Updates on Tyson Barrie, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jacob Trouba and Eric Nystrom, plus the latest on the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets in your NHL rumor mill.
Market for Tyson Barrie
ESPN.COM: Should the Colorado Avalanche put defenseman Tyson Barrie on the trade block, Matthew Coller recently listed the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers as possible destinations.
The Wings desperately lack skilled depth on defense and Barrie’s puck-moving skills could mesh well with their young forwards such as Dylan Larkin. Sabres GM Tim Murray recently said his team needs a power-play quarterback and puck-moving blueliner. The Rangers could lose Keith Yandle to free agency and their blueline must get younger and faster. Barrie could be a perfect complement to Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly, plus Toronto has depth in draft picks and prospects to dangle as trade bait. The Oilers are deep in skilled young forwards and could part with one of them for Barrie.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t say I disagree with Coller’s take. If the Avs seek an affordable return for Barrie, the Sabres, Leafs and Oilers could go to the head of the line.
Latest on the Oilers
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples dismissed two recent rumors linking Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres. He doesn’t see Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli parting with Nugent-Hopkins for a defenseman, such as the Wild’s Jonas Brodin, who can’t put up points. He also doubts the Sabres can pry the fourth-overall pick from the Oilers with a package of defenseman Mark Pysyk and forward Zemgus Girgensons. Pysyk is another blueliner who hasn’t put up many points. He and Girgensons carry inexpensive contracts but they’ve yet to establish themselves as solid NHL players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A Nugent-Hopkins for Brodin swap was first suggested by Staples colleague Jim Matheson back on Dec. 3. Given the stagnation of Brodin’s development, however, he’s no longer a desirable trade option for the Oilers. I also agree with Staples that a Pysyk/Girgensons package isn’t enough for the fourth overall pick.
Trouba willing to re-sign with Jets.
TSN 1290 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger reports Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba is “absolutely willing to sign and stay in Winnipeg.” Trouba’s a restricted free agent this summer and the center of recent trade speculation. Dreger doubts Trouba will accept a bridge contract. “I believe that that number, term and dollars, is prohibitive from a Winnipeg Jets perspective”, said Dreger, adding that’s what fueling the trade chatter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last December, it was reported Trouba sought $56 million over an eight-year deal. His agent, Kevin Overhardt, subsequently denied the report. However, it’s quite obvious the Trouba camp isn’t interested in a bridge deal, while the Jets aren’t keen to overpay for a promising young blueliner who has yet to reach his full potential. The Jets hold the leverage here, as Trouba is completing an entry-level deal and lacks arbitration rights. He could stage a holdout, but that won’t accomplish much. While it’s not surprising Trouba’s the center of trade speculation, I expect he and the Jets will come to an agreement before next season. Perhaps it’ll be a four-year deal worth $5 million annually.
Updates on the Blackhawks.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus replied to some reader email regarding potential moves this summer by the Chicago Blackhawks. Lazerus believes the Blackhawks could try bringing back defenseman Brian Campbell, who was dealt to the Florida Panthers five years ago. Campbell is a UFA this summer but signing him isn’t a sure thing. Lazerus doesn’t believe the Hawks will bring back center Brad Richards. He doesn’t see pending UFAs Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann being re-signed, but wouldn’t be surprised if RFA forward Richard Panik gets inked to a new deal by the Blackhawks.
Lazerus believes it would be a big mistake by the Hawks to package Teuvo Teravainen with Bryan Bickell simply to get the latter’s contract off their books. A buyout of Bickell seems more likely. He doesn’t see the Blackhawks trading Corey Crawford or Scott Darling. There’s nothing new to report on the Blackhawks efforts to re-sign RFA center Andrew Shaw. Both sides are awaiting the numbers for next season’s salary cap. However, Lazerus thinks the smart money is on Shaw’s departure.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Blackhawks will re-sign Shaw and could pursue Campbell on an affordable short-term deal. They won’t package Teravainen with Bickell. Instead, they’ll simply buy out the latter. I know Stan Bowman’s a shrewd GM, but as Lazerus points out, he’s been trying for 18 months to trade Bickell. There’s just no market for him. While the Hawks could lose Darling in the expected expansion draft next June (Crawford has a full no-movement clause and must be protected), they’ll keep the tandem intact for next season.
Latest on the Blue Jackets and Predators.
TSN 1290 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger claims there are “aggressive offers” being made for the Columbus Blue Jackets’ first-round pick (third overall) in the upcoming NHL draft. Dreger doesn’t believe the Jackets are even remotely interested in moving the pick, but they’re willing to listen to offers. The Edmonton Oilers (fourth overall) and Vancouver Canucks (fifth overall) are also getting offers.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford reports the Nashville Predators are trying to trade forward Eric Nystrom rather than buy him out. “Nystrom, 33, carries a $2.5 million cap hit but is set to pull in $3M in salary next season.” He appeared in only 46 games this season and only one playoff game.