Updates on the Oilers, Sabres, Blue Jackets, Islanders, Ducks and Avalanche in your NHL rumor mill.
Oilers narrow options for defensemen.
EDMONTON SUN: With the Anaheim Ducks re-signing Sami Vatanen and the Colorado Avalanche claiming they’re not shopping Tyson Barrie, Jim Matheson examines the Oilers’ narrowing options for landing a right-shooting top-two defenseman via trade. He notes the Carolina Hurricanes have no crying need to move Justin Faulk,
He dismissed the notion of the Oilers offering right wing Jordan Eberle to the Buffalo Sabres for Zach Bogosian because they’re thin on the right side. However, he suggests perhaps a swap of first-round picks in the upcoming NHL draft (the Oilers have the fourth overall, the Sabres eighth) in a package deal involving Bogosian, with possible Sabres right wing Tyler Ennis, center Zemgus Girgensons or blueliner Mike Pysyk being in play.
If the Oilers are willing to accept a left-handed defenseman, Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm could be an option, though Matheson doesn’t believe he’s available. Cam Fowler could be another option, though he also shoots left.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples weighs in on the “Bogosian to the Oilers” notion, pointing out his $5.1 million annual cap hit for the next three seasons means he’s no bargain. He wonders if the Sabres would be willing to absorb part of that salary. He also wonders if Bogosian would be enough of a sweetener to convince the Oilers to part with the fourth overall pick to move down to eighth
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis notes there’s not many right-shooting defense targets for the Oilers via free agency. Jason Demers, Luke Schenn, Ben Lovejoy and Roman Polak are the most notable. Dan Boyle, Tom Gilbert and Jamie McBain tops a “thoroughly mediocre list of contenders for a puck-moving job on the third pair.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the umpteenth time, the Hurricanes aren’t trading Faulk. They have no reason to make that move.
While it’s possible the Sabres could consider moving Bogosian, that’s not a certainty. Trading him weakens an already-thin defense corps. He also has a no-movement clause, though his 2015 trade to Buffalo from Winnipeg may have voided it.
I don’t see the Ducks trading Lindholm. Fowler, perhaps, but they’ll want a decent return, like a scoring left wing, and I don’t see a fit there between the Ducks and Oilers. As for free agency, the less said about those options, the better.
Blue Jackets have decisions to make.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline examines the offseason needs of the Blue Jackets. Finding a first-line center to replace the departed Ryan Johansen and finding salary-cap space tops their to-do list. Portzline doesn’t rule out the Jackets, who hold the third-overall pick, trading down in the draft order, but they would “almost certainly need a high-powered center in return.” GM Jarmo Kekalainen acknowledged he’s recent two strong offers for that pick, but not strong enough to consider moving it. The Jackets are dangling left wing Scott Hartnell, though his contract and no-movement clause are tough to move. The Jackets have not indicated if they will buy out the contracts of Jared Boll ($1.7 million through 2016-17) or Fedor Tyutin ($4.5 million through 2017-18).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Hartnell is difficult to do, but not impossible. There will be clubs with cap space, such as Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina and New Jersey, in need of offensive depth who could be interested in his services. Boll could also be dealt, but Tyutin seems a tougher sell.
Latest on the Ducks, Islanders and Avalanche.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray acknowledged he could face moving out a goaltender this summer to avoid losing one to an expansion draft next year. He has to re-sign goaltender Frederik Andersen, who’s a restricted free agent on July 1. John Gibson is signed through 2018-19.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray could re-sign Andersen for 2016-17 and see how the season plays out, then move Andersen or Gibson at the trade deadline. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if Andersen gets deal within the next couple of weeks.
Joey Alfieri cites a report from the Orange County Register suggesting the Ducks could attempt to get RFA defenseman Hampus Lindholm inked to an affordable short-term bridge deal if unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract. Lindholm is completing an entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights.
Cam Tucker cites a Newsday report claiming the New York Islanders have been in talks in recent days with Frans Nielsen’s agent regarding a long-term contract. Nielsen is eligible for UFA status on July 1.
Tucker also cited an ESPN.com report suggesting pending UFA winger Mikkel Boedker hasn’t ruled out a return with the Colorado Avalanche.