Latest on Steven Stamkos, Travis Hamonic, Kevin Shattenkirk, Sami Vatanen, Marcus Johansen & more in your NHL rumor mill.
Highlights from the Ottawa Sun’s “Insider Trading.”
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s a growing uneasiness among Tampa Bay Lightning fans regarding the future of captain Steven Stamkos. He’s a UFA next summer and there’s no indication he or the Lightning are drawing closer to a new contract. Garrioch believes Stamkos could command $11 million annually on the open market. If he hasn’t re-signed by the Feb. 29 trade deadline, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will have to decide what his next move could be.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing new here. As long as Stamkos remains unsigned, expect more of the same between now and the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
Forward Daniel Winnik has emerged as one of the players the Toronto Maple Leafs could be shopping.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s assumed the Leafs will shop a few veterans at the trade deadline for draft picks and prospects. Winnik might be part of that bunch.
After replacing their head coach, perhaps it’s time for the Pittsburgh Penguins to consider shopping some of their core players to see what they might fetch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Management will wait and see how the team performs under new head coach Mike Sullivan before deciding if any player movement is necessary.
Sami Vatanen is the latest member of the Anaheim Ducks to surface in the rumor mill. Garrioch claims the Ducks aren’t shopping Vatanen but speculates that “at the very least if they could get a return they would make a deal.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Or maybe the Ducks become the next team to replace their head coach? They’re currently spinning their wheels in the standings and their offense continues to flounder.
The Vancouver Canucks are believed in the market for a defenseman.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are apparently trying to see if he can land New York Islanders blueliner Travis Hamonic. However, Hamonic wants to be dealt close to his home in Manitoba so there might not be a fit there. The Isles want a comparable defenseman in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure the Blue Jackets would love to have Hamonic patrolling their blueline, but they’re not among his preferred trade destinations and they don’t have a comparable rearguard to offer up in return.
The St. Louis Blues could face a decision in the coming months regarding defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. He’ll be a UFA in 2017 and will be expensive to re-sign. The Blues would like to add a top-six forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Blues decide to shake things up I daresay that’ll happen in the offseason, not at the trade deadline. Shattenkirk won’t be moving this season.
Names to watch in the trade market.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman noted the current gridlock in the NHL trade market, but floated a couple of names to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. Some teams have inquired about Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson, but the Caps first want to see if Andre Burakovsky is capable of becoming a top-six forward before making that move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johansson is a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights and will be a year away from unrestricted free agency. That would explain why the Caps might listen to offers.
Florida Panthers forward Brandon Pirri could attract interest from clubs seeking scoring. However, the Panthers also need offense and could be unwilling to make that move. With the club’s new arena lease deal, Panthers ownership is further committed to investing in their promising young players.