NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2016
Updates on the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators, plus the latest on Kris Russell.
CSN CHICAGO: Tracey Myers recently field questions on the Chicago Blackhawks from her readers. She noted the Blackhawks have about $2.4 million in salary-cap space. While she won’t deny the possibility of them making another roster addition before the start of the season, she’ll be surprised if they do.
She feels backup Scott Darling has starter potential but isn’t there yet. Myers never thought the Blackhawks would trade starting goalie Corey Crawford this summer, pointing to his strong play and favorable contract compared to other notable NHL starters.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks will look to within during training camp to find a replacement for forward Andrew Shaw, who was dealt this summer to the Montreal Canadiens. If that doesn’t work, perhaps they’ll look for an affordable forward via trade or free agency. Forget about them trading Crawford. He’s backstopped them to two Stanley Cup titles in four years and played well last season.
TSN.CA: Frank Seravalli reports player agent Allain Roy, who represents unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell, says he’s in conversations with eight teams and believes a deal for his client is likely before the conclusion of the World Cup of Hockey. Seravalli claims a handful of teams are waiting to see if the Anaheim Ducks move a defenseman after they re-sign restricted free agent blueliner Hampus Lindholm. Russell could be a good Plan B option.
Seravalli also said the Russell camp and his former team, the Calgary Flames, are believed interested in a deal, but it would require moving blueliner Dennis Wideman and that could mean absorbing half of Wideman’s $5.25 million cap hit. His contract expires next summer. Much will depend upon the cost of re-signing rising star forward Johnny Gaudreau.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I recently suggested Russell could be an option for teams hopping to pry Cam Fowler away from the Ducks after they re-sign Lindholm. As for the Flames moving Wideman to clear cap room for Russell, that might not be easy. There was talk prior to his suspension last season that some teams had interest in him. That may have changed now. Wideman also has to waive his no-movement clause. Picking up part of his cap hit for this season (the last in his contract) might be the best way to do so.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion might not be done tinkering with his roster. Garrioch said Dorion had been “kicking tires on signing another free-agent forward and repeated he may also bring in a free-agent defenceman on a professional tryout (PTO) or, perhaps, even sign one to a contract.” The Sens GM has inquired about UFA blueliners Kris Russell and Dennis Seidenberg, but it’s believed they’d prefer contracts rather than professional tryout offers. Going the PTO route might be less risky for Dorion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dorion could also keep an eye on those players who’ve signed PTOs with other clubs. Someone like James Wisniewski, who’s on a PTO with the Tampa Bay Lightning, might interest him.