NHL Rumor Mill – August 17, 2016
In today’s NHL rumor mill, the latest on the Red Wings and Islanders plus updates on the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes.
LATEST ON THE RED WINGS
MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan reported Tomas Jurco, Teemu Pulkkinen, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar are all coming back to the Detroit Red Wings for the upcoming season. “The question is whether any of them will be traded during the season in a package for a top-three defenseman,” writes Khan. He considers Tatar as their best trade chip, but believes moving him would sacrifice a good chunk of their offense. The combination of Nyquist’s contract ($4.75 million annually through 2018-19) and dip in production last season hurts his trade value.
Khan also suggested defenseman Brendan Smith faces a critical season. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. If the Wings feel he hasn’t significantly improved, they could try moving him at the Feb. 28 trade deadline rather than lose him for nothing to the UFA market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wings general manager Ken Holland suggested his search for a top-three defenseman could stretch into training camp. There’s a good possibility it could carry through into the upcoming season. I agree Tatar is their best trade chip, but it’s doubtful on his own he’ll attract that blueliner the Wings need. Holland could be forced to package a top prospect into the deal.
I realize some will point to the Edmonton Oilers giving up Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson to suggest otherwise, but that’s not a comparable. I don’t see a team like the Anaheim Ducks being so desperate to add a left winger than they’ll part with Cam Fowler for Tatar straight up.
COULD THE ISLANDERS SHOP HALAK?
NHL.COM’S Brian Compton recently responded to a reader’s question about the New York Islanders shopping goalie Jaroslav Halak this summer. While the reader didn’t see a landing spot for Halak, Compton still doesn’t rule it out during the World Cup of Hockey and training camp. He considers Thomas Greiss and J-F Berube the Isles’ preferred tandem.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Compton suggested, a lot can happen during that period. Still, moving Halak won’t be easy. He’s under contract through 2017-18 at $4.75 million per and has a lengthy injury history.
UPDATE ON THE VESEY SWEEPSTAKES
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports multiple sources claim unrestricted free agent and 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey met yesterday in Boston with representatives from the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins. Today, they’re expected to meet with reps from the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins.
Red Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin said Vesey told them he’d prefer playing closer to home. Harrington suggests that could be bad news for the Blackhawks.
The 23-year-old left wing is expected to reach a decision on Friday. The Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings made inquiries but none of them are expected to be contenders for his services.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Vesey wants to play closer to home, it could also be bad news for the Penguins, Sabres and Maple Leafs, though the latter has ties with his father and brother. Hopefully Vesey will reach a decision by week’s end and not drag this out any longer than necessary.