NHL Rumor Mill – October 12, 2016
Updates on Jacob Trouba, Hampus Lindholm, Marc-Andre Fleury and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: In his “31 bold predictions for 2016-17”, Frank Seravalli predicts the Boston Bruins will step up with the biggest offer for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, who recently requested a trade. However, he speculates it could come down to the Dec. 1 deadline for re-signing free agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins definitely could use Trouba, and they have depth in draft picks and prospects to offer up. However, the Jets right now reportedly seek a left-handed defenseman of comparable age, skill and experience to Trouba. Torey Krug comes closest to matching that description, but the Jets might want a promising young forward such as David Pastrnak or Ryan Spooner as part of the deal. If the Trouba standoff drags on into November, however, the Jets could lower their asking price, which could prove favorable for the Bruins.
If right wing Evander Kane’s play doesn’t improve this season, the Buffalo Sabres will have a hard time finding anyone willing to take him off their hands.
Seravalli predicts Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella won’t survive the first month of the season, expecting the Jackets to nosedive in the standings.
The Dallas Stars lack of confidence in their current goalie tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi could force GM Jim Nill into the trade market. While Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop seems an obvious choice, one of the Winnipeg Jets’ inexpensive young goalies would make more salary-cap sense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only goalie the Jets likely want to move is Ondrej Pavelec, who was demoted to their AHL affiliate. I don’t see them parting with Michael Hutchinson or Connor Hellebuyck this season.
Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury won’t relinquish the starting role again this season, putting the Penguins expansion plans regarding their goaltending situation on hold until after the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend upon Fleury’s performance as well as Matt Murray’s, the team’s overall play and whatever roster needs might arise.
The Jets will be forced to part with either Michael Hutchinson or Connor Hellebuyck via trade or the expansion draft in June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Then again, they can swing a deal with Las Vegas to ensure neither goalie gets selected before the expansion draft, perhaps by offering up a draft pick or a prospect.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports the Anaheim Ducks were unable to re-sign restricted free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm and forward Rickard Rakell before the start of the regular season. The agents for both players claim there hasn’t been any progress and they’re not any closer to new deals.
Stephens speculates the Ducks prefer re-signing Lindholm to a deal comparable to the six-year, $32.4 million contract inked yesterday by Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen. The Lindholm camp, however, initially sought something approaching the eight-year, $60 million contract of Florida’s Aaron Ekblad. The Ducks have $7.5 million in salary-cap space and prefer getting the duo under contract without having to shed an additional contract to make room for their new deals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears the Ducks are at an impasse with LIndholm and Rakell. However, signings could happen quickly if both players decide they don’t want to miss any playing time this season. If the Ducks succeed in getting Lindholm signed to a $5.4 million annual cap hit, that won’t leave much room for a suitable raise for Rakell. They’ll likely have to shed salary, and blueliner Cam Fowler and his $4 million annual cap hit remains the most likely trade candidate.