NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2016
Latest on the Canucks, Stars, Kings and Leafs, plus updates on Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Spooner, Rick Nash and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports if the Vancouver Canucks can find a trade partner over the next month or two, they’d like to add a 20-goal scorer. They’ve been looking for a scorer since the summer.
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston notes the Canucks don’t have a lot of trade chips to land a 20-goal scorer. He doesn’t see them moving promising youngsters Thatcher Demko, Brock Boeser and Olli Juolevi. He suggests defenseman Chris Tanev as a possibility. noting the emergence of Troy Stecher, the club’s reluctance to place Alex Biega on waivers and Nikita Tryamkin’s unwillingness to accept a demotion. He doubts they’ll put Luca Sbisa or Philip Larsen on the block.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnston also feels clubs could be more interested in the Canucks young prospects as part of the return. Tanev might attract interest, but maybe not enough to land the scorer the Canucks need.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the New York Islanders aren’t in any rush to appease goaltender Jaroslav Halak or his agent Allan Walsh, who recently took to Twitter questioning the club’s wisdom in carrying three netminders. Halak is the most obvious to be dealt, but Dreger claims as of Monday night the Isles didn’t receive any trade offers and there’s very little interest in the 31-year-old goalie. The Islanders have no problem maintaining the status quo of three goaltenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Halak’s injury history, inconsistency and $4.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18 are the likely sticking points.
Bob McKenzie reports the Los Angeles Kings are in a better position to acquire a goaltender if they so desire. They recalled Rob Scuderi and then demoted him the following day. The move allowed them to place sidelined starter Jonathan Quick ($5.8 million salary-cap hit) on long-term injured reserve, giving them the opportunity to exceed the cap ceiling if they acquire another goalie. When Quick returns, however, they must become cap compliant again. That means it doesn’t make much sense for them to pursue someone like the Winnipeg Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec ($3.9 million).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For now, the Kings seem content to ride things out with goalies Peter Budaj, Jeff Zatkoff and Jack Campbell. If they decide to seek another netminder, my guess is they go after someone more affordable. Pittsburgh Penguins third-stringer Mike Condon ($575K) could be an option. They don’t want to saddle themselves with an expensive goalie still carrying term on their contract.
McKenzie also believes the Dallas Stars would like to upgrade their goaltending, but they’ve got over $10 million tied up in Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi through next season, making it difficult to pursue someone like Halak ($4.5 million).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars could offer up Lehtonen or Niemi for Halak, but that really doesn’t suit the Isles needs, as they likely prefer shedding Halak and going with a tandem of Thomas Greiss and J-F Berube.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports there was some interest in Boston Bruins forward Ryan Spooner when he was made a healthy scratch for the club’s home opener. Unless the Bruins can get a good young defenseman, Friedman isn’t sure Spooner’s going anywhere.
With Michael Del Zotto and Scott Laughton close to returning, the Philadelphia Flyers must shed salary to make room for them. He doubts they’ll move winger Matt Read, who was the topic of trade speculation last season but has improved since then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could demote Andrew MacDonald and his $5 million annual cap hit again. Or perhaps Brandon Manning ($975K).
Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is looking to upgrade his defense. The problem, however, is there aren’t any top-four caliber blueliners currently available.
There’s no truth to a recent rumor claiming restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba might return to the Winnipeg Jets on a short-term bridge deal. Also no truth to speculation the San Jose Sharks and pending unrestricted free agent blueliner Brent Burns shelved contract talks until the spring.
The year remaining on New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak is a big sticking point.
It doesn’t appear a trade involving New York Rangers veteran winger Rick Nash was anywhere close to happening. Nash was the subject of offseason trade chatter.
TORONTO STAR: In a recent Q&A with his readers regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kevin McGran believes someone will take winger Milan Michalek off their hands via trade. Michalek was recently demoted to the minors. He suggests Roman Polak and Matt Hunwick are movable as depth defensemen for a contender. McGran also listed defenseman Jake Gardiner and center Tyler Bozak as possible trade candidates, though he likes how well the latter’s played under head coach Mike Babcock. He believes those with no-trade clauses, such as Michalek, could prove difficult to move if they’re unwilling to waive those clauses.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If demoted players with no-trade clauses, such as Michalek and Colin Greening, get an opportunity to be dealt to a team where they’ll get NHL playing minutes, I believe they’ll take it. Polak and Hunwick likely won’t be moved until close to the March 1 trade deadline. The play of Gardiner and Bozak over the course of this season could determine if they become trade bait.