The latest on Loui Eriksson, Eric Staal, Nail Yakupov and many more in Part One of today’s NHL rumor mill.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM GARRIOCH’S LATEST “INSIDER TRADING”.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports last night’s trade by Winnipeg of Andrew Ladd to Chicago should open up the trade market in the final days leading up to the Feb. 29 deadline. The next notable name in the rumor mill is Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson if he and the Bruins fail to reach an agreement on a new contract. Garrioch speculates the Bruins could try shipping Eriksson back to the Western Conference, citing the Los Angeles Kings as being very interested. With the Ladd deal setting the market (a first-round pick, conditional third in 2018 plus winger Marko Dano) setting the market value for comparable players, Garrioch doubts the Bruins want a similar return for Eriksson as they already have two first-rounders in this year’s draft.
There’s a chance the Carolina Hurricanes could trade captain Eric Staal, even though they’re battling for a playoff berth. If they do shop him they might have to pick up part of his remaining $8.25 million salary-cap hit. The New York Rangers are said to be interested in Staal.
There’s talk the Nashville Predators have shown interest in Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov. Given the Oilers seek immediate help, especially on defense, that’s a move that might not happen until the offseason. They’re also focused on trading Justin Schultz, Lauri Korpikoski and Teddy Purcell by the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Or the Oilers could ship Yakupov on deadline day to a team with blueline depth to spare seeking a right wing right now. We’ll find out for sure by 3 PM ET on Feb. 29.
The LA Kings have limited salary-cap space but could be willing to listen to offers for an affordable defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also been several reports in recent days claiming their priority is adding a winger to replace the sidelined Marian Gaborik.
Indications suggest the New York Islanders could see what they can get for pending UFA right wing Kyle Okposo, though the odds are slim that they’ll move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Okposo is moved at the deadline. While some commenters on this site discount his value to the club, the fact remains he’s among their leading scorers and they’re unlikely to get a return that suitably replaces him or helps their playoff chances.
ANOTHER LIST OF POTENTIAL NON-RENTAL TRADE BAIT.
SI.COM: Allan Muir lists Dallas Stars right wing Valeri Nichushkin, Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri, Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov and defenseman Justin Schultz, Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell, Vancouver Canucks winger Jannik Hansen and Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund as players who could become non-playoff rental bait at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Stars giving up on Nichushkin yet. With the Leafs in fire-sale mode, you can’t completely discount the Kadri trade rumors. Yakupov could move by the deadline and I expect Schultz is definitely gone. Hartnell’s $4.75 million cap hit through 2017-18 and his no-movement clause makes him tough to move at this time of year, though not impossible. Hansen and Backlund could also be on the move by deadline day.
LATEST BRUINS AND FLAMES RUMORS.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien cites reports suggesting the Boston Bruins trading right wing Loui Eriksson by deadline day is no longer a certainty, as contract talks between the two sides are ongoing. Even if a deal isn’t done by the deadline, O’Brien speculates Eriksson could finish the season with the Bruins.
O’Brien also notes Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell and forward Jiri Hudler are garnering more attention in the rumor mill. Both are slated for UFA status this summer.
OTHER NOTABLE TRADE RUMOR NEWS.
TSN 1040 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Player agent Kevin Epp, who represents New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, doesn’t expect his client to be moved at the trade deadline. Epp also represents Arizona Coyotes winger Mikkel Boedker and speculates he could be shipped to a contending team.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes Flyers defensemen Mark Streit and Nick Schultz could be attractive to playoff contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both are under contract through next season and their respective cap hits could be sticking points.The Flyers also cannot retain any more salaries as they’re already at the maximum of three for this season
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: With Penguins GM Ben Lovejoy sidelined indefinitely, Dave Molinari reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is looking to bolster his blueline depth by the deadline.
WASHINGTON POST: Isabelle Khurshudyan reports the Capitals will have to shed some salary-cap space when they activate center Jay Beagle off long-term injured reserve. GM Brian MacLellan expects to have the situation resolved by the trade deadline. While he could add a depth forward, MacLellan also said he could be done adding to his roster.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres goaltender and pending free agent Chad Johnston understands he could be a trade candidate on deadline day.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy P. Rutherford reports Blues GM Doug Armstrong explains his limited salary-cap space makes it difficult for him to bolster his roster via trade. Any deal he makes will have to be dollar-for-dollar or shipping out more salary than he’s taking back.