The cost for the Arizona Coyotes to land the rights to Auston Matthews, plus updates on Kevan Miller and Jhonas Enroth in your NHL rumor mill.
Acquiring Matthews’ Rights Could Be Costly For Coyotes.
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector addresses a popular rumor kicking around of late suggesting the Arizona Coyotes could make a pitch to acquire the rights of Arizona-born top prospect Auston Matthews if another club win this year’s NHL Draft Lottery. The speculation has the Coyotes offering up their own first-round pick plus a very good player for the first overall pick, or perhaps a package offer for that selection and use their own first rounder to address the lineup hole left behind.
Spector notes there are holes in this theory, including the assumption the Coyotes will part with top defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the possibility other prospects (like Finnish forward Patrik Laine) might be better than Matthews, or that a team winning the draft lottery could use Matthews to address their own weakness at center.
For the sake of conversation, Spector looks at the possible trade partners for the Coyotes under this scenario. He rules out the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs, who need a center to build their forwards ranks around. The Winnipeg Jets are another club that could retain Matthews, perhaps trading Bryan Little to a team that needs help at center. The Edmonton Oilers could be a trade partner, but Spector believes they’ll want Ekman-Larsson in return. The Coyotes could also seek one of the Oilers’ young bluliners (Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse) as part of the deal. It could prove too difficult to pry the pick away from the Columbus blue Jackets. Ditto the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes swinging a deal to land the first overall pick in order to draft the hometown boy Matthews makes for interesting conjecture, until one actually breaks it down as Spector did. By the way, we’re not related or the same person. You wouldn’t believe how often we’ve been confused for each other over the years. Anyway, I concur with his take.
I would also include the Montreal Canadiens on this list, as their ongoing free fall in the standings could also improve their draft lottery odds. Just like most on this list, I doubt they’ll part with that pick. The Habs haven’t had a true first-line center in over two decades and Matthews could address that need.
The Oilers are the only logical trade partner because they’re already loaded at forward, especially at center. However, I don’t see the Coyotes giving up their best defenseman to get him. In other words, whoever wins this year’s draft lottery will retain that pick.
Updates on Miller and Enroth.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports defenseman Kevan Miller could be the odd man out among the Bruins blueline free agents this summer. He’s a UFA this summer and the Bruins must also re-sign pending RFAs Torey Krug, Colin Miller, Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow.
Shinzawa also notes Los Angeles Kings backup goalie Jhonas Enroth could end up hitting the UFA market. The Kings have limited cap space and hope to re-sign power forward and fellow UFA Milan Lucic.