Updated list of remaining UFAs plus latest on the Oilers, Red Wings, Bruins and Jimmy Vesey in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
UPDATED NHL UFA LIST.
TSN: Kris Russell, Jiri Hudler, Luke Schenn, Justin Schultz, Sam Gagner, Radim Vrbata, James Wisniewski, Kris Versteeg, Brandon Pirri and Alex Tanguay are among the notable players still remaining in the NHL free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The UFA pool is getting shallower, which could perhaps lead to some trade activity later this month. College star left wing Jimmy Vesey tops the list, but he’s not available until Aug. 15. The list also includes winger Teddy Purcell, but he reportedly signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract on Friday with the LA Kings.
LATEST ON THE OILERS AND WINGS.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers aren’t done looking to improve their blueline. “Until Colorado Avs defenceman Tyson Barrie and Avs hockey boss Patrick Roy both declare all is well between them it’s evident that Edmonton will continue to seek a trade for Barrie.” However, he doesn’t believe they’ll pursue him at any price. Staples also feels they could target the Anaheim Ducks, who have a surplus of young blueliners and a need to bolster their offense. Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said he’s good to go with his current defense corps.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche GM Joe Sakic maintains the only place Barrie is headed to is salary arbitration. Unless Chiarelli is targeting someone who hasn’t popped up in the rumor mill (as he did with his acquisition of Adam Larsson), the best place to find what the Oilers seek appears to be Anaheim. However, that could also turn out to be an expensive undertaking.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports the Red Wings remain on the hunt for a defenseman outside the free-agent market. She notes there’s been trade chatter regarding Anaheim Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler, speculating it could take Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist and a high second-round pick to land him. “St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk is better on the power play than Fowler, but Shattenkirk is unrestricted next summer and he’ll command in the $6-7 million range. Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba is 6-foot-3 and shoots right, which is why the Jets want to keep him.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I said several days ago it could cost the Wings Tatar or Nyquist if they hope to pry Fowler out of Anaheim. It’s sounding like the Blues will retain Shattenkirk for at least the start of 2016-17. I doubt the Jets intend to trade away Trouba.
UPDATES ON THE BRUINS AND JIMMY VESEY.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports a league sources claims the Boston Bruins are “kicking the tires” on free-agent defenseman Kris Russell. He also reports there’s an expectation the Bruins “will dangle either David Krejci or Ryan Spooner to get some defensemen help over the next few weeks.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci has a full no-movement clause, a $7.25 million annual cap hit through 2020-21 and an injury history. He won’t be the most desirable trade bait for the Bruins. The 24-year-old Spooner, who netted 49 points last season, is more affordable, but on his own he might not be enough to land a quality blueliner. Depending on who they’re chasing, the Bruins could be squeezed to add a first- or second-round draft pick or a promising prospect in the deal.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports pending UFA college prospect left winger Jimmy Vesey still intends to test the free-agent market on August 15. The Buffalo Sabres acquired Vesey’s NHL rights from the Nashville Predators but have been unsuccessful thus far in attempts to sign him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vesey’s critics consider him a spoiled brat for taking this stance. What he’s actually doing is using free agency to his advantage just like every other player. It’s a rare opportunity for a promising young prospect to sign wherever he wants, rather than having no control over where he begins his NHL career. Remember, it’s not about money, as he’s going to get an entry-level contract regardless of where he signs. It’s about joining the team he believes is the best fit.