Is a summer trade coming for the Tampa Bay Lightning? What’s the latest on Kevin Shattenkirk? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports the Lightning’s re-signing of winger Alex Killorn yesterday to a seven-year deal worth $4.45 million leaves them only $8.5 million of salary-cap space for 2016-17. That could make it tricky to re-sign remaining restricted free agents Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Nesterov. Smith speculates Kucherov is due a significant raise potentially as high as $6 million per season. Killorn’s new contract will also affect efforts to re-sign RFAs Tyler Johnson, Jonathan Drouin and Ondrej Palat next summer.
To get under the cap this summer, GM Steve Yzerman said he’ll likely have to make a trade this summer. Smith suggests center Valtteri Filppula ($5 million cap hit), defenseman Jason Garrison ($4.6 million cap hit) and goaltender Ben Bishop ($5.9 million cap hit, also an unrestricted free agent next summer) as possible trade candidates. Regarding his goalie situation, Yzerman said things are quiet right now, adding his club is more than happy to start next season with Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the three, Filppula could be the easiest to move, as he has a partial no-trade clause, while Garrison has a full no-trade clause and Bishop a full no-movement. Garrison, however, did waive his clause to go from Vancouver to Tampa Bay, but will he be willing to do so again? While Bishop is a Vezina Trophy finalist, there’s not much of a market for him right now. The Dallas Stars were rumored to be interested, but they have to shed either Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi and that won’t be easy because of their contracts. Perhap a Bishop trade takes place during training camp and preseason, when the market could improve as clubs assess their goaltending.
YAHOO SPORTS: Greg Wyshynski notes defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk remains with the St. Louis Blues, despite weeks of trade speculation. He cites St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford reporting St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong is still looking for a return that “makes sense” for the team. There’s a sense from Armstrong that Shattenkirk could start next season with the Blues. Wyshynski lists the lack of urgency on Armstrong’s part to swing a deal and Shattenkirk’s UFA status next summer as significant factors affecting the blueliner’s trade status.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes Shattenkirk’s trade value is dropping, in part because the Blues can’t get what they want and because of Shattenkirk’s “mediocre-to-ok” performance in the 2016 playoffs. As the new season gets closer, he’ll start to become more of a rental player. There’s also repeated reports claiming Shattenkirk only wanted to sign with an Eastern Conference team. Staples would prefer the Oilers prefer Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, considering him “a more effective and dynamic attacker than Shattenkirk”, as well as having “more bite” to his defensive game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A Shattenkirk trade is still possible, but it might not happen until training camp and preseason at the earliest. Otherwise, Armstrong does seem comfortable starting next season with Shattenkirk and waiting for the right deal to come along before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.