Latest on Loui Eriksson, Joffrey Lupul, Kris Russell and more in Part Two of your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
UPDATES ON ERIKSSON.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports the St. Louis Blues could be interested in Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson. “According to one source, the asking price for an interested Eriksson suitor in St. Louis is big, skilled left winger Dmitrij Jaskin and a draft pick that would have to be a first-rounder in order to close the potential deal.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues GM Doug Armstrong recently claimed he had limited salary-cap flexibility to bolster his roster. He’ll have to send out a higher-salaried player than Jaskin, or the Bruins will have to pick up part of Eriksson’s salary, to make this deal work.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa speculates the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks could pursue Eriksson if he’s available this summer via unrestricted free agency. Eriksson would either be a good fit on the Sedin line in Vancouver or a potential replacement for long-time Coyotes winger Shane Doan, who could retire after this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While I can see Eriksson playing for the Coyotes, I don’t believe he’s a fit with the Canucks. They’re transitioning toward a younger roster, so I don’t see them signing a soon-to-be 31-year-old free agent for $6 million per season.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard reports Rangers GM Jeff Gorton faces the dilemma of trying to upgrade his roster with limited salary-cap flexibility and reluctance to move key roster players or first-round draft picks and top prospects. Leonard believes Eriksson’s two-way play would make him a great fit for the Blueshirts. Noting the expensive salary-cap hit of Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal, Leonard speculates it could take a package “including something like Chris Kreider ($2.475 million) and Oscar Lindberg ($650,000) and require Carolina to eat half of Staal’s salary” for the Rangers to acquire the Hurricanes captain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eriksson would be a more affordable rental for the Rangers than Staal. He would certainly contribute more. However, the Bruins could want a player like Kreider plus a top prospect and a first round pick. I believe that’s too rich for Gorton.
NO BIG MOVES FOR THE WILD?
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild can’t afford to toss around assets for rental players the way the Chicago Blackhawks can. He doesn’t expect Wild GM Chuck Fletcher will part with a first-round pick with his club sitting just outside the playoff window. “The Wild doesn’t own this year’s second-, third- or fifth-round picks or a 2018 second,” writes Russo, noting those are the type of assets typically dealt for rental players at the trade deadline. He believes they should retain their top draft picks and young players like Matt Dumba. “While it may make sense to eventually trade Mikael Granlund or Nino Niederreiter (each has a year left on his contract) or pending restricted free agents Darcy Kuemper or Jason Zucker, those type of deals usually happen in the summertime.”
Russo also doesn’t believe speculation linking the Wild to Boston’s Loui Eriksson, Carolina’s Eric Staal or Vancouver’s Radim Vrbata, claiming the asking prices are too high. However, he does point out the Wild have freed up around $3.9 million in cap space (in part by placing Chris Porter on waivers) should a trade become possible.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher will obviously try to find a deal to help his club. Like Russo, I don’t see him chasing Eriksson, Staal or Vrbata. Ultimately, it’s up to those currently on the Wild roster to right this ship. If they fail, roster changes could be coming this summer.
OTHER NOTABLE RUMORS.
NHL analyst Brian Lawton reports hearing the Tampa Bay Lightning “have 5 offers that they are mulling over and intend to make a decision tomorrow on Jonathan Drouin.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No offense to Lawton, but we’ve heard this song before. I’m not doubting the Bolts got some good offers, but it remains to be seen if they’re good enough for Yzerman to pull the trigger.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis prefers to remain in Vancouver, but is open to the possibility of a trade. Hamhuis singled out the Dallas Stars as a worthwhile destination, citing the fact they’re among the top teams in the league.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Hamhuis could be a good fit with the Stars, but it’s up to GM Jim Nill to decide if he’s worth it. Nill has lots of promising young assets to tempt the rebuilding Canucks.
CALGARY SUN: Kristen Odland reports Flames GM Brad Treliving dismissed a report claiming defenseman Kris Russell was told he’d be dealt before the trade deadline. “I didn’t mention that so I don’t believe a whole lot of reports,” said Treliving. “There is lots of stuff out there at this time of the year. I want to caution everyone on fact or fiction.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still think Russell could be dealt before the deadline. The Stars could be among the suitors.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Maple Leafs may have shut oft-injured winger Joffrey Lupul down not just for the remainder of this season, but also the remaining two years of his contract. The Leafs won’t buy out the remaining $9 million of Lupul’s contract, but could make him “disappear in the ‘nudge, nudge, wink’ manner in which Stephane Robidas remains on the Leafs roster, but is nowhere to be found outside of minor hockey rinks in Quebec this season.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a trade rumor, but interesting speculation just the same. Of course, the 38-year-old Robidas was willing to accept his fate. Lupul, on the other hand, might not be so accommodating.
THE GLOBE & MAIL’S James Mirtle reports the “Senators active on trade market I’m hearing. Wiercioch, Prince and other names out there. Will make deals despite lack of rentals to move.”