Time to catch up on the latest Oilers, Canadiens and Lightning speculation, plus updates on Alexander Radulov. Enjoy!
Subban for Hall and Klefbom?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited a recent discussion between 630 CHED insider Bob Stauffer and Montreal Canadiens insider Marc-Antoine Godin in which Godin speculates Habs GM Marc Bergevin is looking into the option of trading defenseman P.K. Subban, though he’s not saying Subban actually will be dealt, but guesses it could be the case. If the Edmonton Oilers were interested in Subban, Godin believes Bergevin will want left wing Taylor Hall in return, plus defenseman Oscar Klefbom. Staples believes Griffin Reinhart, not Klefbom, would have to be the throw-in part of the deal.
TSN 690 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger shoots down that speculation, pointing out Bergevin made it clear he’s not trading Subban. He also dismissed the notion of Klefbom being deal, pointing out Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli’s unwillingness to part with him in return for New York Islanders blueliner Travis Hamonic.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Godin suggests “where there’s smoke there’s fire,” but quite frankly, I just don’t see Bergevin trading Subban unless the blueliner demands a trade, and it’s obvious that’s not going to happen. Trading Subban for a winger like Hall will address the Habs need for more scoring punch at forward, but blows a huge hole in their blueline that could take a generation to replace. Klefbom would never measure up in the eyes of Montreal fans and media. They’ll eat him alive and spit out his bones on a daily basis. And god help Hall if his performance falters while Subban shines in Edmonton. Not happening.
More on the Oilers and Canadiens
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples also cited Stauffer interviewing Sportsnet’s Mark Spector and suggesting the Edmonton Oilers, should they win the draft lottery this Saturday, trade the first overall pick to the Arizona Coyotes to get more assets. Stauffer prospect the Oilers receive “prospect Dylan Strome, their own first round pick (which will be 7th to 9th), and the New York Rangers first pick (18th to 20th) and Arizona’s second rounder.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming the Oilers win the lottery and the Coyotes are willing to give up that much to land that pick. We’ll find out after Saturday evening.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels listed his top UFA targets for the Montreal Canadiens this summer. In addition to making a strong pitch for Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, he considers New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo the top pick to address their lack of depth at right wing, with David Perron, Troy Brouwer, Jiri Hudler providing value as short-term, low-cost options. On defense, Keith Yandle, Brian Campbell, Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers are options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the Habs land Stamkos. Okposo is a more realistic option but he’ll cost around $6 million per. Perron has an injury history and is a streaky scorer so stay far away from him. Hudler’s only a year removed from his career-best 76-point season but he’s probably on the downside now. He did very little in the playoffs for the Panthers. Brouwer seems a better short-term choice. Yandle’s too expensive and Campbell’s long in the tooth at 36. Goligoski is small but a good puck-mover and logs big minutes, as does Demers, who’s also more physical.
Updates on the Lightning.
SPORTSNET/ESPN.COM/TSN 1050 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Given Jonathan Drouin’s solid performance for the Tampa Bay Lightning during their first-round series against the Detroit Red Wings, Luke Fox, Craig Custance and Bob McKenzie mused over how that might change his future with the Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could. After staging a failed holdout to force a trade, he looked very good in that series against the Red Wings. If he maintains or improves that level of play, talk of Drouin getting traded this summer could fade away. Of course, that will also depend upon Drouin and GM Steve Yzerman. If they’re willing to bury the hatchet, he’ll at least return for the final season of his entry-level contract. But if Drouin or his agent keep talking about moving on, or Yzerman decides he doesn’t want to deal with the contractual headache, he could remain in the rumor mill come June.
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran recently speculated the more the Lightning win in this year’s playoffs without sidelined captain Steven Stamkos, the more likely he could be playing elsewhere next season. Stamkos, of course, is a UFA this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ongoing playoff success without Stamkos definitely changes the equation. Some suggest it could also adversely affect Stamkos’ value in the UFA market, but never underestimate the ability of general managers to succumb to auction fever on the opening day of free agency, especially for a prize like him. He’ll easily get over $10 million per.
More Radulov rumors.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently cited growing speculation out of Russia claiming Alexander Radulov, who’s spent the past four season in the KHL, could return to the NHL in 2016-17. The Colorado Avalanche are rumored to be interested in him, based on Radulov’s junior hockey ties to Avs coach Patrick Roy. Avs GM Joe Sakic declined to comment. There’s talk he’s also interested in the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers, though no word if those clubs are interested or what type of contract Radulov might seek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov is a talented offensive winger. He also has a reputation in NHL circles as a selfish, sometimes petulant one-dimensional player. Any NHL team that signs him will be taking a gamble. And no, he won’t be among this summer’s top free agents. Strictly second-tier at best. He burned a lot of bridges during his last go-around in the NHL. He now has to prove himself.