Latest on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.
QUESTIONS FOR THE LEAFS
TSN.CA: Kristen Shilton lists five questions facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in August. Regarding oft-injured winger Joffrey Lupul, she wonders if they’ll ride out the remaining two years of his contract, package him in a trade, buy him out or attempt to put him on LTIR. She speculates sticking with Lupul could be their best option.
There’s been nothing new to report regarding talk last week the Leafs were finalizing contract talks with unrestricted free agent goaltender Jhonas Enroth. If talks stalled because of last week’s report, they could pick them up again soon or perhaps they’re looking at another option.
Shilton notes the Leafs are among the clubs linked to left wing prospect and pending UFA Jimmy Vesey, reports they are still believed somewhat interested in UFA defenseman Kris Russell and wonders if the club might buy out a veteran such as Brooks Laich or Milan Michalek to free up additional salary-cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t dismiss the possibility they could find a trade partner for Lupul. Over the last couple of years, the Leafs managed to ship out players with hefty contracts deemed untradeable. However, his injury history is a significant stumbling block. Rival teams will want to see how he performs this season before taking a chance on him. If Lupul can stay healthy and productive, perhaps a rival club chasing a playoff berth could be interested. Lupul is reportedly healthy and keen to return to action, so I doubt the Leafs will bury him in the minors or put him on injured reserve for the season and tell him not to report. They got away with that with Stephane Robidas, but I doubt Lupul will be as accommodating.
As for Enroth, that could be something that gets announced any day, or it could turn out to be erroneous. We’ll just have to wait and see. At this time of year, getting info from a team’s management isn’t easy. Now that all this summer’s arbitration cases are settled, we can expect the Vesey speculation to increase between now and Aug. 15. Recent reports claim the Leafs made no offers to Russell and have no interest in him.
UPDATE ON THE RED WINGS.
MLIVE.COM: Brendan Savage recently noted Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s wish to add a top-four defenseman, but wonders if the Wings have the assets to land that blueliner. He points out Holland wants to give the Wings younger players, such as Dylan Larkin, Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek, Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha and prospects Tyler Bertuzzi, Evgeny Svechnikov and Tomas Nosek, time to develop. The Wings GM said his search could stretch into training camp or up until next season’s trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have the assets to land a top-four defenseman, but I don’t think Holland is keen to sacrifice his future. Earlier this summer, it was claimed the St. Louis Blues set Dylan Larkin as part of their asking price for Kevin Shattenkirk. Holland won’t give up Larkin for love or money. I think the Wings GM will be patient and see how things develop during training camp or throughout the season. More blueliners could become available, or perhaps a team willing to part with a top-four defenseman could lower the asking price, especially if that player is eligible next summer for UFA status.