Updates on Rieder, Trouba & Kucherov – September 29, 2016
The latest on restricted free agents Tobias Rieder, Jacob Trouba & Nikita Kucherov in your NHL rumor mill.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports agent Darren Ferris, who represents Arizona Coyotes winger Tobias Rieder, believes it’s best for his client if he was traded. Rieder, a restricted free agent, seeks a two-year contract worth $2.5 million per season, while the Coyotes are standing firm on their two-year proposal worth $2.2 million annually. Coyotes GM John Chayka, however, claims the club won’t trade Rieder, who is currently skating for Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey. Ferris said he’ll now shift his attention to two offers from KHL clubs.
TSN: Bob McKenzie tweets Rieder faces four options. He can accept the Coyotes offer, ask for a trade, play in the KHL or withhold his services.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Being unwilling to budge on a gap of only $300K seems ridiculous. Surely there’s some middle ground here that can be reached by both parties. $2.35 million would be sensible.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox lists the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Arizona Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers as potential trade destinations for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba. He speculates blueliner Torey Krug would likely have to be part of the return from the Bruins, or perhaps a prospect such as Jakub Zboril or Charlie McAvoy, while the Wings might have to give up Danny DeKeyser.
The Coyotes have depth in young forwards to offer and Martin Hanzal is a year away from UFA status. Fox suggests the Leafs dangle defenseman Jake Gardiner with a young forward, while the Rangers could conceivably offer either Marc Staal or Dan Girardi along with Brady Skjei.
The Devils have left-handed shots in John Moore and Jon Merrill but they’d have to give up more than that to the Jets. Fox suggests Oilers blueliner Oscar Klefbom could be what the Jets seek, at least on paper.
TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos includes the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks, along with the Leafs, Bruins, Red Wings and Devils, on his list of teams that might have interest in Traikos. He feels the Jets could be looking at Sabres RFA defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, while it could cost the Canucks promising blueliner Olli Juolevi to land Trouba. He doesn’t see the Canucks doing that.
Traikos also speculates Bruins prospects Zboril or McAvoy could interest the Jets, along with perhaps goalie Malcolm Subban to provide even more depth in goal. He also suggest Gardiner from the Leafs in a package deal that also includes a lottery-protected first-round pick or a top prospect like William Nylander. From the Wings, he also thinks Danny DeKeyser would have to be part of the package, while the Devils might have to part with Pavel Zacha and perhaps goalie prospect Mackenzie Blackwood.
TSN 1200 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger reports the Red Wings discussed a trade offer for Trouba with the Jets this summer. It consisted of two of the Wings higher-level forwards, which GM Ken Holland was unwilling to stomach. Dreger also said he’d be shocked if New York Islanders GM Garth Snow didn’t discuss the possibility of swapping Travis Hamonic for Trouba months ago, though it obviously didn’t seem to come together.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets current asking price is a left-handed defenseman with comparable age, skills and experience for Trouba. That’s going to be tough to find. Of course, things can change if this drags into November and the Jets get desperate to move Trouba before the Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign him.
I don’t see the Sabres and Canucks making a pitch for Trouba. The Sabres want to get Ristolainen re-signed while the Canucks lack the assets to get him. The Coyotes have depth in good young forwards, but that doesn’t address the Jets current asking price. Forget about them offering Oliver Ekman-Larsson, that’s just not gonna happen.
I don’t see the Jets having interest in Girardi or Staal, and I doubt either guy will waive their no-trade clauses to go to Winnipeg.I think the Oilers want to keep Klefbom and don’t see them being keen to give up Nurse, so there might not be a fit there.
If the Bruins are willing to move Krug and the Wings to move DeKeyser, the Jets could listen. However, I think those clubs prefer adding Trouba without giving up another skilled d-man in return. If the Leafs offered Gardiner plus someone like Nylander, that might tempt the Jets, but I don’t see the Leafs giving up a top young prospect as part of the return, and I don’t think Gardiner on his own is enough.
Hamonic rescinded his trade request and is happy to stay with the Isles. Snow thinks quite highly of him so I doubt he’ll revisit any talk of swapping Hamonic for Trouba.
TSN 690 (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Bob McKenzie suggests Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov could present a golden opportunity for a rival club to sign the restricted free agent to an offer sheet. Matching it would create a significant salary-cap headache for the Lightning. They must also re-sign forward Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat next summer, as they’ll also be RFAs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: First, Kucherov must be willing to entertain offer sheets from rival clubs. If he’s not, then it’s a waste of time. If he is, however, there really aren’t many teams that could afford a massive offer to him. Only eight teams (Calgary, Anaheim, Buffalo, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Florida, New Jersey and Carolina) have over $7 million in cap room for the upcoming season.
Calgary, Anaheim and Buffalo have significant RFA stars of their own to re-sign, so rule them out. Edmonton, Winnipeg and Florida have depth in star wingers and thus no reason to pursue Kucherov. The Devils could certainly use Kucherov, but defense seems more of a concern. The Hurricanes definitely need scoring depth, but their main area of concern is at center, not on the wings. So I don’t see anyone pitching an offer sheet to Kucherov.