Latest on Kevin Shattenkirk, Milan Lucic, Steven Stamkos and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

The Shattenkirk watch.

New York Rangers reportedly interested in St. Louis Blue defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

New York Rangers reportedly interested in St. Louis Blue defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard reports sources claim the New York Rangers are in hot pursuit of St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk as a potential replacement for Keith Yandle, who was dealt to the Florida Panthers earlier this week. Shattenkirk is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency, leading Leonard to speculate any team interested in acquiring the blueliner could result in them re-signing him to a $6 million per season contract extension. The Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers are also believed pursuing Shattenkirk.

That might not be the only move in the works for Rangers GM Jeff Gorton, as he could consider dealing left wing Rick Nash ($7.8 million per season) or Derek Stepan ($6.5 million) to clear cap space. The Blues would reportedly seek picks, prospects or inexpensive top young talent as a return for Shattenkirk than an expensive player like Nash. Leonard doubts the Rangers would get into the bidding for Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos if he hits the UFA market next week.

TSN 1040 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger reports the Blues are trying to extend Shattenkirk but it’s not looking good. The Boston Bruins reportedly offered one of their two first round picks (14th and 29th overall) to the Blues for the defenseman. Dreger claims there’s a sense Shattenkirk seeks a deal comparable to teammate Alex Pietrangelo ($6.5 million annual cap hit).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Shattenkirk would prefer playing for an Eastern Conference club. While he lacks a no-trade clause, the Blues could prefer sending him to an Eastern team. That could work in the Rangers favor.  The Boston Bruins are also believed very interested in him and could have the depth in affordable assets to outbid the Rangers. Regardless, Shattenkirk’s status remains the hottest trade topic heading toward the start of the NHL draft weekend tomorrow. 

Latest on Lucic.

EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson reports the Edmonton Oilers could explore the cost of signing Los Angeles Kings left wing Milan Lucic, who yesterday told TSN’s Pierre LeBrun he’s heading to the UFA market next week. Kings GM Dean Lombardi said the Lucic camp has permission to talk to rival clubs now, rather than having to wait until the start of the UFA interview period on June 25. Matheson notes the ties Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has with Lucic from their days with the Boston Bruins, and speculates Chiarelli would have to move out one of his high-salaries forwards (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jordan Eberle) to clear cap room for Lucic, who’s completing a three-year, $18 million contract.

VANCOUVER SUN: Ed Willes believes Lucic roars to the top of the Canucks free-agent wish list this summer. He notes GM Jim Benning’s ties to Lucic from their days in the Bruins organization, and claims Benning was very interested in the left wing when the Bruins put him on the trade block prior to last year’s draft. Willes feels Lucic would be a perfect fit to the Canucks’ rebuilding plan of remaining competitive while integrating younger players into the lineup. While Lucic is from East Vancouver, Willes believes Canucks management face a significant sell job wooing him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure other clubs will be interested in Lucic, who’s among the league’s best power forwards. Still, the Oilers and Canucks could make competitive bids for his services. Maybe one of them will acquire his negotiating rights. 


Stamkos watch.

TSN 1260 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger believes there are several teams that could be willing to pay over $10 million per season to Steven Stamkos via free agency if the Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t willing to come up from their offer of $8.5 million per season. The Detroit Red Wings could offer up $10 million annually for seven seasons, while a team such as the Buffalo Sabres could go as high as $12 million per.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres GM Tim Murray denied any internal discussions of an offer for Stamkos. Whether that’s true or not, Harrington suggests making a huge bid for Stamkos a huge risk. He notes it could complicate efforts to re-sign promising young Sabres Rasmus Ristolainen this summer and Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart down the road. It’s also possible Stamkos could seek to return home to Toronto.

In other Sabres news, Harrington suggests Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler could be a trade target for Murray, speculating the Sabres GM might be willing to part with the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft to get him. The Sabres are also among the clubs believed to have interest in St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. If the Sabres were to sign Stamkos, Harrington wonders if that might convince recently-acquired prospect Jimmy Vesey to forego free agency on Aug. 15 and sign with the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I said yesterday, Stamkos must decide on sticking with a certain Stanley Cup contender in the Lightning for less than market value but with long-term contact security, or he can put his Cup aspirations on hold (perhaps permanently?) by chasing big bucks in Toronto, Buffalo or elsewhere. 

Trouba, Campbell and Yakupov.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Tim Campbell cites the growth of trade rumors regarding Jets restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba. He claims rival executives don’t understand why the Jets would trade Trouba, as they would have an urgent need to replace him and there aren’t many comparable blueliners available. Campbell cites several reasons why the Jets wouldn’t trade Trouba (they won’t get a fair return, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff claiming he’s not shopping Trouba and intends to re-sign him, Trouba might want to stay), but also why the Trouba rumors are still floating around, such as the possibility of an offer sheet, some unknown off-ice conflict or a mind-blowing trade offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trouba is also completing an entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. The Jets hold the leverage here. There’s no reason for them to trade Trouba unless they’re fearful he’ll receive an unmatchable offer sheet in July. 

NBC SPORTS:  Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell intends to test the UFA market next week. He’s expressed interest in returning to the Chicago Blackhawks. Given the Blackhawks’ limited cap space, it could be a tight squeeze.

EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson believes Nail Yakupov is the Oilers forward most likely to be traded this summer. He wondered what trade value Yakupov might have. He’s heading into the final season of his contract with a cap hit of $2.5 million. “Do the Oilers put him in a trade package with one year left on his contract at $2.5 million? Do they take a draft pick for him? Or do they look around at the other team’s first-round picks and see if there’s anybody who’s been slow to come around?” With the Carolina Hurricanes acquiring Teuvo Teravainen and signing Sebastian Aho, Matheson wonders if Elias Lindholm might be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunno why the Hurricanes would want Yakupov. With their recent acquisitions, perhaps they’ll look elsewhere to add depth to their forward lines. With their cap space (over $24 million), they could do better than Yakupov. 

Latest on the Bruins, Blackhawks and Senators. 

CSNNE.COM:  Joe Haggerty advocates the Boston Bruins sign Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones to an offer sheet. As the Bruins lack second- and third-round picks in 2017 to make a reasonable offer, Haggerty suggests they pitch a $9.3 million per season offer, meaning the Bruins would forfeit their next four first-round draft picks as compensation if the Blues Jackets failed to match. He believes it’s a bold move but thinks Jones would be worth it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind, Haggerty isn’t saying the Bruins will do this. It’s simply his suggestion they make an audacious move to address their defense corps. I doubt Bruins GM Don Sweeney is that adventurous. Offer sheets are rare and the last player successfully signed away was Dustin Penner from the Ducks to the Oilers back in 2007. 

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the following: “J.P Barry expected to meet with Bruins GM, Don Sweeney tonight on Loui Eriksson. Bruins stuck on 4 yrs. Eriksson wants 6. Likely UFA. Van?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are believed keen on Eriksson, but with Lucic available via free agency, maybe that changes if they can convince him to come home to Vancouver. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s Chris Kuc last night tweeted the following: “Source: are shopping Marcus Kruger and are putting out feelers on possible trade partner for Andrew Shaw.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trying to free up salary to pursue Evgeni Malkin? Kidding! Just kidding! Seriously though, if the Blackhawks are considering those options, perhaps they’re trying to free up room to add Brian Campbell or another defenseman? Odd, though, as they signed Kruger to a three-year extension in March and are believed keen to re-sign Shaw. Maybe the latter’s asking price is too expensive? Hopefully we’ll learn more about this in the coming days. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators would like to acquire a No. 5 or 6 defenseman and are also interested in trading Patrick Wiercioch and Alex Chiasson. Wiercioch is a restricted free agent in need of a $2.7 million qualifying offer, making him difficult to trade. A couple of teams last season expressed mild interest in Chiasson.