Fallout from the Phaneuf trade, an update on Steven Stamkos and the latest on Andrew Ladd, Keith Yandle, Dan Hamhuis and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Fallout from the Dion Phaneuf trade.
TSN: During an assessment of the Dion Phaneuf trade, Bob McKenzie points out the short-term cash savings for the Ottawa Senators by shipping Jared Cowen, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He suggests some of it will be used to re-sign RFA winger Mike Hoffman. He also believes the Senators will continue seeking a top-six forward, noting they’re among half-a-dozen teams with interest in Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin.
McKenzie also touched on speculation this trade might help the Leafs pursue Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos if the latter becomes available via free agency, saying the Leafs were going down that road regardless of the Phaneuf trade. He suggests if the Leafs finish further down in the standings, it could improve their chances in the draft lottery. Darren Dreger believes the Leafs could move out Roman Polak, P-A Parenteau and Shawn Matthias. He also wonders about James Reimer’s future with the Leafs, but isn’t sure if the Leafs wish to part with Leo Komarov.
Pierre LeBrun considers Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis is the top rental defenseman in the trade market, claiming the LA Kings talked about him and suggesting the Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals could also be interested. Hamhuis, however, has a full no-movement clause and it’s uncertain if he’ll waive it.
Frank Seravalli suggests the Phaneuf trade clears up long-term salary cap space for the Maple Leafs to pursue Tampa Bay Lighting center Steven Stamkos if he becomes available via free agency this summer. Seravalli also speculates Cowen and Greening might be bought out of the final seasons of their respective contracts, freeing up more cap room.
McKenzie also touched on the Stamkos-to-Toronto speculation among Leafs fans (stick tap to Today’s Slapshot), noting there’s no indication the Lightning captain wants to play for the Leafs. He also points out there will be a number of teams lining up for Stamkos’ services if he hits the open market in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As McKenzie points out, if Stamkos becomes a UFA in July, the Leafs were going after him regardless of whether Phaneuf was still on the roster. Even by taking on additional salary for next season, the Leafs still have a lot of cap space for this summer. I expect they’ll be very busy in the offseason trade and free-agent markets. And yes, if Stamkos is available, they’ll pursue him, though it’s not a certainty he’ll sign with the Leafs. I can see the Leafs buying out Greening, but I think they’ll hang onto Cowen. Head coach Mike Babcock’s worked well with the young Leafs players this season, so he might be able to get Cowen’s game back on the rails.
As for Hamhuis, if the Canucks approach him about a trade, I think he’ll waive his clause. It depends, of course, on the destination. The Kings and Stars would be tempting landing spots.
Clock ticking for Lightning and Stamkos?
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports talk around the league claims Steven Stamkos isn’t close to a new contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was reported last month the Lightning offered him an eight-year deal worth $8.5 million per season, but the belief is the Stamkos camp seeks around $10.5 million annually. If Stamkos hits the open market, the speculation is he’ll sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Garrioch speculates clubs could be calling the Lightning to inquire about their asking price for Stamkos, though with the club in the thick of the playoff race they need all hands on deck. He also noted Stamkos has a full no-movement clause. Still, Garrioch wonders if Lightning GM Steve Yzerman had a deal lined up with a contender if Stamkos might agree to waive it, as that would indicate they have no intention of keeping him beyond this season.
Sure, it’s possible the Lightning could trade Stamkos at the deadline. However, I doubt that’s going to happen with the Bolts jockeying for playoff position.
Highlights from Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts”.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes it’s only a matter of time until the Edmonton Oilers trade defenseman Justin Schultz.
With Dustin Byfuglien off the trade market, the next best offensive blueliner is Keith Yandle, but Friedman doubts the New York Rangers will part with Yandle while captain Ryan McDonagh is sidelined.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If McDonagh’s sidelined for a significant period, the Rangers won’t move Yandle.
Friedman believes the Dallas Stars are a good fit for Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis. The Washington Capitals were also linked to Hamhuis, but Friedman doesn’t think they can fit him under their salary cap with sidelined Brooks Orpik slated to return soon.
In the wake of the Winnipeg Jets’ re-signing Dustin Byfuglien, opponents are preparing as though left wing Andrew Ladd will be traded. Friedman also suggests the Jets can’t afford to also re-sign Ladd plus RFA defenseman Jacob Trouba and center Mark Scheifele. He wonders if they can afford Byfuglien, Ladd and Scheifele if they dealt Trouba, but also questions if they’re willing to go down that road. He also doubts Trouba could be swapped for New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, noting the hard line Isles GM Garth Snow takes with pending RFAs like Trouba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Ladd’s a goner now. As for Trouba, any decision about moving him takes place in the offseason, not now.
Speaking of the Islanders, Friedman believes Snow will take his chances with pending UFAs Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen rather than move them at the trade deadline. The Isles are in a close fight for a playoff berth and Friedman doubts Snow will jeopardize that.
With the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoff chase, will GM Ron Francis hang onto his potential trade assets?
Nashville Predators starting goalie Pekka Rinne is struggling. Could the Preds consider adding a netminder like Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo or James Reimer?
There’s talk the Calgary Flames were upset over Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension because they were trying to trade the defenseman. Friedman said there were some conversations but there’s no indication a deal was close to completion.