NHL Rumor Mill – October 29, 2016
Updates on Jacob Trouba, James van Riemsdyk and the Detroit Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe reports Kurt Overhardt, the agent for Winnipeg Jets restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba, maintains nothing’s changed for his camp since issuing a trade request over a month ago. The 22-year-old blueliner is the last of the high-profile free agents without a contract. While the Jets publicly say Trouba’s situation isn’t a distraction, Wiebe believe it could become one the longer he goes unsigned.
It’s believed Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has set a high asking price for Trouba in the trade market. Wiebe points out there aren’t many top-end contenders with the cap space to sign the rearguard, speculating it could cost up to $5.5 million annually unless he’s willing to accept a cheaper short-term bridge contract. If the Jets refuse to budge, Wiebe doesn’t rule out Trouba returning on a one-year contract in late-November, before the Dec. 1 deadline for re-signing RFAs.
TSN: Gary Lawless reports Overhardt insists it’s his client’s usage, not money, behind the trade request. The agent claims several clubs are interested in Trouba and are willing to work with the Jets. Lawless suggests Trouba is potentially alienating the fan bases of Canadian teams with his rumored preference of being moved to an American team. If Trouba wants to prove himself as a top-four defenseman on the right side of the blueline, Lawless believes returning to the Jets is the best way to do it. He feels Cheveldayoff values Trouba and wants him to remain in a Jets uniform.
Lawless’ colleague Bob McKenzie (via Today’s Slapshot) doesn’t believe the Jets are proactively shopping Trouba. He doesn’t doubt they’re getting calls and have an idea of what’s being offered for the blueliner.
Darren Dreger, meanwhile, believes the Toronto Maple Leafs could have limited interest in Trouba, as they probably know what the asking price is. He speculates it could be Morgan Reilly and perhaps something else. Dreger also points out Trouba probably doesn’t see Canadian teams as a fit.
In an Oct. 27 interview, Dreger also said he wouldn’t say if Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk is in play, adding he hasn’t heard his name being shopped by the Leafs.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan responded to questions from his readers regarding Trouba and the Detroit Red Wings. While Khan believes the Wings could use Trouba on their blueline, he doubts they can put together a package to tempt the Jets, pointing out Winnipeg wants a defenseman in return. Khan also points out the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers are rumored to be interested in the Jets defender.
Khan also addressed the possible availability of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler. While the Ducks hope to retain him this season, Khan suggests that might change if the Ducks struggle. While the Wings like Fowler, he said they don’t view him as a top-pair blueliner and thus won’t pay a premium for him. Khan also notes the Wings limited cap space means they’ll have to shed salary to take on Fowler’s $4 million cap hit.
ESPN.COM: With some goalies around the league struggling, Craig Custance wonders whether the Wings are getting calls about Jimmy Howard, who’s off to a good start this season. GM Ken Holland claims he hasn’t really received any calls about anything right now, pointing out it’s still early in this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, don’t expect any movement on the Trouba standoff one way or the other until we get closer to that Dec. 1 deadline. The Jets performance by late-November could also become a factor. I currently doubt any clubs with interest in Trouba are willing to meet the rumored asking price of a left-handed blueliner of comparable age, skills and abilities. If the Trouba camp has ruled out Canadian teams as potential trade destinations, forget about the Leafs pitching an offer. The last thing they need is a player who doesn’t want to be there.
If the Wings strong start carries over throughout November, they’ll be under no pressure to get into the bidding for expensive blueliners such as Trouba or Fowler. They also won’t be in a rush to move Howard.