Latest on Kevin Shattenkirk, Canucks shopping Chris Higgins, plus updates on the Wild and Red Wings.
Should the Oilers pursue Kevin Shattenkirk?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Citing an ESPN.com rumor suggesting St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could become a salary-cap casualty, Jonathan Willis believes Shattenkirk could be of interest to the Edmonton Oilers. Willis considers the soon-to-be 27-year-old “one of the league’s best offensive defencemen and is precisely the kind of player that Edmonton’s power play has been missing for the last few years.” He believes the Oilers have the depth in future assets to put together a competitive offer, but thinks it could also cost them center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Shattenkirk, whose annual cap hit is $4.25 million, is also eligible for UFA status in July 2017.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Shattenkirk is available, I believe Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is very interested. A Willis notes, however, sorting out a possible return and extending the blueliner beyond his current deal to keep him in Edmonton won’t be easy. Shattenkirk could command $6.5 million next summer on a long-term deal via free agency. The Oilers can’t part with assets for a player who could depart as a free agent next year.
Wild could seek a top-line center.
STARTRIBUNECOM: Michael Russo suggests the Minnesota Wild may have missed their chance last week to add a young first-line center when the Columbus Blue Jackets dealt Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for blueliner Seth Jones. “So, where does the Wild go from here?,” asks Russo. “Don’t get your hopes up for Steven Stamkos and Anze Kopitar. Eric Staal’s on the downslope of his career, and David Backes, maybe available in the offseason, is 31.” He notes Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could be available but wonders if he’s any better than Wild center Mikael Granlund, while San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture has injury concerns.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wild want Nugent-Hopkins, it’s going to cost them a defenseman. While the Wild have depth in that department, the Oilers could want an established top-two blueliner. Not sure there’s a fit there. Jonas Brodin’s been underwhelming this season, Mike Reilly and Matt Dumba are inexperienced, and they recently re-signed the undersized but effective Jared Spurgeon. They certainly aren’t moving Ryan Suter.
Canucks shopping Chris Higgins.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning released a statement yesterday saying he’s attempting to trade winger Chris Higgins, who’s signed through 2016-17 at an annual cap hit of $2.5 million with a limited no-trade clause. Benning is making this move as part of his efforts to transition toward a younger roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hampered by injuries, Higgins has struggled this season. It’s possible Benning could find a taker from a playoff contender seeking checking-line depth near the trade deadline. Otherwise, he could face trying to trade the 32-year-old winger in the offseason or buying out the final season of Higgin’s contract.
Latest Red Wings News.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports the Red Wings still have moves to make to accommodate defenseman Kyle Quincey’s return to the lineup. Blueliner Jakub Kindl cleared waivers over the weekend and will be demoted, but they still need to free up more cap space. Kulfan claims GM Ken Holland tried for several weeks to trade Kindl. Possiblities could include demoting defenseman Alexey Marchenko (he’s waiver-exempt) or little-used forward Joakim Andersson.