A collection of recent trade and free-agent speculation on the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton recently speculated over possible trade options for Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning in his search for a proven scoring winger. He suggested Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar, Columbus’ Scott Hartnell, Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz and Buffalo’s Evander Kane. Landing Nyquist or Tatar could require giving up a defenseman.
There’s been trade rumblings about Canucks blueliner Alex Edler, but his $5 million annual cap hit could be a problem for the Red Wings, while losing him could be an issue for the Canucks. Hartnell’s $4.75 million cap hit could be a tight fit for Vancouver, who have less than $3.5 million in cap space. The 36-year-old Kunitz likely doesn’t have many impactful seasons remaining, while Kane’s off-ice issues could be a concern for the Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of Clinton’s suggestions, the only one I think could work is Hartnell, provided he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause to go to Vancouver.
VANCOUVER SUN: Jason Botchford wonders if the Canucks should trade defenseman Chris Tanev, who has strong defensive numbers but doesn’t offer up much offensive production. Botchford believes such a move depends upon the return, citing the Edmonton Oilers giving up left wing Taylor Hall to acquire second-pairing defenseman Adam Larsson. He considers Tanev better than Larsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Benning could get a player the caliber of Hall in exchange for Tanev, he’d make that trade in a heartbeat. Just because Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli made that move, however, doesn’t necessarily mean other GMs in need of a blueliner like Tanev will do the same thing. Sure, it’s possible, but I’d say the odds are long right now. Maybe next June, if a rival club wants to move out a scoring forward they risk losing for nothing to the expansion draft.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons recently reported the Maple Leafs, contrary to speculation earlier this month, made no offer to unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell and have no interest in him. Simmons also claims there’s a belief the Leafs won’t have to protect Nathan Horton in next year’s NHL expansion draft. While Horton carries a no-movement clause, players on long-term injured reserve probably won’t be protected or be selected.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the theory the Leafs might be able to shed Horton’s contract by leaving him exposed in the expansion draft.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston recently reported the Leafs will get a draft pick from the Anaheim Ducks in the Jonathan Bernier trade only if the Ducks reach the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Bernier would also have to start 50 percent of the games in the Cup Final.