NHL Rumor Roundup – October 26, 2016
Latest on Ben Bishop, Dougie Hamilton and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN.CA: Pierre LeBrun reports Tampa Bay Lightning starting goalie Ben Bishop still faces an uncertain future. With Bishop eligible for UFA status next summer and an expansion draft in June, LeBrun believes GM Steve Yzerman faces three options. He could trade Bishop at the March 1 trade deadline if he gets a suitable offer. He could retain Bishop for another run at the Stanley Cup this season and then let him walk via free agency on July 1. He could still attempt to re-sign Bishop if he carries the Bolts to a Cup championship next spring.
LeBrun noted Bishop thought he was going to be traded last June to the Calgary Flames before that club opted instead to acquire Brian Elliott from the St. Louis Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Lightning fall out of playoff contention by the trade deadline (and I don’t see that happening), I believe Yzerman will retain Bishop for one last run at the Stanley Cup. For his part, Bishop doesn’t seem to be too worried about his status. He’s not pressuring Yzerman to reach a decision and seems willing to let the season play out. Yzerman could swing a deal to ship Bishop’s rights to another club before the expansion draft in June.
TODAY’S SLAPSHOT’s Chris Nichols recently cited TSN’s Pierre LeBrun commenting on a rumor claiming the Calgary Flames were shopping defenseman Dougie Hamilton. While LeBrun said he doesn’t think Hamilton is on the block, he said he knows at least one team inquired into the blueliner’s availability.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Hamilton’s staying put. Doesn’t mean teams can’t inquire but the Flames still see him as a significant member of their defense corps.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman said there’s conflicting reports regarding how seriously the Winnipeg Jets spoke with the Los Angeles Kings regardling goalie Ondrej Pavelec. Some sources say the Jets want to be rid of Pavelec’s contract ($3.9 million cap hit), while others claim they wish to retain him as insurance. So far, the Jets have given up 19 goals in their first five games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets sent Pavelec to the minors and began the season with Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson. If that duo doesn’t improve soon, don’t be surprised if Pavelec returns to the Jets lineup.
Prior to the Kings signing Anders Lindback to a tryout contract, Friedman claims they made an exhaustive search around the league to bolster their goaltending. Along with Pavelec, Philadelphia’s Steve Mason and Florida’s Reto Berra were among their considerations. Mason’s $4.1 million cap hit isn’t a fit for the cap-strapped Kings. Berra is a better financial fit, but the Kings didn’t see him as an upgrade.
Friedman also repeated his suggestion the Kings attempt to pry Jonathan Bernier away from the Anaheim Ducks, noting the latter needs to shed cap space and Bernier’s cap hit is $4.15 million. He admits it’ll take a lot of creativity and willingness for the two rivals to work out a deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Mason’s $4.1 million is a no-go for the Kings, so is Bernier’s $4.15 million and Pavelec’s $3.9 million. I don’t see any of those three landing with the Kings.
Nothing new to report on the standoff between the Jets and restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba. Some teams have tried to be creative but Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t moving off his asking price. It’s believed he wants an elite young player with term on his contract.
No truth to a rumor the league would allow players carrying both partial no-trade clauses and full no-movement clauses in their contracts to be exposed in next June’s expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the Pittsburgh Penguins still face protecting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury unless he either agrees to waive his no-movement to left unprotected in the draft, the Pens trade him to one of his 18 preferred destinations under his partial no-trade, they buy him out before the draft or they cut a side deal with the Las Vegas franchise to ensure an unprotected Matt Murray isn’t claimed in the draft.
With Matt Murray returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins line, Friedman can see the Boston Bruins claiming Mike Condon off waivers. Bruins netminders Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin are both banged up.