Top-10 NHL draft trade candidates, UFA speculation, updates on the Oilers & much more in your NHL rumor mill.
Top-10 NHL draft trade candidates.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin lists (top to bottom) Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie, Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw, Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen, St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen, Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop as his top-10 trade candidates heading into the NHL draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of these, I think Fleury, Hartnell, Andersen, Shattenkirk, Nugent-Hopkins, Vatanen and Datsyuk are the most likely to be dealt. While Artemi Panarin’s bonuses eats up valuable cap space for the Blackhawks, they might be able to find additional room for Shaw by trading or buying out Bryan Bickell. The Avs could trade Barrie but only if they can find a suitable return. If not, they’ll re-sign him and then perhaps consider their options next season. Bishop could be dealt but if the Bolts don’t re-sign Stamkos there’s a chance they could keep him and Andrej Vasilevskiy for one more run at the Stanley Cup next spring.
Honorable mentions include Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba, Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle, St. Louis’ Brian Elliott, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, San Jose’s Patrick Marleau, the Rangers’ Rick Nash, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brodin is more likely to move than Dumba, but the former’s $4.16 million cap hit might not be easy to move. If Eberle can land a top-two defenseman, sure, he’ll get dealt. Otherwise, Nugent-Hopkins is more likely to go. The Blues already said they’re keeping their goalie tandem intact for next season so Elliott’s not moving.
The Wings could try to move Howard but his $5.29 million contract is tough to trade. Marleau has a full no-movement clause and said he wants to return with the Sharks next season. Nash could hit the trade block but the Rangers might have to pick up part of his $7.8 million cap hit. Wings GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said he’s not shopping Trouba. Yakupov’s a goner, probably for a third-round pick unless he’s packaged in a larger deal.
Latest NHL UFA speculation.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Chicago Blackhawks left wing and pending UFA Andrew Ladd prefers signing with a club where he has a chance to win. “I’ve kind of done the rebuild thing a little bit there in Winnipeg. At this point in my career I want a chance to win another Stanley Cup.” He also cited finding a good location for his family as another factor.
Agent Pat Brisson, who represents NY Islanders UFA right wing Kyle Okposo, said all indications are they’re heading to the UFA market on July 1.
LeBrun believes the Rangers would prefer to re-sign pending UFA defenseman Keith Yandle, but unless they can free up salary-cap space to do so, he’ll be departing via free agency.
While there’s been “fairly constant dialogue” between the Carolina Hurricanes and pending UFA goalie Cam Ward, the two sides aren’t close yet on a new deal.
LeBrun notes the Los Angeles Kings limited cap space could hamper efforts to re-sign useful bottom-six forward Trevor Lewis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t sound like Ladd’s keen to join a rebuilding club this summer. The Isles obviously have no interest in re-signing Okposo so there’s no drama there. If the Rangers can, say, ship out Rick Nash’s contract, they could make a serious effort to re-sign Yandle. Unless Ward accepts a considerable pay cut on a short-term deal, he won’t be back with the Hurricanes. And if the Kings re-sign Milan Lucic, kiss Lewis goodbye.
Latest on the Oilers.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs are better-positioned to acquire a top right-shooting defenseman than the Edmonton Oilers. He notes those clubs possess more high draft picks and depth in young prospects than the Oilers for clubs seeking affordable returns.
Jonathan Willis suggests the San Jose Sharks consider acquiring left wing Benoit Pouliot from the Oilers, perhaps as a replacement for the declining skills of aging forward Patrick Marleau. The problem is the Sharks lack a defenseman that would make this a worthwhile one-for-one deal. He also notes Kyle Okposo could be available via free agency. While Okposo could be a good fit with the Oilers, they could be better off investing in their defense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see how the Oilers fare against the Coyotes, Bruins and Leafs in the quest for a quality defenseman via the trade market. The Oilers can offer up a top young forward like Hall, or a good young forward like Nugent-Hopkins or Eberle, but they also come with expensive contracts. Yakupov on his own won’t be enticing unless packaged with the fourth overall pick and even then I’m not sure that can fetch what the Oilers seek.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Chiarelli puts Pouliot on the trade block but he’s carrying a $4 million annual cap hit through 2018-19, which won’t be too enticing to a number of clubs this summer, especially if the salary cap doesn’t significantly increase. There was some recent chatter out of Edmonton claiming Travis Hamonic still wanted to be traded but publicly revoked his trade request to relieve pressure on GM Garth Snow to move him. Judging by Staple’s comment, that’s not the case.
Updates on the Coyotes, Kings and Sabres.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka said his club isn’t bundling his first-round picks along with prospects and young talent to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first-overall pick in this year’s draft in hopes of selecting Arizona native Auston Matthews. “I’m not exactly sure where people come up with this stuff. I personally find some of the reports that are out there are pretty ridiculous speculation,” he said.
LA KINGS INSIDER: Jon Rosen reports hearing contract talks between the Los Angeles Kings and pending UFA left wing Milan Lucic have started again, though nothing’s imminent regarding a new deal.
WGR 550: Matthew Coller speculates defenseman Zach Bogosian could be a valuable trade chip for the Buffalo Sabres. Citing Bogosian’s no-movement clause, Coller points out the Sabres would have to protect Bogosian in an expansion draft, which could leave another valuable player unprotected. He notes the Edmonton Oilers have had interest in Bogosian since last season. Coller cites the fact the Sabres already have plenty of right-shooting defenseman and their need for more scoring punch. “Edmonton has several scoring wingers that may be available including Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov. The Avalanche reportedly could move Gabriel Landeskog or Matt Duchene.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting take by Coller, though I’m not sure Sabres GM Tim Murray shares that view. Still, if Murray wants to add another scoring forward, Bogosian could be enticing trade bait, provided he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause.