Latest on Jonathan Drouin, Loui Eriksson and Kevin Shattenkirk, plus an update on the Ducks in your NHL rumor mill.
Interest dampening in Jonathan Drouin?
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports between seven-12 NHL teams are believed to be interested in Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin, but this week’s developments (Drouin refusing to play until traded) could be causing some teams (St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks) to back off. The Montreal Canadiens are widely reported to still have interest, while Friedman speculates the Detroit Red Wings could be quietly looking at Drouin. TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie, however, dismisses the notion that Drouin’s holdout hurts his trade value, claiming a number of clubs are still interested.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch cites a league source claiming the asking price for the Ottawa Senators will be high if they want Drouin, as the Bolts will want two top prospects, one of them defenseman Thomas Chabot. Garrioch also claims there were reports last week that the Lightning could ask for blueliner Cody Ceci. He doubts the Senators will part with either guy and speculates the Lightning want to ship Drouin to a Western Conference club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt there’s a number of teams still very interested in Drouin, who believe he’s simply the victim of a bad situation. I also think many of those clubs are thinking long-term here and aren’t expecting Drouin to step in right away and make a significant offensive impact. However, there’s no denying his actions this week will give some GMs reason to pause. While Drouin has considerable potential to blossom into an NHL superstar, questions about his character are bound to arise. The Lightning’s asking price, of course, will also be an issue.
What could be the asking price for Loui Eriksson?
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox speculates over the potential asking price for right wing Loui Eriksson if the Boston Bruins put him on the market before the Feb. 29 trade market. The 30-year-old is currently outproducing such notable potential trade bait as Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen of the New York Islanders, Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets, the Calgary Flames’ Jiri Hudler, the Vancouver Canucks’ Radim Vrbata, Milan Lucic of the Los Angeles Kings and Mikkel Boedker of the Arizona Coyotes. “Loui should bring a first-rounder, from a contender who will pick below 22nd, and a prospect,” says a source close to the Bruins organization.” Fox also noted the Arizona Coyotes got a first-round pick in 2015 and prospect Klas Dahlbeck from the Chicago Blackhawks for center Antoine Vermette last season.
630 CHED (via Today’s Slapshot): Elliotte Friedman reports some people he’s spoken with believe the Nashville Predators have been linked to Eriksson. GM David Poile also indicated they’ve spoken to the Tampa Bay Lightning about Jonathan Drouin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering what Vermette fetched last season, I think Eriksson could get even more if the Bruins decide to move him. Maybe a good young player along with a first-round pick and a prospect. Eriksson’s performing at a higher level than Vermette was a year ago. Of course, that’s assuming the Bruins shop him. They could keep him for a playoff run, even at the risk of losing him for nothing in July.
Update on the Kevin Shattenkirk speculation.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen reports the St. Louis Blues are getting healthier, as Patrik Berglund recently returned to action while Jaden Schwartz and Carl Gunnarsson are close to coming back. Given their lack of recent playoff success, however, there’s a sense of urgency to win this season. Allen expects GM Doug Armstrong will likely make a move to bolster his scoring, perhaps by shopping one of his defenseman. Kevin Shattenkirk’s name has been floating around the rumor mill since last summer.
TSN 1260 (via Today’s Slapshot): Bob McKenzie doesn’t believe the St. Louis Blues are as keen as some believed to move defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk for a scoring forward. He thinks there’s a sense GM Doug Armstrong could make some short-term moves. While Shattenkirk’s contract situation could eventually force the Blues to part with him, they could retain the blueliner in the short term to boost their Stanley Cup hopes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Armstrong wants to evaluate his roster’s performance with those sidelined players back in action to get a full sense of his club’s needs. I expect he’ll make a move before the deadline, but it might not be the much-anticipated Shattenkirk deal. That one could take place in the offseason, especially if the Blues once again come up short in the postseason. The Blues are currently among the top teams in the Western Conference standings, so Armstrong can afford to take his time before pulling the trigger.
Latest Ducks rumors.
SPORTSNET 960 (via Today’s Slapshot): Elliotte Friedman once again points out the Anaheim Ducks’ depth in good young defenseman. “They’re going to get calls. They’re going to take those calls. They’re going to be looking for young forwards”, said Friedman. He believes the Ducks could move one of those blueliners for a scoring forward.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens recently reported Ducks goaltender Anton Khudobin has accepted he’s the odd man out among the club’s netminders. His $2.25 million salary this season and lack of openings around the league makes it difficult for the Ducks to find a trade partner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s an assumption the Ducks recent moves (shipping Carl Hagelin to Pittsburgh for David Perron, dealing Jiri Sekac to Chicago for Ryan Garbutt) takes them out of the market for a scorer. Those deals, however, won’t suitably address their dire need for more scoring punch. The Hagelin-for-Perron swap was as much about shedding salary as it was a swap of two players who weren’t working out with their former teams, while Garbutt adds more grit but not much offense. Given their depth in talented young defensemen, I expect one of them could be shipped out for a proven offensive forward by the trade deadline.