Why weren’t Loui Eriksson, Dan Hamhuis or Jonathan Drouin dealt at yesterday’s NHL trade deadline? Read on to find out!
UPDATES ON ERIKSSON, HAMHUIS AND DROUIN.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports the Boston Bruins were never offered the young, top-four defenseman they wanted in exchange for pending UFA winger Loui Eriksson. “Credit Sweeney for not bending if he didn’t feel like he was getting full-value offers for Eriksson from teams like the Blues, Wild and Ducks. But it’s going to be a bitter pill if the Swedish winger walks away without compensation as a free agent this summer.”
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the Bruins will likely attempt to land that elusive defenseman near the NHL Draft in June. The Bruins have two first-round picks and depth in prospects to use as trade bait. Shinzawa suggests Minnesota Wild blueliner Matt Dumba as the type of blueliner the Bruins could pursue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nobody was parting with a young top-four defenseman for a rental player. I don’t blame Bruins GM Don Sweeney for not just trading Eriksson for more futures. The Bruins are already loaded with them. What he needed was a return that helped his team now and in the future. If that’s not available, why trade an asset that can at least help Boston make the playoffs? Yes, he could depart for nothing via free agency, but giving him up for a meager return when he can help the Bruins for the rest of his season isn’t smart business. For all the criticism Sweeney got for not dealing Eriksson, I think he made the right decision.
THE PROVINCE: Ed Willies reports a “highly-place (Dallas) Stars source claims their club had a deal in place with the Vancouver Canucks for defenseman Dan Hamhuis. “It wasn’t exactly the same as the trade that eventually sent Calgary’s Kris Russell to Dallas but it was “similar,” writes Willies, who claims the offer was taken to Canucks ownership, who wanted more. The Stars rejected that and instead acquired Kris Russell from the Calgary Flames. Canucks GM Jim Benning denies that story. ” “We set out the framework for the deal. The next call we got was from (Dallas) saying they did the deal with Calgary,” said Benning.
Ben Kuzma reports the Canucks didn’t receive a single trade offer for right wing and pending UFA Radim Vrbata, who listed eight clubs he was willing to accept as trade destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning’s critics are up in arms because he didn’t move Hamhuis yesterday. If we take him at his word, things were in the planning stage when the Stars changed their minds. However, if it went down like Willies’ source claims it did, the criticism of Benning will be justified. It’s interesting there were no offers for Vrbata, as a rumor last week claimed the Chicago Blackhawks were interested in the veteran winger and Hamhuis before they decided on Andrew Ladd and some depth acquisitions.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was unable to find a deal for suspended left wing Jonathan Drouin yesterday, meaning he could potentially move the youngster during the offseason. The “Senators, Ducks, Canucks, Wild and Canadiens” were among the clubs who inquired about Drouin, but Yzerman wasn’t going to move him for a UFA he couldn’t or wouldn’t re-sign. His asking price remains prospects and draft picks. Yzerman also said the door remained open for Drouin to return to the club if he wishes.
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Drouin isn’t expected to take Yzerman up on his offer to return. The young winger can still be traded following the deadline, but he’ll be ineligible for the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this point, I don’t see Drouin returning to the Lightning. Some observers feel Yzerman screwed up by not tradiing the young winger at the deadline, believing his value won’t be as high at the NHL Draft. I disagree with that assessment. There will be general managers who believe Drouin will shine as a playmaker in a different environment and will pursue him this summer.
COULD KOVALCHUK RETURN TO THE DEVILS?
NEW YORK POST/NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero claims he hasn’t heard much about the rumors claiming former Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk could return to the NHL, other than what little he’s read in the papers. He referred inquiries about Kovalchuk’s status to league deputy commissioner Bill Daly. ‘If and when [Kovalchuk] decides he wants to come back to the NHL, … I think the Devils will have preferential treatment if that comes,” said Shero. However, there’s some confusion over whether Kovalchuk can return to the league next season. While the rulebook appears to indicate he can’t return unless all 30 NHL teams approve, there’s some interpretation suggesting there’s a loophole that could allow him back.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everything I’ve heard claimed Kovalchuk needed the approval of all 30 teams if he wanted to return within this season, and if approved he’d have to pass through waivers. If he doesn’t play anywhere for a calendar year, he’d only need the Devils’ approval to return and wouldn’t have to go through waivers. As for preferential treatment for the Devils, that’s because his last NHL contract was with them, which runs to 2018. For this season, I doubt we’ll see Kovalchuk back in the NHL. As for next season, I guess we’ll have to wait and see what transpires.
OTHER NOTABLE POST-DEADLINE RUMOR NEWS.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy P. Rutherford reports salary-cap constraints hampered the efforts of Blues GM Doug Armstrong to bolster his lineup at the trade deadline. The Blues were interested in Boston’s Loui Eriksson and Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin. The asking price for the latter included Robby Fabbri or Colton Parayko.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports Ducks GM Bob Murray had interest in forwards Andrew Ladd, Eric Staal, Loui Eriksson and Jonathan Drouin. However, he was unwilling to part with Sami Vatanen or high-end blueline prospect Shea Theodore or Brandon Montour.
MIAMI HERALD: Prior to Brandon Pirri’s ankle injury, the Florida Panthers are believed to have had a deal in place with the Edmonton Oilers swapping Pirri for Teddy Purcell. Pirri was instead dealt yesterday to the Anaheim Ducks for a sixth-round pick, with his injury cited as a factor in the low return. Purcell, was acquired by the Panthers last weekend for a pair of draft picks.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The contracts of Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell and defenseman Fedor Tyutin proved too rich for most general managers at the NHL trade deadline.