Latest on Ben Bishop, Kris Russell and Tyson Barrie plus updates on the Red Wings, Flyers and Flames in your NHL rumor mill.
BISHOP, RUSSELL AND BARRIE.
TSN 1050 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger believes the Dallas Stars could be a good destination for Ben Bishop when the time comes for the Tampa Bay Lightning to trade the goaltender. He also believes the Lightning’s asking price for Bishop has to be high in terms of the young prospect or the draft picks they’ll want. There’s also the issue of re-signing Bishop, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. Dreger believes the Calgary Flames wanted Bishop but the high cost in return and new contract was too much.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning don’t have to trade Bishop this summer. However, with around $12 million in salary-cap space and Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, Nikita Nestorov and Vladislav Namestnikov to re-sign, shedding Bishop’s $5.9 million cap hit would give them considerable breathing room.
I don’t doubt Stars GM Jim Nill would love to acquire Bishop and lock him up to a long-term deal, but he’d have to find a way to shed either Kari Lehtonon or Antti Niemi, who are under contract for two more seasons. Nill could go into next season with his current goalie tandem intact, try to move one of them later in the season and make a pitch for Bishop before the trade deadline.
Dreger also reports via Twitter that a few teams still have interested in unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell. Multiple teams are also interested in UFA winger Kris Versteeg.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer reiterated his belief troubled negotiations are ahead for the Colorado Avalanche and defenseman Tyson Barrie, as head coach Patrick Roy considers Barrie a No.5 defenseman. Stauffer claims there will be six-to-ten teams who’ll pursue Barrie and thinks the Avs asking price could drop during the summer. For the Oilers to land Barrie without giving up a player like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Stauffer suggests a three-way deal with a club like the Anaheim Ducks. In his analysis, Staples suggests it’s not clear what’s going to happen, as the Avs could trade Barrie or re-sign him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic insists he’s not trading Barrie and will re-sign the blueliner even if he goes to arbitration. Of course, he could change his mind if it appears Barrie’s asking price is far too high or if a rival club is willing to knock his socks off with a big offer. A three-way trade is possible, but such moves are rare.
RED WINGS, FLYERS AND FLAMES
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan believes the Detroit Red Wings are top-heavy at forward, suggesting a trade for a defenseman at some points seems inevitable. “The three prime candidates are Cam Fowler of Anaheim, Kevin Shattenkirk of St. Louis and Jacob Trouba of Winnipeg.” If the Wings pursue Fowler, it could cost them a winger like Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist. Shattenkirk is eligible next summer for UFA status, which could complicate things if he wants to test the market. Khan is skeptical the Jets will trade Trouba, who’s completed an entry-level contract. He believes the cost of acquiring a good young defenseman is high.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those three, Fowler is the most likely trade candidate. However, several clubs (such as the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins) are also interested. If the Wings are willing to move Tatar or Nyquist, it could give them an advantage over the others. However, the fact the Ducks yesterday signed Mason Raymond to a two-way deal suggests they’re not optimistic about someone meeting their asking price for Fowler.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi recently claimed Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall was still working the phones to improve his roster. If Hextall could somehow land 2016 Hobey Baker Award winning winger Jimmy Vesey (eligible for UFA status on Aug. 15), it’ll be a good summer for the Flyers GM. Carchidi suggests big UFA forward Brandon Pirri could be a good addition for the right price. If he can find a taker for Matt Read’s contract, it could free up a spot for young winger Travis Konecny.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With just over $8 million in cap space and restricted free agents such as Brayden Schenn and Nick Cousins to re-sign, Hextall could be reluctant to add someone like Pirri. That’s not to suggest he won’t make another UFA signing, but after signing Dale Weise and Boyd Gordon, he’s probably not pursuing any of the notable free agents still available. I don’t see Hextall finding much interest in Read.
SPORTSNET: Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving could still be in the market for a defenseman, preferably a left-handed shot.