Updates on P.K. Subban, Milan Lucic, Oliver Ekman-Larssen and more in your NHL rumor mill.
Lucic, Subban, Ekman-Larsson, Stamkos and Bishop.
NBC SPORTS: cites ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reporting Los Angeles Kings left wing Milan Lucic is heading to the unrestricted free agent market on July 1. The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers could be among those interested in his services.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Put simply, the Kings lack the cap space to keep Lucic in Los Angeles. Both sides wanted to get a deal done but Lucic wasn’t going to accept less than market value.
THE SCORE: cites ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun reporting the Montreal Canadiens are seeing an increase in the number of inquiries into the trade status of defenseman P.K. Subban. The calls appear to be unsolicited, as GM Marc Bergevin reportedly told one Western Conference GM last week that Subban was not available. While LeBrun notes some teams are desperate for a top defenseman, he feels it’ll take quite the offer to part with Subban.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though I’ll acknowledge that anything’s possible, I just don’t see there being a suitable offer to convince Bergevin to part with Subban.
AZCENTRAL.COM: Sarah McLellan reports Coyotes brass has made it clear they’re not parting with defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Max Domi or some of their top prospects simply to move up higher in the order of this year’s NHL draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks dare to keep dreaming. Sure, the Coyotes would love to land Auston Matthews, but they know the cost will be too high.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings have been mentioned as potential suitors for Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos if he tests the UFA market. Sabres GM Tim Murray said his priority is finding a defenseman with a left- or right-handed shot to play at left D.
LeBrun also speculates as to what the Lightning will do with Vezina Trophy nominee Ben Bishop. While the Lightning could wait until sometime next season to move Bishop, he has more trade value right now. For any team interested in Bishop, who’s a UFA next summer, LeBrun suggests asking the Lightning if they can talk to the goalie about a contract extension first.
Leafs, Rangers, Red Wings, Capitals and Sabres.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul has told friends he believes he’s played his final game for Toronto.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good luck moving that contract. It’s not impossible, but it won’t be easy to find a taker for an oft-injured forward carrying a $5.25 million cap hit through 2017-18.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Rangers GM Jeff Gorton must trade two or three of his best stars (“we’re talking Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider and Kevin Klein”) if he hopes to reset the roster on the fly into a Cup contender again.
Brooks doubts Gorton will consider any deals whereby he has to take on a bad contract in return or pick up a significant portion of Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit. He also considers the notion of Gorton freeing up cap space to get into the bidding for Steven Stamkos to be nonsensical. Brooks also doesn’t see Gorton pursuing defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, given the high cost of re-signing him (perhaps six years and $42 million).
If they trade Stepan, it’ll have to be for another top-line center like Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Brooks also wondered if the Colorado Avalanche would consider a swap of Stepan for Matt Duchene, if the Carolina Hurricanes would entertain an offer of Kreider for defenseman Justin Faulk, or if the Minnesota Wild could be tempted in parting with Matt Dumba, Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle or Jonas Brodin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whole lotta spitballin’ goin’ on here. If the Oilers move Nugent-Hopkins (who’s not a first-line center), they’ll want a defenseman in return. They’re already set at center on their top two lines with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, unless of course they wish to move the latter to the wing. If Duchene’s available, the Avs could seek a bigger return than Stepan. The Hurricanes aren’t moving Faulk. Granlund or Brodin could be available, but not Dumba or Coyle.
ARIZONA SPORTS’s Craig Morgan reports the following via Twitter: “Talk of Coyotes picking up Pavel Datsyuk’s contract & asset from Detroit, I’m told it has been discussed but it’s not on front burner.”
NBC SPORTS: Cites reports speculating the Washington Capitals could be forced to consider moving RFA winger Marcus Johansson if the price of re-signing him proves too steep.
TSN: Agent Peter Fish, who represents US college prospect forward Jimmy Vesey, said his client still intends to hit the open market on Aug. 15. The Buffalo Sabres gave up one of their fourth-round picks to the Nashville Predators for Vesey’s rights. Fish said he wouldn’t rule out the Sabres as one of the favorites to sign his client.