NHL Rumor Mill – October 28, 2016
Updates on Cam Fowler, Jacob Trouba, Ryan Murphy, Mike Condon and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks re-signing defenseman Hampus Lindholm puts to rest the Cam Fowler trade rumors, at least for this season. That’s because concussed blueliner Simon Despres ($3.75 million) is on long-term injury reserve and could be sidelined for most of this season.
Ducks GM Bob Murray seemed to hint that the concussion issues aren’t the only ones at play right now, calling it a sensitive issue. Murray intends to push for a Stanley Cup run this season with his current group.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s comments regarding Despres’ status seem cryptic. Either his concussion injury is more serious than originally believed or there’s other issues at work here. For now, with Despres and Thompson on LTIR and Shea Theodore, Jacob Larsson and Emerson Etem buried in the minors, the Ducks have just enough room for Lindholm’s new contract.
Darren Dreger reports it’s believed the Winnipeg Jets are willing to offer restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba a six-year deal worth $5.5 million per season. The Trouba camp, however, maintains it’s not about money but where he fits on the Jets blueline. Dreger also reports a couple of general managers told him there has been “Canadian interest directed at Winnipeg”, but Trouba apparently doesn’t see a fit in Canada.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the “Trouba to the Leafs” chatter I’ve seen in recent weeks in the comments section…;)
Dreger also reports Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy could become trade bait. He only needs less than 40 NHL games to qualify for exposure in the expansion draft. He speculates Hurricanes GM Ron Francis could try to move Murphy, a young right-handed blueliner, before that.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy, 23, had considerable promise as a puck-moving blueliner but he’s been hampered by injuries. Indeed, he’s currently on IR with a lower-body injury. Considering their depth in young rearguards (notably Jaccob Slavin and Noah Hanifin), the Hurricanes can afford to move Murphy. Given his injury history, however, they probably won’t get much of a return.
Bob McKenzie reports it’s Peter Budaj or bust for the Los Angeles Kings, who have starter Jonathan Quick sidelined up to three months and backup Jeff Zatkoff on the shelf for a week. They signed Anders Lindback to a PTO, but he can only play in the AHL. McKenzie speculates the Kings might be interested in Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Mike Condon if he’s exposed to waivers, but Penguins GM Jim Rutherford prefers to hang onto him for added depth between the pipes. He could be willing to trade Condon, but not put him on waivers.
LeBrun reports the Las Vegas expansion franchise will have a 48-hour window ahead of the expansion draft to speak to any restricted or unrestricted free agents left unprotected by the other 30 NHL teams. If any of those teams lose a pending free agent to Las Vegas during that period, they cannot lose another player in the expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it seems unlikely the Las Vegas franchise would draft players eligible for UFA status, being able to talk with potential targets first gives them an opportunity to woo one of them into signing if selected in the expansion draft. That should add an interesting bit of intrigue into next June’s expansion draft and the UFA market.
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen reports the Ducks remain thin at forward, speculating over defenseman they should trade to address this need. While the recently re-signed Hampus Lindholm would fetch the best return, Boylen considers it unlikely that he’ll be moved. Sami Vatanen is under a good cap hit, signed through 2020-21 at $4.875 million per season and could be a good trade candidate. Boylen considers Cam Fowler the least valuable of the trio, but his skill set still makes him valuable in today’s NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it now appears unlikely the Ducks will move one of those defensemen, we can’t dismiss the possibility. That lack of scoring punch at forward, especially at left wing, is a concern. If the Ducks are in danger of falling out of playoff contention before the March 1 trade deadline, they could be forced to shop a blueliner for a scoring winger.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Detroit Red Wings need a defenseman and have their sights set on Anaheim’s Cam Fowler. Ideally, the Ducks prefer moving Clayton Stoner but no one wants his $3.25 million annual cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Buffalo Sabres were also reportedly quite keen on Fowler. For now, it doesn’t appear that he’ll be going anywhere.