Trade scenarios for the Oilers’, rebuilding the Bruins, the Penguins goalie status and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
Trading the Oilers’ first-round draft pick.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson offers up some trade scenarios for the Edmonton Oilers. One is packaging center Leon Draisaitl and defenseman Oscar Klefbom with the pick to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman P.K. Subban and the Habs first-rounder (ninth overall).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the umpteenth time, this move addresses one problem for the Habs (scoring depth at forward) while creating another, bigger one by blowing a huge hole into their blueline. Klefbom has promise, but on his best day, he isn’t in the same class as Subban. Despite the latter’s critics, he is considered among the NHL’s elite defensemen. Klefbom is not.
Another is offering up center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or right wing Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders for defenseman Travis Hamonic, though such a move could also mean the Isles insisting on the Oilers taking someone off their hands (like Nikolai Kulemin and his $4.5 million per season contract) as part of the deal. The Oilers could then pursue Isles right wing Kyle Okposo via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Isles GM Garth Snow consistently insisted on getting a comparable defenseman in return, something the Oilers don’t have. Unless Snow changes his mind about the return, or another team gets involved to make this a three-way deal, or Snow finds a suitable replacement for Hamonic in a separate deal, I don’t think the Oilers are a fit here.
Another is offering up defenseman Mark Fayne and the remaining two years of his contract (at $3.5 million per season) to the Chicago Blackhawks for left wing Bryan Bickell and the remaining year of his contract ($4 million cap hit).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Now this one is an interesting suggestion. The Hawks must dump Bickell’s salary if they hope to clear some cap space to re-sign center Andrew Shaw and they need some experienced depth on their bottom defense pairing. Fayne might prosper playing for a better team in Chicago. Of course, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman would have to believe Fayne will be a worthwhile addition.
He suggests shopping Nail Yakupov to the Carolina Hurricanes, perhaps getting promising center Nicolas Roy in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes do need scoring, but are they willing to gamble on a struggling winger like Yakupov? GM Ron Francis might prefer someone with a proven record. And he might not be keen to part with one of his better prospects.
Matheson wonders if the Columbus Blue Jackets would offer up their first-round pick (third overall) and a prospect to the Oilers for Nugent-Hopkins. The Jackets would have to move a couple of big contracts (Scott Hartnell and Fedor Tyutin) to make room for RNH’s $6 million annual cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only way this might work is if the Jackets can shed the salaries of Hartnell and Tyutin first. They don’t want to acquire a high-salaried center only to find themselves stuck with two expensive contracts they can’t move.
A lot of people are suggesting the Oilers pursue Dallas Stars right-shooting blueliner Jason Demers via free agency this summer but Matheson seems lukewarm to the idea, noting Demers has difficulty against bigger opponents.
Bruins and Penguins.
CBS BOSTON: Matt Dolloff lists St. Louis Blues center/winger David Backes and winger Troy Brouwer, New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo and Anaheim Ducks winger Chris Stewart as four options for the Boston Bruins if they wish to “get heavier” at right wing. With the possibility of an expansion draft next year creating more trade opportunities than usual, Dolloff wondered what it would take to get Bobby Ryan from the Ottawa Senators, Wayne Simmonds from the Philadelphia Flyers or Brandon Saad from the Columbus Blue Jackets, though he acknowledges those are likely just pipe dreams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins priority is shoring up their defense corps, so I doubt they’ll have the cap space to chase Backes or Okposo, and Brouwer could also be out of their price range. The most affordable would be Stewart, but while he still has a physical presence, his offensive game has been in steady decline for some time now. Acquiring Ryan, Simmonds or Saad will cost the Bruins far more than they can afford, but if you’re gonna dream, dream big.
ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside wonders if goalie Matt Murray’s success thus far with the Pittsburgh Penguins means Marc-Andre Fleury’s days with the Pens are numbered He also notes the dilemma the Penguins could face if there’s an expansion draft next summer, forcing them to choose which won to protect. Fleury has a no-movement clause limited to waivers and demotions and a partial no-trade, meaning he could be exposed in an expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I noted yesterday the Penguins don’t have to rush to make a decision. They could retain the Fleury-Murray tandem for another season and then try to move Fleury before the expansion draft. If they’re keen to keep both, they could protect Murray and cut a side deal with an expansion team to ensure Fleury doesn’t get selected in the draft. However, one cannot dismiss the possibility they could attempt to trade Fleury this summer. It’s a situation that will be worth watching once the playoffs are over.
OTTAWA SUN: Former Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau arrived in Ottawa on Thursday night for an interview with Senators management today.
SPORTSNET: The Anaheim Ducks are believed to have interest in Utica Comets coach Travis Green as a potential replacement for Boudreau.