Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 30, 2016
Latest on the Islanders, Canadiens, Bruins and Jets in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen reports Allan Walsh, agent for New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak, recently published a series of comments on Twitter questioning the club’s decision to carry three goalies to start this season. While the Isles made no public response yet to Wash’s comments. Elliotte Friedman subsequently reports GM Garth Snow has let the other 29 teams know Halak is available. Boylen points out Halak is the most expensive of the Isles trio ($4.25 million annual cap hit), while the club is carrying J-F Berube rather than risk losing him to another club via waivers.
Boylen also notes the Los Angeles Kings have been in the goalie market since starter Jonathan Quick (groin injury) was sidelined up to three months, but they only have around $1 million in cap space. The Dallas Stars were thought to be seeking an upgrade in goal this summer, but with only $2 million in cap room, they’d have to move either Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi. Boylen also lists the San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets as possible trade options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Halak’s strong performance for Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey, his annual cap hit through 2017-18 and middling numbers in October (3.04 GAA, .901 SP) won’t be easy to trade. The Kings can’t afford him, while the Stars probably won’t find any takers for Lehtonen or Niemi, who both carry no-trade clauses and might be unwilling to waive them. The Sharks could use an experienced back for Martin Jones, but not an oft-injured one with an expensive contract. Craig Anderson recently returned to the Senators. If they need a replacement for the sidelined Andrew Hammond, they’ll got a cheaper route. The Jets can simply recall Ondrej Pavelec.
That leaves the Hurricanes, who have the cap space and are in need of an upgrade with the current tandem of Cam Ward and Eddie Lack performing poorly in the early going. However, GM Ron Francis could be unwilling to pursue Halak because of his salary and injury history.
Boylen cites Nick Kypreos saying the Montreal Canadiens could send rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev back to his junior club in Windsor for more development. If so, Kypreos expects the Habs will be in the market for a top-four defenseman to help ease the burden on Shea Weber and Andrei Markov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before anyone suggests the Jets’ Jacob Trouba, the Habs already have Shea Weber and Jeff Petry skating on the right side in their top-four blueline pairings, so there’s not a fit there. The Canadiens also lack cap space to re-sign Trouba, who reportedly prefers being dealt to an American NHL club.
Friedman reports Boston Bruins winger Ryan Spooner could be available. Though he’s struggled early this season, the 24-year-old netted 49 points last season and has a reasonable salary ($1 million). Friedman believes the Bruins could listen to offers, especially if they can get a top young defenseman in return. Kypreos wonders if the Bruins could use Spooner to pursue a trade with the Winnipeg Jets for Jacob Trouba, but the asking price could be expensive, such as Spooner, promising blueliner Brandon Carlo and a first-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins would love to land Trouba, and they’d probably happily part with Spooner to get him. Heck, they might even package him with that first-round pick. Adding Carlo to the mix, however, is a non-starter. Perhaps as other blueliners potentially become available later in the season (Anaheim’s Cam Fowler? St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk?), the Bruins could use Spooner as part of a package to land one of them.
TSN: Gary Lawless reports the recent spate of goaltender injuries around the league is generating multiple inquiries for Winnipeg Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec, who’s currently toiling for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Whether they move Pavelec depends upon how comfortable the Jets are with their young tandem of Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE:With Pavelec carrying a $3.9 million cap hit, the Jets will either have to pick up half of it or take back an equivalent salary in return.