Latest on Eric Staal, Jonathan Drouin, Dan Hamhuis and more in Part Two of today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
UPDATE ON ERIC STAAL.
TSN: Bob McKenzie weighs in the “curious case” of Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. Uncertainty persists over the pending UFA’s future with the Hurrricanes. While it’s expected he’ll be shopped at the trade deadline, the Hurricanes haven’t approached him about waiving his no-movement clause. but there’s also no indication they intend to re-sign him. The club also remains in playoff contention, which could be having an effect on this situation, leaving Staal in limbo. McKenzie wonders if the New York Rangers can resist the temptation to make a pitch for Staal, though they’ve given up a lot of their futures in previous deals, including last season’s acquisition of defenseman Keith Yandle.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander also reports Hurricanes GM Ron Francis hasn’t yet approached Staal about waiving his no-movement clause. However, Staal has indicated he might not object if asked to do so, though it could depend upon the situation and destination. Rumors have linked him to the Rangers, Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Francis is weighing all his trade options and offers for Staal in hopes of driving up the asking price before asking his captain on deadline day to waive his movement clause. It’s a bit risky. Depending upon what happens with Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets, Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins or Mikkel Boedker of the Arizona Coyotes, the market could shift, potentially hurting Staal’s trade value.
LIGHTNING PREFER MOVING DROUIN BY TRADE DEADLINE.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE/TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman would prefer moving suspended left wing Jonathan Drouin by the Feb. 29 trade deadline, indicating his preference is a deal that can help the Lightning reach the playoffs. It’s assumed Yzerman would like to add a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. The Lightning also only have around $1.5 million in cap space, meaning they’ll have to move out salary to take some on. That’s led to speculation defenseman Matt Carle ($5.5 million annually for two more seasons) could be available. It’s believed a number of teams have interest in the 20-year-old Drouin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Yzerman gets an offer of a top-four right-handed defenseman and can move out some salary in the process, Drouin could be dealt by the deadline. Yzerman might also have to get creative, swinging a separate salary-dumping deal to make room for what he’d get in a Drouin trade.
LATEST ON THE CANUCKS.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis is wrestling with his options regarding the possible waiving of his no-movement clause. “We’ve been working through some thoughts and to be prepared,” said Hamhuis. “And certainly, if going is the direction, we would have to give them (Canucks) some time to make a deal happen.” Family concerns also enter into it for the veteran blueliner, as he’d be away from his family for four months if he’s traded. While Hamhuis said he’d like to help the Canucks reverse their sinking fortunes, it remains to be seen if management considers him part of their long-term plans. Kuzma believes Canucks management envision an “Antoine Vermette” scenario for Hamhuis, whereby he attracts a first-round draft pick and a promising young player.
TSN: The Canucks have released a list to the other NHL clubs of players they’re willing to move at the trade deadline. It includes forward Linden Vey, defenceman Matt Bartkowski, forward Ronalds Kenins, forward Adam Cracknell, forward Chris Higgins, forward Brandon Prust and defenceman Yannick Weber.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This shows that it’s often a lot more involving in a player agreeing to waive his movement clause. Still, if management asked Hamhuis to waive his clause, and it’s to go to a team that has a good shot at winning the Cup, I think he’ll do it. He might fetch a first-round pick and a promising player, but I’m guessing he’s worth a second-rounder and a prospect. As for those other players the Canucks are willing to move, there’s not a lot there that’s going to entice a rival club.
UPDATES ON THE FLYERS, SENATORS, BLACKHAWKS AND STARS.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tom Dougherty reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall said he’s not going to add players at the trade deadline. “If someone goes down, we got good fillers for them. We’re going to hold. If something comes up that we can make ourselves better for the future, we’ll at least look at it.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t seem like Hextall’s fully closing the door on a deadline addition, but he’s not shopping around for help.
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren reports Senators GM Bryan Murray believes his club has a fighting chance to reach the playoffs, which could affect his dealings at the trade deadline. Murray said he’s not interested in adding a big-name rental player, “but if there is a player out there who could bring some immediate help, as well as be with us for a couple of years, I would certainly be open-minded to talking about that.” Wingers Alex Chiasson and Shane Prince, along with defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, are possible trade candidates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiasson, Prince or Wiercioch might not attract much of a return, perhaps a draft pick each. Still, I’m sure Murray will consider his options to see if there’s an affordable depth player he can add.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Hine reports the Blackhawks have around $4.76 million in cap room to add a player or two by the deadline. They’re in the market for a top-six forward and have been linked to Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd and Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker, but they don’t want to sacrifice “a highly-valued prospect or player for a piece that may only be around for a few months.” That means the possibility of forward Teuvo Teravainen being dealt is slim.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That reluctance to give up too much could see the Blackhawks look at more affordable options, like former Blackhawk Kris Versteeg or Toronto Maple Leafs winger P.A. Parenteau.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika believes the Dallas Stars won’t part with promising winger Valeri Nichushkin, remaining hopeful in his development.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars are deep in promising young players and prospects. They have lots to draw upon besides Nichushkin.