Latest on Ryan Johansen, Travis Hamonic, Colin Greening, Nikita Nikitin and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Blue Jackets listening to offers for Johansen.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports teams are continuing to contact the Columbus Blue Jackets regarding center Ryan Johansen, who one GM claims is “softly in play.” Dreger claims Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen isn’t actively shopping Johansen, but when a team calls about the center he’s asking them what’s their offer. If the right offer comes along, Dreger feels he’ll consider it.
Frank Seravalli noted Johansen’s contentious contract talks with Blue Jackets management last year and observes he doesn’t seem to have gotten off on the right foot with new head coach John Tortorella. He includes Johansen on his 10-player list of NHL trade bait, which also includes New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal and San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, the Blue Jackets could (emphasis on “could”) trade Johansen, but they’re not going to just give him away. The guy’s a top-line center. Despite his issues this season, is on pace for a 65-point performance. The right offer isn’t likely to come during this season. It’ll be expensive, including at least a first-round pick plus a top prospect.
Highlights from Friedman’s weekly “30 Thoughts.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there’s a feeling Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is looking to make additions at forward and defense. He could dangle little-used defenseman Jarred Tinordi. Forward Lars Eller’s name has surfaced, though it’s difficult to tell if that’s old info or new. Friedman wonders if the Arizona Coyotes might be interested in Eller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: When it comes to stealth in the trade market, Bergevin can out-Lamoriello Lou Lamoriello. He’s proven capable of swinging deals early in the season (shipping out Travis Moen and Rene Bourque last November) as well as at the trade deadline (Thomas Vanek, Jeff Petry), which is when he makes his biggest moves.
Bergevin has around $2 million in cap space prior to Brendan Gallagher going on LTIR, and could free up $950K by demoting Alex Semin, Heck, he might even use Semin as an add-on in a trade. Seems unlikely, but then again, he did find a taker for Bourque’s supposedly untradeable contract last fall. Anyway, Bergevin could be targeting bottom feeders (Calgary, Columbus, Colorado, Edmonton), clubs with UFAs they desperately want to move (Carolina?) or maybe cap-strapped clubs (Chicago, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia) looking to free up some room.
Eller was often mentioned as trade bait last season, but I’m not so sure he wants to move him now. Tinordi will definitely be dealt, it’s just a question of when. It’ll be interesting to see what move he finally makes.
The Chicago Blackhawks could be kicking the tires on Edmonton Oilers defenseman Nikita Nikitin, who’s currently toiling in the minors. He guesses the Blackhawks would consider it if the Oilers were willing to take back someone with term left on their contract. He assumed that might be defenseman Trevor Daley, but was told that’s “100 percent wrong.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk during training camp of a Nikitin-for-Bryan Bickell swap that supposedly fell through. Their cap hits are roughly the same (Nikitin $4.5 million, Bickell $4 million), but it doesn’t clear room for the cap-strapped Blackhawks.
Regarding New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, the Calgary Flames won’t part with T.J. Brodie or Dougie Hamilton to get him. The Colorado Avalanche are interested but Friedman doesn’t know what the fit there could be. The Minnesota Wild have defensemen to offer up, but they want a forward. Several reports indicate the Edmonton Oilers won’t part with Darnell Nurse for Hamonic. Friedman considers the Winnipeg Jets the best fit, speculating the Isles could seek Jacob Trouba in return. The Anaheim Ducks could do a straight-up trade for Hamonic, but does he want to go there?
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing really new here, just a roundup of what’s already been reported around the league. It could take a while to get a Hamonic deal done.
Coyotes inquired about Hamonic.
AZCENTRAL.COM: Sarah McLellan reports Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney reached out to the New York Islanders regarding defenseman Travis Hamonic. “A talented player,” Maloney said. “We certainly called right away, but we do not have a good fit for them right now. That’s the bottom line. They’re looking for a ready-made complement player.”
Senators still shopping Greening.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Ottawa Senators are still trying to move winger Colin Greening, who was recently recalled from the minors, suggesting they might toss in a prospect. Greening’s $2.6 million annual cap hit is a sticking point, but adding a prospect might increase interest.