Suggested trade destinations for several notable restricted free agents and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 



Could Lightning star Nikita Kucherov become a trade candidate this summer?

Could Lightning star Nikita Kucherov become a trade candidate this summer?

 ESPN.COM:  Matthew Coller recently listed 10 remaining NHL restricted free agents who could be traded before training camp opens for salary cap reason, value or roster needs. He suggested the Minnesota Wild call the New York Rangers about winger Kevin Hayes, the New Jersey Devils contract the Ottawa Senators about winger Mike Hoffman, the Anaheim Ducks inquire about Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons and the Winnipeg Jets look into the availability of Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson.
He also suggested the Vancouver Canucks contact the Tampa Bay Lightning about center Vladislav Namestnikov, the New York Islanders about Lightning sniper Nikita Kucherov, the Carolina Hurricanes about Dallas Stars winger Valeri Nichushkin, the Arizona Coyotes into the availability of Winnipeg Jets blueliner Jacob Trouba, the New York Rangers about Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba and the Edmonton Oilers about Colorado Avalanche rearguard Tyson Barrie. 


SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coller isn’t saying those teams will pursue those players, nor is he claiming they’re even available. He’s merely making suggestions. Still, it’s possible one or two of those players listed could be dealt come September.


Hoffman and Barrie, both dogged by trade rumors throughout last season, are headed to arbitration this summer. Girgensons’ future with the Sabres seems cloudy after he fell down the depth chart last season. Hayes was something of a disappointment for the Rangers last season. 


Since Coller published this piece, the Capitals re-signed Johansson. Stars GM Jim Nill claims he’s not giving up on Nichushkin and Wild GM Chuck Fletcher claims Dumba is still a key part of his club’s future. I don’t see the Jets parting with Trouba and the Lightning certainly aren’t moving Kucherov. They also seem keen to retain Namestnikov. 





SUN-SENTINEL.COM’S Harvey Fialkov recently took to Twitter to douse speculation the Florida Panthers would ship defenseman Alex Petrovic to the Edmonton Oilers for winger Nail Yakupov. “Source confirms there is ABSOLUTELY no validity to trade rumors involving D Alex Petrovic for Oilers F Nail Yakupov.”


SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Fialkov and other Florida pundits also cited sources last monthclaiming the Panthers wouldn’t trade defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. To be fair, they’re only passing along what their sources tell them. In this instance, I don’t think there’s a need for the Panthers to make that move unless they’re envisioning a bigger role for Jakub Kindl or recently acquired Mark Pysyk or intend on replacing Petrovic on the blueline via trade, free agency or from their farm team.