Updates on P.K. Subban, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mike Hoffman plus the latest on the Oilers, Red Wings and Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.
Latest on the Canadiens, Senators and Oilers.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said he didn’t have defenseman P.K. Subban on the trade block, though he noted even Wayne Gretzky got traded. He added he’s not trying to move Subban, goalie Carey Price or captain Max Pacioretty. He was also reluctant to part with draft picks and prospects during the season to address the club’s need for more offense.
TSN: Darren Dreger doesn’t believe the Canadiens will trade Subban, noting Bergevin lumped the blueliner into the same category as his core players. While pointing out Bergevin could listen if a rival team offered up a huge offer that could significantly bolster the Canadiens, Dreger doesn’t expect that to happen. Jamie McLennan suggests it would take an offer like Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall for that to happen and doesn’t believe Subban’s going anywhere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Is Bergevin shopping Subban? No. Could he listen to offers for the defenseman before his no-trade clause kicks in on July 1? Yes, I believe he could. Could he trade Subban for the right offer? Sure. Will he get such an offer? No.
Deals involving superstar players in their prime don’t happen very often and the returns rarely measure up to the value of the central player in the deal. Yes, a Hall for Subban swap seems “fair”, but the move addresses a need for both clubs while creating other problems. The Oilers would be left with a big gap at left wing, while the Canadiens would be left with a giant hole on their blueline that could take a generation to replace. In other words, P.K. Subban isn’t going anywhere.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators winger and pending RFA Mike Hoffman faces an uncertain future with the Senators. Garrioch speculates Hoffman, who has arbitration rights, could become a trade candidate if the two sides can’t reach an agreement on a new contract. He speculates Hoffman might seek a contract comparable to Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist (four years, $19 million) or a one-year deal via arbitration worth $3.5 – $4 million. He finished the season with 29 goals and 59 points.
TSN: Jamie McLennan and Darren Dreger believe the top priority for new Senators GM Pierre Dorion is sorting out the coaching situation. There’s considerable speculation head coach Dave Cameron could be replaced.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bryan Murray isn’t the GM anymore, but he didn’t sound enamored by Hoffman’s play (particularly in the second half) and remains in an advisory role to Dorion, who could share his predecessor’s views about the young winger. If so, I think Hoffman will be on the trade block by the June draft. As for Cameron, it’s only a matter of time until he’s giving his pink slip.
TSN: Darren Dreger and Jamie McLennan speculated on which core forward the Edmonton Oilers could trade to bring in some help for their blueline. McLennan feels right wing Jorden Eberle could be a trade candidate, while Dreger believes Taylor Hall could be the best bet to land a top-two defenseman.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis believes trading Oscar Klefbom for NY Islanders rearguard Travis Hamonic would leave a big hole on the left side of the Oilers defense unless they add a comparable blueliner in another trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall would undoubtedly fetch the best return for the Oilers, but as Dreger points out, they have to be careful dangling such a valuable player. They must get a good return for him. Of the Oilers core players, I think Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are the most likely trade candidates. Dealing away Hall leaves a significant gap on left wing.
Updates on the Coyotes, Red Wings, and Bruins.
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc once again shot down speculation suggesting his club would offer up top defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to whatever club wins this year’s draft lottery and using it to select Phoenix native Auston Matthews. “I am mystified at some of the pure fantasy that is written,” LeBlanc told reporters. “There is absolutely, 100 per cent no potential that we would trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson for the draft pick. It’s just not going to happen. I have seen it written out of Canada. Please stop whatever you’re drinking, whatever you’re smoking.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hey, it was good enough for me when he said it last month, but some folks I guess either didn’t believe LeBlanc or just wanted to keep the rumor mill stirring. Unless Ekmar-Larsson demands a trade this summer (and I don’t believe he will), he will be suiting up next season with the Coyotes.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently wondered whether Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland might get into the bidding this summer for Tampa Bay Lightning captain and pending UFA Steven Stamkos this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible, I suppose, but that’s assuming Holland can find a taker this June for the final year of Pavel Datsyuk’s contract ($7.5 million cap hit) if the center decides to play in Russia next season. Even then, with the Wings transitioning toward younger players, I think Holland could balk at handing out $11 million annually for seven years to Stamkos. Over the next two years, guys like Dylan Larkin, Tomas Tatar, Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser will be due for big raises. Probably not a good idea to tie up so much payroll in just one player.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney will address his club’s leaky defense corps this summer. “Their best chips include two 2016 first-round picks and high-level prospects (Jake DeBrusk, Jakub Zboril, Zach Senyshyn, Brandon Carlo, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Jeremy Lauzon, and Danton Heinen)”, writes Shinzawa. He believes Sweeney’s preferred trade targets are “Minnesota, Anaheim, and Winnipeg, which have defensemen to spare. Matt Dumba (Wild), Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen (Ducks), and Jacob Trouba (Jets) will be restricted.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those listed by Shinzawa, Vatanen could be Sweeney’s best bet. I don’t see the Wild parting with Dumba or the Ducks with Lindholm. Given their depth in promising young blueliners, the Ducks could move Vatanen if his asking price proves too expensive. The Jets could go that route with Trouba if he wants an expensive and lengthy extension, but I think they’ll keep him.