Latest take on possible NHL expansion draft rules, plus updates on Jacob Trouba, Jimmy Howard, Martin Hanzal & more in your NHL rumor mill.
Highlights from Garrioch’s latest “Insider Trading”.
OTTAWA SUN: Weighing in on the rules of a potential expansion draft, Bruce Garrioch reports many believe players carrying no-movement clauses can’t be exposed in an expansion draft because the clauses prevents them from being traded or waived. Those with no-trade clauses are subject to waivers and could be left unprotected in the draft.
Garrioch believes the Winnipeg Jets won’t fire head coach Paul Maurice at the end of this season.
Speaking of the Jets, Garrioch reports the talk among league executives is contract talks with defenseman Jacob Trouba are nowhere close to resolution. Trouba is coming off an entry-level deal. Garrioch believes he falls within the $4-$5 million per season range but it’s believed the blueliner’s camp seeks more than that. With the New York Islanders at some point having to honor defenseman Travis Hamonic’s request to be dealt closer to his Manitoba home, Garrioch suggests there could be a fit with the Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch isn’t the only pundit to suggest a swap of Hamonic for Trouba, but as more than a few of them have pointed out, Isles GM Garth Snow tends to play hardball with players coming out of entry-level contracts. He might prefer getting a return for Hamonic that’s less of a headache.
Unless Steven Stamkos re-signs with the Tampa Bay Lightning between now and July 1, the speculation over his future will continue to grow. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres could be among the suitors if Stamkos hits the open market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos’ future remains the biggest guessing game in the NHL rumor mill. If the Lightning make an early playoff exit, expect the conjecture to go into overdrive.
Updates on Howard and Hanzal.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently wondered if the Detroit Red Wings goalie tandem of Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard will remain intact beyond this season. With the younger, more affordable Mrazek taken over as the Wings starter, retaining Howard’s $5.3 million annual salary becomes burdensome for the Wings’ cap payroll. Fox speculated they could try to ship out Howard in the offseason, though they could be faced with retaining some of his salary. They could also buy Howard out and pursue a more affordable backup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buying out Howard would free up considerable cap space, but it would also be on their books for the next eight seasons. With the possibility of an expansion draft next year, perhaps the Wings would be better off carrying Howard for one more season and then exposing him to the expansion draft. He’s now on a modified no-trade clause, meaning he can be exposed to waivers and thus left unprotected in an expansion draft. If he’s unclaimed after that draft, then it might be worthwhile to shop him or buy out the remainder of his contract.
AZCENTRAL.COM: Sarah McLellan recently reported there was interest from several clubs in Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal at the recent trade deadline. Hanzal is a year away from unrestricted free agency, but GM Don Maloney expressed interest in talking contract extension with the center this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanzal carries a $3.1 million annual cap hit and will earn $3.5 million in actual salary next season. He also has a modified no-trade clause. If the two sides can’t reach an agreement this summer, I think Maloney will wait and see how next season pans out before deciding if he’ll re-sign Hanzal or shop him at the trade deadline.