Should the Penguins consider trading Sidney Crosby? Which Leafs could stay or go? What moves could the Wild make? The latest in your rumor mill.
Time for the Penguins to trade Crosby?
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Stan Fischler believes it’s time for the Pittsburgh Penguins to trade captain Sidney Crosby. He believes Crosby is now past his peak years, but feels the Penguins can still cash in, suggesting Montreal, Toronto or Los Angeles as trade destinations. As for those who doubt the Penguins would trade their captain, Fischler notes the Edmonton Oilers traded icons Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gretzky and Messier, however, didn’t have full no-movement clauses and didn’t play in a salary-cap era. Crosby’s only 28, and while off to a unusually slow start this season, it’s premature to write him off. It wasn’t that long ago when people were saying the same thing about Crosby’s rival Alexander Ovechkin when the Washington Capitals superstar slumped in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Maybe down the road, when Crosby’s in his early-thirties, the Penguins will consider trading him. Not now.
Fischler also feels the longer Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos’ contract saga drags on, the more he’s convinced Stamkos wants to join the Maple Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Long way to go between now and July 1, 2016. I will say, however, that if Stamkos is still unsigned come June, I’ll start believing the possibility he could move on as a UFA.
Who stays and who goes in Toronto?
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran breaks down those on the current Maple Leafs roster likely to stay or go as the club rebuilds. Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak, Jonathan Bernier, James Reimer, Matt Hunwick and Nick Spaling stand a “better than 50 percent” chance of staying. Peter Holland, Leo Komarov, Shawn Matthias, Daniel Winnik, Frank Corrado, Martin Marincin stand less than 50 percent, while Joffrey Lupul, Brad Boyes, Rich Clune, Michael Grabner, P-A Parenteau, Byron Froese stand less than 25 percent. McGran believes there’s a market for Lupul if he can score and stay healthy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lupul’s problem, however, is that he doesn’t stay healthy, plus he’s carrying an annual cap hit of $5.25 million through 2017-18, plus he’s earning $6.75 million in actual salary this season. Unless the Leafs pick up a big chunk of his cap hit, I don’t see Lupul attracting much interest in the trade market.
Latest on the Wild.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo reported he felt the Minnesota Wild are more likely to trade defenseman Jared Spurgeon in the offseason, rather than the trade deadline, if unable to re-sign the restricted free agent blueliner. Russo wouldn’t be surprised if the Stars dealt backup goalie Darcy Kuemper around next June’s NHL draft, but doesn’t see a trade market for aging, expensive, oft-injured Niklas Backstrom. He also wouldn’t be shocked if the Wild bought out Jason Pominville next summer if the winger fails to regain his scoring touch, though such a move would be expensive. Russo doubts the Wild have sufficient cap space to pursue a potential UFA next summer like Kyle Okposo, especially when they’ve got Spurgeon, Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba to re-sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link to find out just how expensive a buyout of Pominville will be. The worst seasons are 2017-18 ($4.725 million cap hit) and 2018-19 ($2.225 million). The Wild have over $58 million invested in their 2016-17 payroll. Unless they shed salary, they can forget about being major players in next summer’s UFA market.