management must free up cap space or make a dollar-for-dollar deal to make this work.
Nikitin not going to Russia.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Edmonton Oilers defenseman Nikita Nikitin will not be heading to Russia. There was speculation earlier this week that Nikitin might head to the KHL after he was demoted to the Oilers’ AHL team in Bakersfield.