Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 23, 2016
Updates on Ondrej Pavelec, Jonathan Bernier, Ryan Miller and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports injuries to Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff could force the Los Angeles Kings into the trade market for a goaltender. The options are limited plus the Kings only have $1.6 million in cap space. The best option appears to be Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, but the Kings would have difficulty absorbing his $3.9 million cap hit. There’s also talk they could be interested in Florida Panthers netminder Reto Berra.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we’ll see below, there’s talk Kings GM Dean Lombardi has called around regarding available goalies. He could be patient and see how things pan out, but I think he’s laying the groundwork for a potential move.
The Winnipeg Jets and restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba remain in a standoff. The Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings have expressed interest in Trouba, but Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff remains firm in his asking price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In recent days I’ve seen some grumbling in the comments about Trouba’s near-constant appearance in this section. I’ve even received e-mails from a couple of readers complaining about it. While I understand where you’re coming from, fact is Trouba’s status is a hot topic in the NHL rumor mill right now. I would be remiss if I didn’t post up the latest notable speculation about him.
I’m attempting to keep it to links regarding potentially interested clubs or any possible movement by the Jets or Trouba. Some days, however, the Trouba story is the only notable one in the rumor mill. Just bear with it, folks. It will come to a head within the next six weeks.
It’s believed the Anaheim Ducks and RFA blueliner Hampus Lindholm are around $250K per season apart on a six-year deal. The Ducks must also clear cap space for Lindholm’s new deal. Many teams, including the Wings, Bruins and Buffalo Sabres, are thought to have interest in Cam Fowler.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: See my Trouba comment above.
The Pittsburgh Penguins recent re-signing of goalie Matt Murray is stoking speculation they’ll try to trade veteran Marc-Andre Fleury, though his contract ($5.75 million per season, no-movement clause) makes that difficult. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has indicated he wants to retain Fleury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If we take Rutherford at his word, Fleury’s not going anywhere this season. The Penguins GM will likely address this in the weeks leading up to next June’s NHL expansion draft. His options are asking Fleury to accept a trade, asking him to waive his no-movement to be left unprotected in the expansion draft, buying him out before the expansion draft, thus making him an unrestricted free agent, or swinging a side deal with the Las Vegas expansion franchise to ensure Murray isn’t selected in the draft if Fleury is protected.
If Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith is sidelined long term, Garrioch suggests they contact the Pittsburgh Penguins about third-string netminder Mike Condon.
SPORTSNET: Regarding the Kings goaltending situation, Elliotte Friedman reports they’ve looked at the Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec, the Panthers’ Reto Berra, the Penguins’ Mike Condon and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Steve Mason. He wonders if they might consider contacting the Anaheim Ducks regarding backup (and former King) Jonathan Bernier. Friedman notes the Ducks must shed cap space for Hampus Lindholm’s new contract and Kings goalie coach Bill Ranford is a fan of Bernier’s, so he wonders if there’s a match there. In the short term, however, a trade doesn’t seem likely as the Kings want to see if they can make do with their current goalies.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting suggestion by Friedman. The Kings and Ducks have dealt with each other occasionally in the past, notably Sean O’Connell being dealt by the Ducks to the Kings in 2008. That move would clear cap room for the Ducks to re-sign Lindholm, though they’d have to find a suitable replacement for Bernier. However, Bernier’s cap hit is $4.15 million. The Kings limited cap space makes that move impossible without shedding salary elsewhere.
Speaking of Pavelec, Nick Kypreos said he might not be done yet with the Jets this season, as they’re still unsure about their young tandem of Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson.
Friedman and Kypreos also touched on the Lindholm contract talks and the Trouba situation, with Kypreos citing a league source saying the contract of Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad ($7.5 million annually) set the bar way too high for comparable blueliners.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford notes local Vancouver Canucks conspiracy theorists believe goalie Ryan Miller is negotiating to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Kings, even though there’s no indication from the club or from league insiders that this is the case. Botchford also refuted the speculation, but he wearily points out that’s not stopping the theorists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s cap hit is $6 million. Even if the Canucks agreed to pick up half of it, the Kings lack sufficient cap space to acquire him. Given the Canucks’ surprisingly strong start to this season, there’s no reason for them to move Miller right now.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes when a Jacob Trouba trade is enacted, a new contract for the 22-year-old blueliner won’t be an issues because interested GMs have done their due diligence on the cost of signing him. He also wonders if the New York Rangers are showcasing forward Kevin Hayes in case the Blueshirts make an offer for a defenseman, or if they want to see more of Hayes before possibly using forward J.T. Miller as trade bait. If they’re pursuing Trouba or Anaheim Ducks blueliner Sami Vatanen, Brooks believes a quality return must go the other way.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: See my Trouba comment above. As for Vatanen, the Ducks didn’t re-sign him just to trade him. Still, I’ll admit there are lots of scenarios whereby the Ducks could shed salary. A Vatanen trade could be one of them, however unlikely that seems.