Latest on the Blackhawks, Oilers, Ducks and Canadiens in Part Two of today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
COULD THE BLACKHAWKS ADD A DEFENSEMAN?
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: In the wake of the Blackhawks’ acquiring left wing Andrew Ladd, Chris Hine reports they still could use a top-four defenseman. GM Stan Bowman expressed confidence in his current group even if he doesn’t make any more moves. “If Bowman does want to make a move for another defenseman, it could come with a hefty price,” writes Hine.
NBC SPORTS: Prior to the Ladd deal, Jason Brough cited a TSN report claiming the Blackhawks had “serious interest” in Vancouver Canucks right wing Radim Vrbata and defenseman Dan Hamhuis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowman only has around $1.4 million in deadline day cap space remaining, so if he wants to add someone like Hamhuis (provided he agrees to be traded) he might have to ship out some salary in return. I think Bowman could still add a defenseman but he could be looking in the bargain bin.
UPDATES ON THE OILERS.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis reports the Oilers made right wing Teddy Purcell and defenseman Justin Schultz healthy scratches prior to last night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. He suspects that was done to avoid injury while management attempts to move them before the trade deadline. Jim Matheson, meanwhile, suggests if Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is serious about moving one of his high-salaried young core players, left wing Taylor Hall will fetch the best return. He suggests offering up Hall during the NHL draft to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Purcell and Schultz are goners at the deadline, but I don’t know if there’s much of a market for Korpikoski. As for which young core players the Oilers eventually trade, I suspect it’ll be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or maybe Jordan Eberle. I don’t see them dealing Hall, even though he would certainly attract the best offer. If they make Matheson’s proposed deal for Shattenkirk, they’d best make sure he’s willing to first re-sign a long-term contract extension. Otherwise, they’ll be trading their best forward for a blueliner who could bolt next summer via free agency.
DUCKS COULD SEE A REASONABLY PRICED WINGER.
LOS ANGELES TIMES/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray claims he has the financial stability to make a move at the trade deadline, suggesting he wouldn’t rule out adding a winger for a reasonable price. Available wingers reportedly include Vancouver’s Radim Vrbata and Jannik Hansen, Boston’s Loui Eriksson, Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker, Montreal’s Dale Weise and Buffalo’s Jamie McGinn. Given the Ducks improvement over the last two months, Murray confirms he’s not a seller. He also suggested he didn’t want to tinker too much with the team chemistry, which has been working very well over the last 25 games. Murray also said he hasn’t made progress yet in negotiations with his restricted free agents like goalie Frederik Andersen, defensemen Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm and forward Rikard Rackell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are well below the cap ceiling but they operate under a much lower self-imposed one. I expect Murray will add a winger at the deadline but only if the asking price and the player’s contract is affordable. In other words, we can probably forget about him giving up one of his good young defensemen for an expensive rental like Eric Staal or Loui Eriksson.
LATEST ON THE CANADIENS.
TSN 690 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger reports Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk’s name is “out there” in the rumor mill, but only because some GMs are wondering if Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin might consider moving the young forward. However, Dreger claims the Canadiens aren’t shopping Galchenyuk. He also reports pending UFA winger Dale Weise might not be a certainty to be traded as originally suspected, as it’s believed Habs management has “circled back” on Weise, not so much negotiating with him but asking some questions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Weise could still be dealt, Bergevin might be having second thoughts about moving out a heart-and-soul player. Weise’s contract demands will determine his fate in Montreal. As for Galchenyuk, if Bergevin wants to move him, that’s a deal I suspect gets done around the NHL draft in June.