Rumors from the Blogosphere – September 6, 2016
The Labor Day long weekend didn’t generate many NHL trade & free agent rumors from the media, so here’s a look at what’s been kicking around the blogosphere for the past week. Enjoy!
HOCKEY BUZZ: Eklund claims unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell could be close to signing with a team. He’s hearing the Calgary Flames are a possible destination, while the Dallas Stars, Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils are also in the mix.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also speculated last week that Russell could return to the Flames, but doesn’t see a fit there unless they free up some salary-cap space. Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News recently dismissed the notion of Russell returning to the Stars (“that ship has sailed”). As for the Sens and Devils, I think they’ll evaluate their rosters during training camp before deciding if they need another defenseman.
He also claims the Devils are in on St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and Anaheim Ducks rearguard Cam Fowler, as well as UFA d-man Dennis Seidenberg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think if the Blues were keen to move Shattenkirk in the offseason, they would’ve done so by now. GM Doug Armstrong last month indicated he expects Shattenkirk to be in the Blues lineup when the season begins. As for Fowler, the Ducks need a scoring left winger. Unless they’re willing to accept oft-injured and expensive veteran winger Mike Cammalleri, I don’t see a fit there.
Eklund also adds the Buffalo Sabres continue to have some interest in Stars restricted free agent winger Valeri Nichushkin. The Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks also want to be kept in the loop if Nichushkin’s contract talks with the Stars breaks down.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars GM Jim Nill recently said he expects to have Nichushkin re-signed and is looking forward to seeing the young winger improve this season. If that improvement fails to materialize, perhaps Nill shops Nichushkin at the trade deadline. I doubt that happens now.
THE HOCKEY PRESS: The Vancouver Canucks could be interested Arizona Coyotes forwards Tobias Rieder or Martin Hanzal. The Canadiens also have interest in Hanzal and could shop center Tomas Plekanec.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Word out of Arizona is the Coyotes have no intention of moving Rieder or Hanzal. If the Habs were interested in the often-sidelined Hanzal, I doubt they’ll part with the healthier and more consistent Plekanec.
The Edmonton Oilers are still shopping winger Nail Yakupov and were in contact with the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes. Center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is also receiving interest. If the Oilers struggle this season, winger Jordan Eberle could also be moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers and Hurricanes have depth in defensemen, which could make them attractive trade targets for the Oilers. I don’t see Nugent-Hopkins moving right now. I expect they’ll keep him for the upcoming season and see how he performs on the third line.
If the Tampa Bay Lightning trade Ben Bishop to a team like the Dallas Stars, they could also try including center Valtteri Filppula into the deal in hopes of landing Patrick Sharp. They could then try to re-sign Sharp, a UFA next summer, to a short-term deal as a “Plan B” if for some reason RFA Nikita Kucherov doesn’t re-sign this year or Jonathan Drouin leaves next year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov will be re-signed and Drouin won’t leave next year unless the Bolts decide to trade him. I don’t see Sharp fitting into the Bolts plans. In addition to Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat must be re-signed next summer.
“Sources confirm” the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues sought winger Chris Kreider in “Fowler/Shattenkirk deals” but the Rangers aren’t willing to move him. The Rangers wish to move Rick Nash, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, with the Leafs interested in Girardi.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Leafs pursuing Girardi. He’s a fading asset and wouldn’t be a good fit in the rebuilding Leafs long-term plans.