NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2016
A look at several NHL offseason storylines that must be addressed, and how the Rangers signing of Brandon Pirri could affect a possible Rick Nash trade.
USA TODAY: Hampus LIndholm’s contract negotiations with the Anaheim Ducks, Jacob Trouba’s future with the Winnipeg Jets and available unrestricted free agents were among Kevin Allen’s list of five NHL storylines that still need to be addressed.
Once the Ducks re-sign Lindholm, they’re expected to trade another defenseman, They will have eight under one-way contracts and promising Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour waiting in the wings. Allen notes Cam Fowler’s name has come up in trade chatter. He notes the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers are among several clubs in need of blueline help.
Allen notes Trouba’s role with the Jets is as much as factor as how much to pay him. If a contract agreement can’t be reached, “multiple teams” are interested in acquiring him.
Kris Russell, Patrik Elias, Kyle Quincey, Dominic Moore and Dennis Seidenberg are among the notables still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it’s not a certainty the Ducks will trade Fowler, he seems the most likely trade candidate. They recently re-signed Sami Vatanen to a multi-year deal and obviously won’t part with Lindholm. Kevin Bieksa is now well past his prime, while Simon Despres and Clayton Stoner don’t have the trade value of Fowler, who could fetch them a scoring left winger.
Because Trouba’s coming off an entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights, I expect he’ll be re-signed by the Jets to a short-term bridge deal. At this point, I doubt he’ll get an offer sheet. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff made it clear he’ll match any offer.
Of the available UFAs, Russell, Quincey and Moore probably have the best value. Elias will likely be re-signed by the Devils if he’s fully recovered from his knee surgery. Seidenberg hasn’t been the same since suffering a knee injury a few years ago.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports the Rangers signing UFA forward Brandon Pirri doesn’t mean a trade is imminent. “At this point in the summer, the market has hardly changed from where it was a few weeks ago. So, no, Rick Nash and his $7.8 million annual cap hit haven’t been flipped yet – and he likely won’t be before the Blueshirts show up to training camp in about a month.” However, he believes GM Jeff Gorton isn’t done dealing, noting there are still questions about their defense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Throughout the summer, there was talk of the Rangers shipping Nash to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. However, I don’t believe the Blues are interested in that move, mainly because they’re already deep on the wings. The Rangers could go after Anaheim’s Cam Fowler, but they’d have to pick up part of Nash’s salary, provided the Ducks are on his list of preferred trade destinations.
Gorten’s done a commendable job stocking up at forward this summer, but addressing his defense (especially with Dan Girardi and Marc Staal taking up a combined $11.2 million of salary-cap payroll) won’t be easy.