Latest on Milan Lucic, Steven Stamkos, P.K. Subban and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Latest on Lucic, Faulk, Barrie and Yakupov
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the Edmonton Oilers will court left wing Milan Lucic via free agency if he and the LA Kings fail to reach agreement on a new contract. However, he only sees that happening if they first move one of their $6 million forward (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jordan Eberle) for a defenseman. He speculates a five-year deal worth $6.5 million per season for Lucic might be possible, speculating the Kings might only go for four years at $6 million annually due to their cap crunch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lucic could get more than $6.5 million on the open market. Yes, I know, a marginal increase in the salary cap could affect how much he gets, but never underestimate the ability of NHL general managers to succumb to auction fever during the opening hours of free agency.
Matheson hears the Carolina Hurricanes are “lukewarm” to the notion of trading defenseman Justin Faulk but decides to spitball anyway over what it could cost the Oilers to land him. “They would probably ask for RNH to give them Jordan Staal and Nugent-Hopkins at centre, and Andrej Sekera, who left there when the Canes couldn’t afford him and traded him to L.A. for Faulk. The Oilers would obviously want more. Maybe they’d ask for young Swedish RW/C Elias Lindholm?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson’s been banging the drum for a “Faulk to Edmonton” deal for some time. Again, the Hurricanes won’t part with their top defenseman, especially when he’s on a very affordable contract ($4.833 million through 2019-20).The ‘Canes have considerable cap space this summer. Even if they don’t spend toward the cap ceiling (and they won’t), they have sufficient space to add a scorer via free agency if they wish.
Speaking of Faulk, Matheson speculates the Colorado Avalanche could look at Faulk as a comparable in contract talks with RFA blueliner Tyson Barrie.
Matheson claims a deal that was proposed at the trade deadline was the Oilers shipping Nail Yakupov to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Eric Gelina, who was eventually dealt to Colorado for a third-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers will be fortunate to get a second-round pick for Yakupov at this point. I also wouldn’t rule out his being swapped for another disappointing young forward. He could even end up part of a package deal.
Destinations for Stamkos
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and, of course, the Lightning as destinations for Steven Stamkos this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those are the teams most often linked to Stamkos over the past year. I’m sure we’ll hear of a few more as the start of free agency on July 1 draws near, especially if there’s no progress in contract talks between Stamkos and the Lightning. Feel free to offer up your take on these destinations or to suggest a destination other than those listed by Allen.
Update on Subban.
TSN 690 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger was once again asked about the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens trading defenseman P.K. Subban before his no-trade clause kicks in on July 1. “Very recently, I reached out to a couple of general managers who I know have had some contact with Bergevin over time. One in particular, a Western Conference general manager, flat-out said he asked Bergevin about the availability of P.K. Subban. Now, this is probably in the last two, three weeks, maybe a bit longer than that. And he was flat-out told that he wasn’t going to be available.” While Dreger admits anything can still happen, he doesn’t see the Canadiens trading Subban.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This has been your latest installment of “Will the Canadiens trade Subban.” Tune in next week for probably more of the same. I agree with Dreger and his colleagues that Subban won’t be dealt, but I’m sure some of you believe it can happen. As I’ve repeatedly stated, trading Subban for a first-line center or right wing addresses one problem for the Habs but creates another, that being the lack of a suitable replacement for Subban on their blueline. Unless Habs GM Marc Bergevin can address that issue, either as part of the return for Subban or in a separate deal, he cannot afford to part with his superstar defenseman.
Latest on the Blue Jackets and Canucks.
TSN 1040 (VIA TODAY SLAPSHOT): Of the teams with the third, fourth and fifth overall picks in the upcoming NHL draft, Bob McKenzie believes the Jackets (third overall) might be the club most open to moving their selection. “The sense that a lot of people are getting right now is that the Columbus Blue Jackets are not sold on Jesse Puljujarvi at that spot, and that they may be looking at a more positionally-oriented name, and that is a center.”
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports Canucks GM Jim Benning knows he could land a foundation player — centre/winger Pierre-Luc Dubois, left winger Matthew Tkachuk or puck-moving defenceman Olli Juolevi, depending on what the Edmonton Oilers do with the fourth pick – but he’s willing to listen to trade offers if he can get a return that helps his club right away.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Jackets, Oilers or Canucks could move their draft pick either for an established player that can help them immediately or to move down a couple of slots in the draft order. If recent draft history is anything to go by, however, they’re just as likely to retain their picks.