Latest on the Ducks and Red Wings, plus an update on Alex Radulov, in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
Changes coming for the Ducks.
YAHOO SPORTS: Jen Neale reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray isn’t done making changes after announcing head coach Bruce Boudreau was relieved of his duties yesterday. Murray was particularly critical of his players performance in their opening-round series defeat at the hands of the Nashville Predators. He said his core players had to be better. He also noted he had four players carrying no-trade/no-movement clauses (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa), which Neale suggests disqualifies them from being part of any significant changes Murray intends to make this summer.
Murray also stated his reluctance to add more long-term deals with no-trade clauses. That could be bad news for restricted free agents Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen and Frederik Andersen. The Ducks usually keep their payroll between $8-$10 million below the cap ceiling and Neale notes there’s no indication ownership will end that trend this summer. Murray remains on the search for a top-line left winger and cited secondary scoring as an issue. He also suggested a possible expansion draft could factor into his decisions this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve only listed a few notable points in Neale’s column. I recommend reading the entire thing. By the sound of things, if Murray decides to shake up his roster the changes could come among his RFAs. Of those players, I believe Vatanen and Andersen are most likely to move, given their arbitration rights this summer. Finding a top-line left wing won’t be easy, but Murray has the depth in promising young defensemen to use as trade bait to potentially address that need. That includes Vatanen and possibly Cam Fowler, whose name surfaced a couple of times this season in the rumor mill. If Murray wanted to make real changes, Getzlaf and/or Perry would hit the trade block this summer. However, that’s probably not going to happen.
Latest on the Red Wings.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: George Sipple recently reported it’s possible the Red Wings could trade winger Tomas Tatar, who struggled with a shoulder injury and heightened expectations this season. If that came to pass, Tatar said he’d understand it as part of the business of the game.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Red Wings and pending UFA forward Darren Helm have mutual interest in getting a deal done but it will depend upon money and Helm’s role with the club.
Responding to readers’ questions in a recent mailbag segment, Khan believes the Wings would have to sweeten the pot if they were to offer up Tatar or Gustav Nyquist to the Ducks for defenseman Cam Fowler. He also thinks they’ll be interested in Jacob Trouba or Tyler Myers if the Winnipeg Jets decide to part with either guy, and doubts the Wings would part with Tatar or Nyquist (both being in their mid-twenties) for a 30-year-old blueliner like Vancouver’s Alex Edler. He also thinks St. Louis Blues captain David Backes is the type of player the Wings should pursue if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He doesn’t see a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs sending an offer sheet to Petr Mrazek.
Khan also reports the Wings are exploring the possibility of signing former NHL forward Alexander Radulov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings will be a team to watch this summer. GM Ken Holland said he would aggressively pursue trades. Tatar and Nyquist have been mentioned by several Detroit pundits as possible trade candidates. And speaking of Radulov…
Updates on Alexander Radulov.
TSN: Former NHL winger Alex Radulov said he will return to the league next season. Radulov spent the past four seasons skating in the KHL. He spent two seasons with the Nashville Predators from 2006 to 2008 before jumping to the KHL. He made a brief, ill-fated returned to the Preds late in the 2011-12 season.
SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston lists the Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals as possible destinations for Radulov. Elliotte Friedman reports not to assume the Avs are a front runner for Radulov. He claims the Panthers and Red Wings could have some interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Wings in transition I can understand why they might kick the tires on Radulov. The Canucks and Devils definitely need offense and the Ducks need secondary scoring, which explains why they might be suitors. Panthers GM Dale Tallon always seems willing to take a gamble on a veteran player if he believes they will help his team. As for the Avs, they should be spending more time addressing their defense. I don’t see Radulov going to the Capitals as long as former Preds coach Barry Trotz is behind the bench in Washington.
Hovering over all of this is both Radulov’s asking price and his reputation as a selfish, one-dimensional player. Those factors will affect how much interest he receives in the UFA market.