Latest on Jonathan Drouin, Patrick Marleau, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Loui Eriksson and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Latest from TSN’s Insiders.
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports upwards of a dozen NHL teams have “significant dialogue” with Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman regarding demoted left wing Jonathan Drouin. All are waiting to see how Yzerman handles this situation. He’ll either zero in on one or two offers over the next 24-72 hours, or this will be “slow played” and interested clubs could move on to other things.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two weeks ago, a Drouin trade was thought to be within a few days of completion. Last Friday, a report claimed a deal could happen within 24 hours. Nearly three weeks after his agent’s trade request, Drouin remains on the Lightning’s farm team. Sounds like Yzerman is already slow-playing this situation. He’s in no rush to move Drouin, and it’ll obviously take a terrific offer to convince the Bolts GM to part with the young winger.
Pierre LeBrun reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile isn’t done pursing another scoring forward before the trade deadline. Earlier this month, the Preds shipped blueliner Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Ryan Johansen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the recent addition of Johansen (who has seven points in six games with the Preds), they have only two wins this month, slipping out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. The Predators remain among the bottom third in league scoring. Little wonder Poile is shopping for more offense.
Darren Dreger reports preliminary contract talks are underway between the Boston Bruins and winger Loui Eriksson. Dreger believes the Eriksson camp will seek a five-to-six-year deal worth around $6 million annually. If the Bruins can’t stomach that kind of deal, Dreger suggests they might ship Eriksson to a Western Conference club like the Predators.
Dreger also believes it’s unlikely LA Kings center Vincent Lecavalier won’t reconsider his intention to retire at season’s end.
LeBrun claims agent Pat Brisson, who represents San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, continues to explore the trade market *under the radar” for his client. Such a move, however, likely wouldn’t happen until the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marleau’s reported trade destinations were the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers. No way in hell the Sharks ship him to a California rival this season (if at all), while the Rangers cannot afford his $6.6 million cap hit this season. Unless he broadens his list of destinations, he’s not going anywhere this season.
McKenzie notes Columbus Blue Jackets winger Kerby Rychel asked for a trade in the offseason if he didn’t make the club. He’s now earning more minutes with the club, but the Jackets are considering all their options heading toward the trade deadline.
LeBrun claims the Dallas Stars would like to add another top defenseman before the trade deadline.
LeBrun on the Wild and Nugent-Hopkins.
ESPN.COM: LeBrun reports the Minnesota Wild are another club shopping for offense. They’re believed among the teams with interest in Lightning winger Jonanthan Drouin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While I don’t doubt the Wild have interest, I don’t see Drouin stepping in and providing the immediate boost their offense needs right now. I think GM Chuck Fletcher will look for a more established, experienced option.
Noting a recent Sportsnet report claiming the Edmonton OIlers and Nashville Predators discussed possible swap of center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for defenseman Seth Jones before the latter was dealt to Columbus, LeBrun doesn’t get the sense the Oilers were shopping Nugent-Hopkins, though they were willing to listen to an offer from the Preds if there was a chance to land Jones. He doesn’t feel they’d trade a player like Nugent-Hopkins for the sake of doing so. He also notes the center’s recent hand injury could dampen interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun went one step further on TSN 1050 yesterday, claiming he knew the Oilers weren’t shopping Nugent-Hopkins. So, it sounds as though the Preds contacted the Oilers with a pitch of Jones for Nugent-Hopkins. Whether the Oilers rejected that offer, or the Jackets offer of Johansen trumped it, seems to be anyone’s guess.
Highlights from Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts“.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman suspects the Tampa Bay Lightning made a contract offer in recent weeks to pending UFA captain Steven Stamkos, who recently dismissed reports claiming his contract talks were at a stalemate.
Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney claims he’s working toward find a new deal with UFA winger Mikkel Boedker that works for his club.
The Anaheim Ducks will have a loaded blueliner once sidelined defensemen Simon Despres and Cam Fowler return to action. They’re in the market for young forwards. Based on a recent comment by Ducks GM Bob Murray, they might not be among those with interest in Jonathan Drouin. “We know he’s there but there’s a few others out there, too, that haven’t requested trades,” said Murray. “Requesting trades on entry level (contract), that’s something new for you and I.”
The Calgary Flames are getting calls on defenseman Kris Russell, but they’re hoping to re-sign him.
Friedman expressed doubt that Drouin is what the struggling Montreal Canadiens need right now. “The Canadiens are in a free-fall and the pressure would be insane. He’s going to be a terrific player, but expecting him to be the answer now is not realistic.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree. Drouin could one day become a significant NHL playmaker, but throwing him into the Montreal cauldron now will ruin his career. As Friedman noted elsewhere, Montreal fans and pundits would expect Drouin to be the Habs savior. Nothing I’ve seen from the kid suggests he’s ready for that type of pressure.