The latest on Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin, Andrew Ladd, Keith Yandle, Scott Hartnell and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Updates on Stamkos and Drouin.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Martin Fennelly reports Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos continues to keep mum regarding the status of his contract talks or if he’d waive his no-movement clause before the upcoming Feb. 29 trade deadline. “I’m sure everyone will have some answers in a couple of weeks when that time comes,” Stamkos said Thursday. “Again, we’ve kept everything to ourselves. I know it sucks for you guys, no answers, but I think you can appreciate the way we’ve conducted business. Whatever happens in the next couple of weeks, obviously there are going to be some answers.” Fennelly doubts Stamkos will be re-signed or traded before the deadline. Regarding waiving his no-movement clause, the Lightning captain said he’d cross that bridge if he came to it.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the Stamkos situation could be resolved sooner than expected, pointing out Stamkos didn’t come out and say for certain he wouldn’t waive his movement clause. Johnston claims some scouts and league executives are starting to think the Lightning captain could be traded by the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Is it me, or does it seem like some in the media are so desperate for news on Stamkos’ contract status that they’re seizing anything they can to blow it up into a story? Sure, there’s a chance Stamkos could be dealt, and if Yzerman approached him about waiving his clause to go to a contender he might do it. After all, Yzerman dealt Martin St. Louis at the deadline two years ago, and it didn’t adversely affect the Lightning over the rest of the season. If the right deal can be had, anything’s possible. Still, just because Stamkos didn’t come right out and say he wouldn’t waive his movement clause doesn’t mean he’s waffling on the notion. Indeed, you can interpret his recent comments about there being an answer in the next couple of weeks to mean he could have a new contract in place by then.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox cites reports by TVA Sports’ Louis Jean and Renaud Lavoie claiming the Ottawa Senators are the front-runners among those pursuing suspended Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin. Senators GM Bryan Murray has said he will pursue a forward and isn’t interested in taking on a pending UFA, but rather a player with term left on his contract. Drouin, who’s in the second year of a three-year entry-level contract, would fit the bill for the cost-conscious Senators.
TSN 690 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger reports the Senators absolutely have interest in Drouin, but to trade the young winger within the division, the Lightning will want a premium return.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have spoken to the Lightning about Drouin, but the asking price is too high right now. Garrioch claims the Sens have no interest in parting with a top prospect like Thomas Chabot or Colin White. He also claims the St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets are among the interested clubs. The Lightning reportedly sought a roster player for Drouin but has now shifted his asking price to a top prospect or two. It’s believed they want to get a deal done before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The hyperventilating over Drouin has died down in recent weeks. I think it’s because Yzerman has a set price and isn’t willing to back away from it. He’s in no rush to move Drouin. If the right deal isn’t there at the trade deadline, he can wait until this summer to get it.
Highlights from TSN’s Insiders.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd wants to stay. He’s not officially on the trade block, but if contract negotiations don’t pick up, he could be dealt.
Pierre LeBrun reports the Edmonton Oilers will be sellers. Winger and pending free agent Teddy Purcell and RFA defenseman Justin Schultz are the notables who could be shopped. LeBrun also considers Arizona Coyotes right wing Mikkel Boedker among the most underplayed names floating in the rumor mill, noting the 26-year-old pending UFA winger could be the top name in the trade market if available. Dreger believes he’ll seek a five-year deal worth $5.5 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boedker’s among the Coyotes’ best players. I think they’ll get him re-signed, but if he does hit the trade block, I concur with LeBrun that he could be the best player available leading up to the trade deadline.
Bob McKenzie reports the Los Angeles Kings aren’t done making moves in the wake of demoting Christian Ehrhoff. They’re looking for blueline depth and could seek potential rental players like Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis or Calgary’s Kris Russell, though those players technically aren’t on the market yet. McKenzie also reports there’s no decision yet regarding the trade status of Carolina Hurricanes pending UFA Eric Staal, who has a full no-movement clause.
Latest on Hartnell, Yandle and Hamhuis.
NHL.COM: Craig Mertz believes the Columbus Blue Jackets will be sellers at the trade deadline. While they won’t blow up the roster, they could try to jettison some veterans for draft picks and prospects. He believes left wing Scott Hartnell could be in play, as he would fetch the best return. Defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson and forward Gregory Campbell could also be available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartnell has three years left on his contract at an annual cap hit of $4.75 million plus a no-movement clause. While those are stumbling blocks, they’re not insurmountable if the Blue Jackets want to trade him. Hartnell could be receptive to moving on to a contender and the Jackets could pick up part of his cap hit to facilitate a deal. If he’s available, I believe there will be considerable interest. However, don’t be surprised if it takes until the offseason for the Jackets to find a willing trade partner and a suitable return.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard believes the longer Rangers captain and defenseman Ryan McDonagh (concussion) remains sidelined, the less likely blueliner and pending UFA Keith Yandle will be traded.
TSN: Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning yesterday said his club is still trying to make the playoffs and he has no plans to become a seller at the trade deadline. Veteran defenseman and pending UFA Dan Hamhuis has been the subject of recent trade speculation, but Benning said he hasn’t asked the blueliner to waive his no-trade clause. Benning didn’t rule out making a move to improve his club’s chances of reaching the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning’s Canucks are where a lot of playoff bubble teams are right now, unwilling to become sellers as long as there’s a chance of reaching the playoffs. Obviously, that could change if the Canucks slump over the next couple of weeks, but if they remain in contention, we can forget about Hamhuis or right wing Radim Vrbata hitting the trade block.