NHL Rumor Mill – October 22, 2016
Possible goaltending trade candidates plus updates on Jacob Trouba, Cam Fowler and more in your NHL rumor mill.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis speculates the Los Angeles Kings and New York Islanders could make moves to address their goaltending. Kings starter Jonathan Quick is sidelined up to three months, leaving backup Jeff Zatkoff and Peter Budaj to carry the load. The Isles are carrying three goalies and Cyrgalis wonders if Kings GM Dean Lombardi will make a pitch to acquire J-F Berube, who was claimed off waivers from the Kings by the Islanders last year.
Cyrgalis also notes the Pittsburgh Penguins will have to decide between recently re-signed netminder Matt Murray and long-time starter Marc-Andre Fleury before next June’s NHL expansion draft. They can only protect one of them.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance wonders if teams with injured starting goalies, such as the Kings and Arizona Coyotes, might turn to former Winnipeg Jets starter Ondrej Pavelec, who’s currently toiling in the minors. Custance cites sources claiming the Jets are getting tire-kicking inquiries about Pavelec, though those clubs might prefer if the Jets pick up half of his $3.9 million cap hit. Custance reports a source said the Coyotes aren’t in the goalie market as they’re hopeful Mike Smith’s recent leg injury isn’t serious.
TSN.CA: Pierre LeBrun wonders if the Kings could be interested in Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Mike Condon, who could be placed on waivers once Matt Murray returns to active duty.
He also breaks down the options for the Penguins over what to do with Fleury before next June’s expansion draft. They could trade Fleury with his consent to a desired team before the March 1 trade deadline or prior to the expansion draft, ask him to waive his no-movement clause to become available in the expansion draft, buy out his contract and make him a free agent, thus allowing them to protect Murray, or swing a side deal with Las Vegas to ensure Murray isn’t selected if left unprotected.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings and Coyotes appear willing for now to see how things pan out with their respective goaltending situations. However, if Zatkoff and Budaj struggle for the Kings and if Smith is out longer than expected for the Coyotes, those clubs could be forced to dive into the goalie market. Condon would be an affordable option for either club, especially if he hits the waiver wire. As for the Penguins, I expect they’ll wait until June to decide what to do with Fleury.
TSN.CA: Pierre LeBrun reports the standoff continues between the Winnipeg Jets and restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba, who is withholding his services and currently back home in Michigan awaiting a trade. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s asking price is a young, top-four, left-handed defenseman. He also has the full support of Jets’ ownership.
Regarding Anaheim Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler, teams continue to inquire into his availability. While it’s assumed the Ducks could trade Fowler and his $4 million cap hit to clear cap space to re-sign restricted free agent Hampus Lindholm, that’s still not a certainty. Among their options to free up cap room in the short term could be placing someone like Simon Despres ($3.75 million cap hit) on LTIR if he remains sidelined.
ESPN.COM: Replying to a reader’s question, Craig Custance doubts the Detroit Red Wings can land Trouba, suggesting Anaheim Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler as a better option. The challenge for the Ducks and Wings in such a deal is money, as both clubs are squeezed for cap space. Fowler’s annual cap hit is $4 million.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty doesn’t see the Boston Bruins as a fit for Trouba. He also doubts the Bruins can land Fowler, as it doesn’t seem like the Ducks will move him in-season to a team with playoff hopes of their own.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s safe to assume the Lindholm/Fowler situation is sorted out before the Trouba-Jets standoff. If Despres goes on LTIR, I expect the Lindholm re-signing will quickly follow. That could be only a short-term solution for the Ducks, as they’ll have to clear cap space when Despres and sidelined forward Nate Thompson ($1.6 million) are ready to return to action.
STLTODAY.COM: Responding to questions from his readers, Jeremy Rutherford speculates the St. Louis Blues could attempt to re-sign forward Patrik Berglund rather than lose him to free agency for nothing. He also said the Blues prefer to retain defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, but not if it costs $6 million annually, especially with Colton Parayko in the lineup and Jordan Schmaltz on the horizon.