Latest on Steven Stamkos, Alex Galchenyuk, Dustin Byfuglien, Loui Eriksson, Jared Cowen and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
Highlight’s from Sportsnet’s “Saturday Headlines.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it’s believed the Tampa Bay Lightning pitched an contract offer to pending UFA Steven Stamkos worth an average annual salary of $8.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s obviously just the opening offer from the Lightning to Stamkos, whose agent likely countered with around $10.5 million. They’ll likely try to work toward a mutually beneficial numbers.
Speaking of the Lightning, Damien Cox reports they’ve had talks with the Ottawa Senators regarding holdout winger Jonathan Drouin, but the Sens don’t want to part with defenseman Codi Ceci. Senators also can’t afford to take on much salary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Ceci’s among the few “untouchable” on the Senators right now.
Friedman reports a couple of teams inquired into the trade status of Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk but were told he’s not on the block.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t blame teams for asking, but the Habs aren’t parting with one of their few skilled offensive forwards.
Friedman claims a number of teams would love to acquire Winnipeg Jets defenseman (and pending UFA) Dustin Byfuglien as a rental player. Word is the Jets will take a “real run” at trying to re-sign Byfuglien.
What’s the trade value of the Leafs’ UFAs?
SPORTSNET: Jonathan Willis joins in what is quickly becoming the favorite guessing game of Toronto Maple Leafs fans: “What’s the trade value of the Leafs UFAs?” Willis speculates winger P-A Parenteau could fetch a second-round pick, goaltender James Reimer a third-round pick, “possibly a little more”, forward Shawn Matthias a third-rounder, defenseman Roman Polak a third-rounder, “possibly a little less”, winger Michael Grabner a fifth-rounder, winger Brad Boyes a sixth-rounder and Nick Spaling perhaps a seventh-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Willis’ estimations are pretty much spot on, though I believe Reimer can fetch more than a third-rounder. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comment section, Leafs fans.
Latest on Loui Eriksson.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa examines the crucial decision facing the Bruins regarding pending UFA winger Loui Eriksson, whose agent could seek a big payday. Shinzawa feels the Eriksson camp would be justified in seeking $6 million annually, given his value to the Bruins. He also speculates the club could have the cap space to meet that salary, but feels term could be the sticking point. Shinzawa notes Eriksson could fetch a first-round pick and a prospect on the trade market, but that return won’t help the Bruins secure a playoff berth this season. If they decide to deal the winger, Shinzawa suggests bundling him with one of their two first-round picks in this year’s draft to land a player who can help them now and in the future. He notes the Minnesota Wild need help and forward and could have interest in Eriksson, believing the Bruins could target a defenseman like Jonas Brodin or Matt Dumba. However, the Wild apparently see Eriksson as a rental player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Bruins completely collapse between now and the Feb. 29 trade deadline, or they get a mind-blowing offer too good to pass up, I don’t see them trading Eriksson. They’ll keep him for the playoffs and take their chances on re-signing him in the offseason.
Update on David Backes.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy P. Rutherford reports the St. Louis Blues and captain David Backes (a UFA at season’s end) hope to work out a new deal. Talks have been infrequent since the Backes camp reportedly rejected a three-year deal worth approximately $5.5 million several months ago. Rutherford notes some people pointed to the six-year, $41.2 million contract of Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler as a comparable, though criticism of that deal has grown. It’s believed Backes is open to an average annual salary less than Kesler’s $6.8 million, but not much less. GM Doug Armstrong said the least-likely scenario right now is dealing Backes before the trade deadline, as the Blues are trying to win now. Backes also carries a full no-trade clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My prediction regarding Loui Eriksson also applies to Backes. I also think he’s dreaming if he believes he’ll get anything significantly north of $6 million per season.
Senators must soon make a decision on Jared Cowen.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch believes Ottawa Senators management will have to decide soon if they’re going to deal little-used defenseman Jared Cowen before the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Garrioch notes the difficulty in trading a player who has a year left on his contract at $4.5 million. If they don’t trade Cowen, Garrioch doubts they’ll buy him out in June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Senators agree to pick up a big chunk of Cowen’s salary for next season, that should increase interest in him. Otherwise, they’ll have to take on a comparable contract.