Latest on Derek Stepan, Nick Foligno, Kevin Shattenkirk, Nick Bjugstad and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
Updates on Stepan, Foligno, Shattenkirk, Vanek, Bjugstad and more.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving, who has the sixth overall pick in the upcoming NHL draft, wants to move up into the top three or four.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have more than $70 million invested in next season’s payroll. They’re trying to move left wing Scott Hartnell and defenseman Fedor Tyutin. They’re also listening to offers for captain Nick Foligno. There’s also concern a rival club could pitch an offer sheet to defenseman Seth Jones, though the Jackets will match any offer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect they’ll move Hartnell before Foligno. This is to be a salary dump so they won’t want much in return.
The Detroit Red Wings could be interested in Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos but they’ll have to move Pavel Datsyuk’s cap hit to afford him. A league executive said they’ll have to sweeten the pot to move that salary.
There’s talk the Florida Panthers are trying to move center Nick Bjugstad and are listening to offers for defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Panthers depth at center, I can understand the Bjugstad rumors. The Kulikov one, however, doesn’t make sense. Having traded away Erik Gudbranson, potentially losing Brian Campbell to free agency and concussions forcing Willie Mitchell into retirement, trading Kulikov would leave them thin on experienced defenders.
There’s also talk the New York Rangers are listening to offers on center Derek Stepan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Rangers are willing to entertain offers for all but a handful of players. Still, they won’t just give guys like Stepan away. They’ll want a return with a good young roster player (who’s also affordable) as part of the deal. There’s also no guarantee they will move Stepan.
Sounds doubtful that Eric Staal could return to the Carolina Hurricanes as an unrestricted free agent.
It’s believed the Boston Bruins contacted the St. Louis Blues about defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers are also looking for help on defense. Ideally, the Blues would prefer to re-sign Shattenkirk, who’s eligible for UFA status next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed Shattenkirk could be deal within the next couple of weeks. Given the emergence of Colton Parayko, I think the Blues can afford to move Shattenkirk now. Several clubs, including the Blues, Sabres and Oilers, will be interested.
The Minnesota Wild have to reach a decision regarding struggling left wing Thomas Vanek. They have until the end of this month to buy him out. They’re also getting interest in RFA defenseman Matt Dumba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild could try to trade Vanek first. GM Chuck Fletcher could also hang onto him to see if new head coach Bruce Boudreau can help him get back on track. As for Dumba, who’s coming off an entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights, I expect they’ll re-sign him to an affordable short-term bridge deal
Teams are believed to have interest in Anaheim Ducks RFA goaltender Frederik Andersen. They also have decisions to make on defense. They were getting calls on blueliner Sami Vatanen before re-signing him yesterday to a four-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Vatanen re-signed, the focus will likely shift toward RFA Hampus Lindholm as a trade candidate. Given the promising rise in his young career, however, I’ll be very surprised if they trade him. They also have some promising blueliners (Shea Theodore, Brandon Montour) waiting in the wings. Something’s gotta give here. There’s been suggestions Cam Fowler could be traded, but perhaps they try to move out a veteran like Clayton Stoner.
Updates on the Rangers, Islanders and Lightning.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers “are not getting Jacob Trouba out of Winnipeg unless Ryan McDonagh goes the other way. He’s not.”
Brooks claims the New York Islanders reportedly aren’t close to a new deal with pending UFA center Frans Nielsen. It’s possible the Islanders could part ways with Nielsen and fellow UFAs Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Isles GM Garth Snow already wished Okposo well, so he’s out the door for sure. If they lose Nielsen too, they’ll have to find a top-line right wing plus a second-line center for next season.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports “a lot of hockey people expect Stamkos’ negotiation rights to be dealt within days.” He also claims there’s “whispers” all isn’t well between Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and head coach Jon Cooper, as the latter “has had difficulty” with Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin and apparently Nikita Kucherov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those “whispers” about the relationship between Yzerman and Cooper seem to emanate from Toronto. Assuming there’s truth to those rumors, why didn’t Yzerman replace Cooper when he supposedly had issues with Stamkos last season? Or when Drouin wasn’t seeing much playing time? Or when Drouin tried to force a trade in January? Or when the Bolts fell short of reaching the Cup Final this season? Kucherov is thriving under Cooper, so it seems odd that he would be unhappy playing for him.