Latest on Keith Yandle, Jonathan Drouin, Dustin Byfuglien and Cam Atkinson, plus updates on the Ducks and Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.
Latest Rangers Rumors.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis believes the recent activity in the NHL trade market puts pressure on New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton to make a move. He notes Gorton reportedly has interest in Tampa Bay Lightning winger Jonathan Drouin, though it’s unclear what it will cost to pry him away from the Bolts. There’s also the question of pending UFA defenseman Keith Yandle’s future, as he could become a trade chip.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Aaron Portzline reported the following via Twitter: “Hearing rumblings that
#NYR have called, yet again, regarding #CBJ RW Cam Atkinson, who has quickly become a favorite of John Tortorella.” He added that’s he’s unsure if the Jackets want to move Atkinson. “Tortorella for sure doesn’t.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect Gorten to panic, but I also have no doubt he’s closely monitoring the trade market. Yandle is likely their best bargaining chip, but he would also be a rental player so the return might not help the Blueshirts this season. After the Johansen trade, I think Blue Jackets management want to take some time to evaluate the roster before deciding if another deal is necessary.
Lightning scouting the Blues.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: With trade speculation swirling about winger Jonathan Drouin, Erik Erlendsson reports Tampa Bay Lightning management have recently scouted the St. Louis Blues. Erlendssen suspects the Bolts want to add a right-handed defenseman, preferably one who can work the power play, citing Blues rearguard Kevin Shattenkirk as one who could fit the bill. He also noted Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claiming the Blues are among the clubs with interest in Drouin. Erlendssen reports there’s nothing imminent regarding a deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the Blues move Shattenkirk, as he’s their best puck-moving defenseman. He’s also carrying a $4.25 million cap hit into next season, which the Bolts could find difficult to absorb if they hope to re-sign key players like Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov. Not saying that deal can’t happen, but the Blues would be giving up a key player while the Bolts could have difficulty making the dollars fit.
Stars could pursue a high-end defenseman.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Responding to a reader’s question, Mike Heika believes the Dallas Stars are in the market for a high-end defenseman and will be in talks with any that become available. GM Jim Nill is currently evaluating his pending UFA blueliners (Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers and Jordie Benn) and must decide if he’s willing to part with some of his promising young defensemen to get a big-ticket defenseman like Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien or San Jose’s Brent Burns.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: To be clear, Heika isn’t saying the Stars are pursuing Byfuglien and Burns, but merely citing them as examples of the kind of blueliner they’d like to add. They’ll be worth keeping an eye on as the trade deadline approaches, as they have the depth in prospects to swing a deal for a rental player.
Latest on the Ducks and Red Wings.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray “is looking at adding offense to the NHL’s lowest-scoring team. The most intriguing name on the market is Jonathan Drouin, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2013 draft who has requested a trade out of Tampa Bay.”
THE DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa recently reported the Red Wings will need to create some space on their defensem to clear room for veteran Kyle Quincey, who is soon returning from injury. His return will mean the Wings have eight defenseman, which GM Ken Holland isn’t willing to carry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A trade by the Wings is possible, though they could also simply demote someone.