A roundup of trade and free agent rumors not including Travis Hamonic. Get the latest updates on Eric Staal, Loui Eriksson, Trevor Daley, Jonathan Bernier and Alex Semin.
SPORTNET: Luke Fox reports Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal would like to re-sign with his club, though he admits the two sides haven’t talked much about contract lately. A UFA at season’s end, Staal carries an $8.25 million cap hit this season and a full no-trade clause. He’d be an expensive rental player, but there’s also a chance the team acquiring him could re-sign him at a reduce rate. Speculation suggests the New York Rangers as a possible destination “as they are a cash-flush Cup contender who employ Staal’s brother, Marc, on defence.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers may be cash flush, but they’re current salary-cap poor, with only around $1.6 million in cap space this season. They have over $52 million invested in next season’s payroll. Assuming another marginal $2.4 million cap increase, that’ll give them over $21 million in cap space. However, they must also re-sign RFAs Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes and Antti Raanta, plus they must re-sign or replace UFAs like Keith Yandle and Viktor Stalberg. Staal won’t come cheap, probably between $6-$7 million at least. That’s a big chunk taken out of that cap space. Kreider, Miller and Hayes alone will seek significant raises, plus there must be sufficient room left to fill out the rest of the roster. Unless they dump salary elsewhere, I’m not convinced the Rangers are a destination for Staal this season or next summer.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the Bruins management faces a difficult decision over whether to re-sign or trade winger Loui Eriksson. While he’s one of the Bruins top forwards this season, he’s also 30 and has a concussion history. Re-signing the pending UFA could prove expensive. Meanwhile, his trade value is currently high and he could fetch a solid return near the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Shinzawa speculates if Eriksson seeks more than, say, four years and $24 million, the Bruins could shop him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The standings will also be a determining factor. If the Bruins are out of playoff contention by the trade deadline, I think they put Eriksson on the trade block. If they’re still in the playoff picture, they could retain him and try to re-sign him before July 1.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Chicago Blackhawks are getting calls about defenseman Trevor Daley, who’s struggling to adjust to the Blackhawks system. Given the numbers of teams seeking defensive help, there’s a market for Daley, though LeBrun believes the Blackhawks aren’t in a hurry to move him, preferring to wait for the right fit. Daley has a year left on his contract at a $3.3 million cap hit. He notes the Pittsburgh Penguins would like to add a blueliner, but it could be difficult fitting Daley under their cap.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins only have around $337K in cap space. No fit there for Daley unless they can shed salary. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are reportedly in the market for a top-four defenseman.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston recently reported Jonathan Bernier’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs is still somewhat uncertain, as two teams have recently inquired about acquiring him via trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE:Those teams are with interest in Bernier must be desperate. He’s earning a $4.150 cap hit through 2016-17 plus he’s being outplayed by backup James Reimer.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports Montreal Canadiens winger Alexander Semin, who’s been a frequent healthy scratch, may be wearing out his welcome. He speculates that could put the Habs in the trade market for a scorer sometime before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve read and heard a few suggestions of the Canadiens trading Semin. Good luck with that. I believe he’s blown his last chance to salvage his NHL career . Fortunately for the Habs, they didn’t overpay to get him (one-year, $1.1 million). They could demote him, but I’m not sure they want to risk him being a bad influence on their younger players. Perhaps both sides eventually come to a mutual agreement to terminate his contract.