Latest on Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk, Andrew Ladd, Jiri Hudler, Keith Yandle and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Highlights from Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts”.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman speculates the recent rumored contract offer by the Tampa Bay Lightning (believed worth $8.5 million annually) was an eight-year term. He also suggests the possibility of Stamkos seeking a shorter term at a higher salary.
Agent Allan Walsh may be drawing criticism for Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin’s trade request, but Friedman believes Drouin is the one driving the bus. He also believes the St. Louis Blues are interested in Drouin, but doesn’t see them offering up rookie winger Robby Fabbri. He claimed the Detroit Red Wings “snooped around”, but doesn’t see a match there.
Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told a couple of clubs interested in center Alex Galchenyuk than the youngster isn’t available. Friedman speculates, however, that if Galchenyuk’s inconsistency persists, Bergevin could start listening to offers, perhaps as soon as this year’s draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bergevin listens to offers for Galchenyuk, he will likely see a good young scoring forward in return.
Friedman speculates there’s a better chance of the Winnipeg Jets trading left wing Andrew Ladd than defenseman Dustin Byfuglien at the trade deadline. He wonders, however, how many years they’re willing to offer Byfuglien, and believes there’s a dollar limit with Ladd (guessing it’s $6 million annually) than they won’t cross.
On Monday, Friedman spoke with Sportsnet 960 (stick tap to Today’s Slapshot), suggesting the Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks and possibly the Montreal Canadiens could be worth watching leading up to the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
Latest from TSN’s Insiders.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun doesn’t expect Lightning center Steven Stamkos will be moved at the trade deadline, doubting Stamkos will waive his movement clause now with the club surging in the standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s anyone’s guess if Stamkos re-signs with the Lightning this summer, but I don’t see him agreeing to a trade now.
Darren Dreger claims the Jets haven’t formally made a decision to sign either Dustin Byfuglien or Andrew Ladd, nor has anyone told Ladd he’s on the market. They’re apparently comfortable with offering Ladd a six-year, $6 million per season deal. If Ladd doesn’t re-sign before the trade deadline. he would be an attractive commodity. LeBrun speculates the Florida Panthers could make a pitch, as Ladd played for Panthers GM Dale Tallon during their days with the Chicago Blackhawks. It was Tallon who acquired Ladd from the Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have the cap space to add a rental player or two by the deadline. Earlier this season, Tallon said he’d like to add another forward to his scoring lines. I’d keep an eye on them as the trade deadline approaches.
Bob McKenzie claims the Calgary Flames are getting some calls regarding winger Jiri Hudler, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. With the Flames likely to miss the playoffs, Hudler could be moved as a playoff rental player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hudler could fetch a decent return, perhaps a draft pick and a prospect.
In his ESPN.com column, LeBrun speculates the Vancouver Canucks could hang onto pending UFA winger Radim Vrbata if they’re still in the playoff chase by the trade deadline, even at the risk of losing him for nothing this summer. With $15 million coming off the books this summer, LeBrun anticipates the Canucks could be a major player in this summer’s UFA market. He suggest Boston Bruins winger (and pending UFA) Loui Eriksson would be a great fit alongside the Sedins.
Speaking with TSN 1260 on Monday (stick tap to Today’s Slapshot), LeBrun doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Anaheim Ducks shopping Sami Vatanen. He’s a restricted free agent this summer and the Ducks have considerable depth in rising young talent on their blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have an embarrassment of riches on defense but are in need of more scoring punch at forward. One of their current blueliners, perhaps Vatanen, could be dealt to address that need.
Speaking on TSN 1040 yesterday (via Today’s Slapshot), McKenzie believes there’s could be interest in Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis once he returns from injury, provided the Canucks are willing to shop the pending UFA blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Vrbata, if the Canucks remain in playoff contention they’ll hang onto Hamhuis. If not, they’ll shop both guys.
Updates on Yandle and Eriksson.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks once again muses over pending UFA defenseman Keith Yandle’s future with the Rangers. He wonders if shopping Yandle could start a bidding war “among Western powers Chicago and Los Angeles, if not Dallas, San Jose and Minnesota, as well.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars might be interested. The Wild seek a scoring forward and already have considerable blueline depth. The Sharks, Blackhawks and Kings have limited cap space, so unless there’s a dollar-for-dollar deal happening, I don’t see them pursuing Yandle.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Responding to a reader’s question asking if the Stars might bring back winger Loui Eriksson via trade, Mike Heika doubts the Boston Bruins will do that.