The NHL media rumor mill is quiet this weekend, so here’s a look at what’s been recently kicking around the hockey rumor blogosphere. Enjoy!
The Nashville Predators have had some talks with the New York Rangers regarding left wing Rick Nash.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t see the Preds being keen to take on Nash’s $7.8 million contract. We also don’t know if the Preds are on Nash’s list of preferred trade destinations. And of course, the Rangers reportedly don’t want to just give him away.
The Calgary Flames are “considering a big push” for Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman, who’s slated for salary arbitration on Aug. 4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If they are, they’d better be prepared to offer up one of their good young forwards (Sam Bennett, top prospect Matthew Tkachuk) in return. They’ll also have to ship out some salary in order to clear cap space for his new contract, as they still have young stars Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan to re-sign, which will eat up much of their current available cap payroll for 2016-17.
The Carolina Hurricanes are “mildly interested” in Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes could use some experienced depth at center, but I doubt they’re keen in taking on Filppula’s $5 million annual cap hit. We also don’t know if the ‘Canes are on his list of preferred trade destinations.
The Lightning and Dallas Stars are talking a possible swap of Ben Bishop for Antti Niemi and a prospect, with Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison and Stars center Cody Eakin also being discussed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bolts and Stars reportedly discussed Bishop during the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo last month but the talks apparently didn’t go far. The Bolts do need to shed salary and the Stars must improve in goal, but Bishop’s no-movement clause and his UFA status next summer complicates things, not to mention the fact the Lightning probably don’t want to be saddled with Niemi’s $4.5 million cap hit (provided he agrees to waive his no-trade clause) for the next two seasons.
The New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres were discussing a package deal with Nash and defenseman Dan Girardi mentioned. The Rangers could also attempt to make moves to set the stage for a trade or a potential offer sheet to Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov. In addition to the Rangers, the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes made trade inquiries about Kucherov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers only have $4.5 million in cap space and can only go over the salary cap by 10 percent in the offseason. They have no room to offer sheet Kucherov, who might not even be interested in one. I don’t doubt some teams probably called the Bolts about Kucherov’s availability, but I don’t see him being traded. We can also probably forget about a Nash and Girardi swap involving the Sabres. Both have full no-movement clauses and probably aren’t willing to waive them to go to a rebuilding club.
The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings have interest in Islanders winger “Kulimen”, the New Jersey Devils “kicked the tires” on winger Radim Vrbata, the Philadelphia Flyers are still trying to move defenseman Mark Streit and the Montreal Canadiens are “quietly making a run” at Edmonton Oilers winger Nail Yakupov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nikolai Kulemin is earning over $4.1 million per season through 2017-18. The Kings and Sharks lack the cap space to take on that contract. I can see the Devils having some interest in Vrbata, but they seem set now with their forward lines for the start of next season. The Flyers could try moving Streit, but there probably isn’t much of a market for a 38-year-old defenseman with a $5.25 million cap hit for next season. Yakupov was linked to the Canadiens last season, but with Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Radulov at right wing (Yakupov’s primary position), I doubt they’re interested in him now.
The Vancouver Canucks, Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets could be pursuing winger Jiri Hudler.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks and Blue Jackets could use some experienced depth at forward, but both have limited salary cap space. Unless Hudler’s willing to sign at a significant discount, he probably won’t be joining either club. As for the Devils, they seem set now on their forward lines with the acquisitions of Taylor Hall and Beau Bennett and the re-signing of Devante Smith-Pelly.