Latest on Subban, Stamkos, Bishop, Shattenkirk, Fowler, Nash and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Subban, Stamkos, Bishop
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin shot down speculation he was on the verge of trading defenseman P.K. Subban. “I never shopped P.K. Subban,” Bergevin said to open a press conference Thursday night. “I never had, I’m not now. But I can’t help teams from calling me.” Asked if he foresaw a possibility of trading Subban, Bergevin replied there might be a chance if a rival GM offered up half their team. Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning said he contacted Bergevin inquiring about Subban while Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli claimed the asking price for the Habs blueliner was too high.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks are wondering why Bergevin doesn’t come right out and say Subban’s untouchable. He’s probably keeping his options open in case someone makes him a mind-blowing offer (at least a top line forward and a top-two defenseman), but I doubt he’s going to get that type of proposal. Trading away Subban without landing a suitable replacement significantly weakens Montreal’s defense.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tom Jones reports Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said while no deal was imminent with pending UFA center Steven Stamkos, he hasn’t ruled out re-signing him. Yzerman is hoping for clarity on Stamkos’ plans by this weekend. The Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the suitors for Stamkos via free agency
He also acknowledged the possibility he could move one of his goaltenders for the right deal. Starting netminder Ben Bishop is linked to the Calgary Flames. Yzerman hinted he’d be all for moving Bishop if he could get a top-five pick in return. Bishop also has a partial no-trade clause. As of Thursday night, no team had contacted the Lightning to seek permission about talking contract extension with the Lightning starter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bishop isn’t willing to be dealt to the Flames, the Lightning will have to look elsewhere, probably during next season when the goalie market improves.
Shattenkirk and Fowler.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun claims the Arizona Coyotes are among the teams interested in St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler could be on the trading block. With Sami Vatanen re-signed and Hampus Lindholm requiring a new contract, plus promising youngsters Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour waiting in the wings, Fowler could be moved to free up cap room to re-sign Lindholm. Moving Kevin Bieksa or Clayton Stoner would be preferable but clubs are more interested in the Ducks younger d-men. Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray covets Fowler and could offer up the eighth overall pick.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres GM Tim Murray has spoken with Ducks GM Bob Murray and will do so again today. The eighth overall pick could be in play.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports if the Detroit Red Wings make a trade it’ll be for a top-pairing defenseman. Shattenkirk, Fowler and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba are among three notables who might be available. Khan also reports there’s nothing new to report on the Wings efforts to move Pavel Datsyuk’s contract and a trade of goaltender Jimmy Howard appears unlikely.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins remain linked to Shattenkirk and the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed Shattenkirk could be dealt before the end of the draft weekend. It certainly appears that interest in Fowler is heating up too. Teams that lose out on Shattenkirk could pursue Fowler, provided the Sabres don’t scoop him up first.
Flames, Oilers, Blue Jackets and Canucks
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving continues his search for a goaltender. The Flames have been linked to Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury and St. Louis’ Brian Elliott. LeBrun believes Bishop could be Treliving’s top target, though asking price and the opportunity to re-sign the goalie to a contract extension could be concerns. It’s believed the Penguins asking price for Fleury is too high.
The Oilers search for a defenseman is ongoing, with sources confirming they contacted the Canadiens about P.K. Subban. They’re looking at other options and have the fourth-overall pick to use as trade bait.
If the Columbus Blue Jackets trade the third-overall pick in the opening round of the 2016 draft, they could include a player contract in order to free up cap space to re-sign defenseman Seth Jones. However, they could also go the buyout route to reach that goal.
Canucks GM Jim Benning acknowledged receiving interest in his pick (fifth overall), but said it’ll take a lot to pry that pick away. He also acknowledged LA Kings pending UFA left wing Milan Lucic is a player he has interest in.
Rangers and Islanders
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports sources claim Rangers GM Jeff Gorton will not be offering up assets at a discount. In other words, he won’t be retaining salary simply to free up salary cap space or to add draft picks. Sources also dismiss the idea of a Rick Nash-for-Kevin Shattenkirk trade. Rangers management is leery about adding Shattenkirk, who has a year left on his contract and would be expensive to re-sign (maybe seven years at $7 million), though a source claims Shattenkirk would be willing to give the Rangers a hometown discount. Nash is also unwilling to accept a trade to a Canadian team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the Rangers already have nearly $20 million tied up in their defense corps and the difficulty they face moving Dan Girardi or Marc Staal, it’s not surprising they’re taking a pass on Shattenkirk. They could have difficulty moving Nash if unwilling to pick up part of his contract or to take back a toxic one.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders GM Garth Snow is heavily involved in trade talks seeking a replacement for pending UFA right wing Kyle Okposo. There’s no further progress to report on Frans Nielsen’s contract talks. The Islanders first-round pick (19th overall) could figure in Snow’s pursuit of a top-line winger.
Coyotes, Blackhawks and Wild.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports it is highly unlikely the Arizona Coyotes can pry the first overall pick away from the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also reports center Martin Hanzal, who’s eligible next summer for UFA status, could be in play if his salary demands are too high. “Some of the top trade targets would be St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and New Jersey’s Adam Larsson, but Arizona could go a cheaper route if none of those players are available, or if the asking price is too high,” writes Morgan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shattenkirk’s believed available, but the Jets appear keen to retain Trouba and I’ve seen nothing out of the New Jersey media suggesting Larsson could be moved.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Hine reports Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman claims he’s had good contract discussions with agent Pat Brisson regarding RFA center Andrew Shaw but no progress yet on a new contract. Hine suspects Bowman might have to choose between Shaw or center Marcus Kruger because of salary-cap constraints. Kruger will earn $3.1 million per season, which is around what Shaw could seek. They’ve reportedly sought trade partners for Kruger and for Shaw as well if a new contract cannot be worked out. Bowman claims most of the trade rumors regarding his club.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher informed Thomas Vanek’s agent that the winger could be bought out by June 30 to potentially free up more salary-cap space. No final decision has been reached but it’s under consideration. “According to sources, the Buffalo Sabres called about Jonas Brodin or Marco Scandella, but Fletcher asked for center Sam Reinhart. Sabres GM Tim Murray declined,” said Russo. The Wild are seeking a forward, preferably a center, and it could cost them a young defenseman like Brodin, Scandella or Matt Dumba. Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper is also available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wild are to free up cap space to sufficiently address their needs, buying out Vanek could be their only option. They probably won’t find any takers for him via trade.