NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2016
Updates on Ben Bishop and Jacob Trouba in your NHL rumor mill.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis reports Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was surprised this past June to learn the Calgary Flames opted to acquire Brian Elliott from the St. Louis Blues. The move came a few days after he was granted permission by Lightning management to talk contract with the Flames.
Bishop said it wasn’t a case of not coming to terms with the Flames, but assumed they felt acquiring Elliott was a better deal for them. Bishop is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency and it’s doubtful the Lightning can afford to re-sign him. Bishop declined to say if the Flames were the only team he spoke to.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears the Lightning were prepared to move Bishop if the right deal could be found and if Bishop could get a contract extension from his potential new team. He has a no-movement clause, but it’s apparent he could waive it for the right club and the right contract.
The Bolts could keep Bishop for the entire 2016-17 season in hopes he’ll help them win the Stanley Cup, then try trading him before the expansion draft. However, additional roster needs could come up that force the Lightning to put him on the trade block before then. Bishop will likely remain a frequent subject of trade chatter this season.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Paul Wiecek reports Winnipeg Jets restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba has no doubt he’ll be in the club’s starting lineup for their season opener next month. Because Trouba’s playing for Team North America in the World Cup of Hockey, he told the Jets and his agent he didn’t want to have contract discussions during the tournament. It’ll be the end of this month before he will consider signing a new contract, as he prefers to have his focus on the World Cup.
Trouba wouldn’t discuss term or dollars. While there was a report last December claiming he sought $7 million annually over eight years, Wiecek suggests his new deal could fall into the dollar range between Pittsburgh’s Olli Maatta’s $4.1 million per season over six years or Calgary’s Dougie Hamilton’s $5.75 million per over six seasons. While Trouba’s offensive numbers declined, analytics experts point to improvement in his defensive game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trouba sounds confident of re-signing before the start of the upcoming season. If we take him at his word, perhaps the concern over his contract discussions has been overblown. Time will tell. Until then, what he’ll eventually get for a deal will remain a hot topic for speculation by Jets fans.