Possible free agent targets for the Stars and Canucks, plus the latest Oilers trade speculation.
Free-agent targets for the Stars.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Listed Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson, New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo, New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle and goaltenders James Reimer of the San Jose Sharks and Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes as possible free-agent targets for Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill.
Mike Heika, responding to a reader’s question about the Stars perhaps pursuing Los Angeles Kings left wing Milan Lucic, believes signing him would leave the Stars top heavy in money invested in their forwards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heika’s comment about Lucic can apply for those proposed UFA targets of Stamkos, Eriksson and Okposo. Not saying they shouldn’t look at adding another scoring forward, but they’ll have to consider more affordable options. Besides, I think their biggest need is to upgrade their goaltending and improve the blueline. Adding Yandle is an expensive replacement for Alex Goligoski so I don’t see that move happening. Reimer could be a great fit but they first have to shed Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi. Given their contracts, that won’t be easy.
Latest Oilers speculation.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: If the Edmonton Oilers are to trade defenseman Mark Fayne, Jonathan Willis wonders if the Toronto Maple Leafs might be interested. He suggests Fayne’s advanced stats could interest the Leafs’ analytics department and points out Fayne skated for the Devils when Lou Lamoriello (now the Leafs general manager) was their GM. Willis also points out the Leafs lack depth in right-shooting defensemen.
Willis also recently offered up reasons why it seems more likely than not the Oilers trade the fourth-overall selection in the 2016 NHL draft. He noted Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has made it clear he’s willing to move that pick for a return that helps his club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Leafs management believe Fayne’s performance can improve under head coach Mike Babcock, I suppose it’s a possibility they could look at him. A major sticking point, however, is his $3.625-million annual cap through through 2017-18. Depending on the Leafs plans for the UFA market (and how much cap room they can free up), they might not be keen to take on that much salary without the Oilers taking some back or absorbing part of Fayne’s cap hit.
Why the Canucks should pursue Brouwer.
THE PROVINCE: Jeff Paterson makes the case for the Vancouver Canucks to pursue St. Louis Blues right wing Troy Brouwer via free agency. He cites Brouwer’s wealth of playoff experience, his right-handed shot, size, versatility, durability, work ethic and leadership among the positive assets he’d bring to the Canucks. With Brouwer completing a three-year, $11-million contract, Paterson believes the 30-year-old will command a slight raise on the open market, which he thinks the Canucks can afford on a three- or four-year deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur. Brouwer might get as much as $4.5 million annually on a three- or four-year contract on the open market, but that’s still much more affordable than what Loui Eriksson might cost the Canucks if the rumors of their interest in the Bruins winger are serious. Of course, there’s no guarantee Brouwer would be interested in joining the Canucks, but it’s certainly worth exploring that possibility