Updates on Trouba, Lindholm & Fowler – October 18, 2016
The latest speculation on Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler and Jacob Trouba in your NHL rumor mill.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance reports part of the reason for the holdup in the Anaheim Ducks re-signing free-agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm is the club is loaded with blueliners and may have to make a salary-dumping trade to free up cap space. Custance believes the Ducks prefer to move Kevin Bieksa, Simon Despres or Clayton Stoner, but an NHL executive tells him they don’t have much value. They could be stuck moving Cam Fowler.
Custance claims the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings are the best candidates to pursue a defenseman. The Wings like Winnipeg Jets blueliner Jacob Trouba but there doesn’t appear to be a fit trade-wise between the two clubs. Fowler could be a better bet. Speaking of Trouba, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s reputation for patience in the trade market means it could take time to work out a deal.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox speculates the Ducks poor defensive play and 0-2-1 record in the opening week of this season swings the advantage toward Lindholm and his agent Claude Lemieux. Lindholm’s asking price is believed as high as $7 million annually on an eight-year deal, while Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen’s new six-year deal worth $5.4 million per season set the floor in the Lindholm negotiations.
Fox believes Ducks GM Bob Murray is hamstrung by the deals he gave to veterans Kevin Bieksa, Clayton Stoner and Ryan Kesler. He feels putting Nate Thompson ($1.6 million) on LTIR and waiving some youngsters won’t free up sufficient cap space. He also doubts Lindholm will get an offer sheet, noting the limited number of teams with sufficient cap space and the rearguard’s desire to remain in California.
A trade could be the best option, as “Buffalo, Boston, Detroit, Arizona, and the Rangers” are in the market for a defenseman. Cam Fowler, of course, is considered the likely trade candidate. Fox also points out Murray has until Dec. 1 to get Lindholm under contract or he becomes ineligible to play the rest of this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I pointed out in my latest column in The Hockey News, if Despres ($3.7 million) is sidelined long term due to concussion, he and Thompson could be placed on LTIR. That frees up a combined $5.3 million. Still not enough to re-sign Lindholm, but a couple of demotions could also help.
Still, I think the only reasonable option is a trade and Fowler ($4 million) remains the likely candidate. Though he’s a left-handed shot, I don’t see those teams interested in bolstering their bluelines quibbling over that if they can land him for a reasonable price.