NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2016
Latest on the Leafs, Flames, Coyotes, Penguins and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there’s not been substantive trade talks between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. Addressing the rumors swirling about Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton, McKenzie said they’re listening when teams call, but they don’t seem eager to move him.
While the Leafs would like to move a winger at some point for a defenseman, they aren’t intent on moving a winger such as William Nylander. McKenzie suggests Leafs veteran winger James van Riemsdyk is the logical trade candidate to be dealt at some point for a blueliner.
Earlier in the day, Darren Dreger appeared on TSN’s Leafs Lunch, where he discussed with the hosts the notion of the Leafs shipping Nylander to the Flames for Hamilton. As alluring as it would be for the Leafs to land a 6-foot-6, over 200 pound defenseman like Hamilton, why would he be about to join his third team. He also asks if Nylander is enough, suggesting the Flames could give it serious consideration.
Dreger stressed that Flames management insists there’s nothing specific to any workings or dealings with the Leafs, though he heard a couple of weeks ago they were believed sniffing around at some of the Leafs’ AHL players. Dreger said he’s not throwing Nylander on the trade block, but speculates at some point down the road the Leafs could perhaps move a couple of of their young players to address other roster needs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the Leafs move Nylander, unless it’s for a terrific offer. I agree with McKenzie that van Riemsdyk seems the logical trade candidate. He’s got one year left on his contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent and will seek a substantial raise over his current $4.25 million annual cap hit. He carries a modified no-trade clause with a 10-team no-trade list. van Riemsdyk is currently on pace for 35 goals and 70 points. If he maintains that level of production, he will be an attractive trade chip.
Dreger reports Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello met with center Peter Holland today and decided it would be best if Holland didn’t accompany the club on their current road trip. Dreger claims there’s some limited interest in Holland, though some believe it more likely the center will get placed on waivers.
Dreger also touched on recent trade speculation regarding Arizona Coyotes winger Anthony Duclair. Like the Flames with Hamilton, the Coyotes aren’t shopping Duclair, but they could consider moving him if they get a center back in a significant deal. Dreger said Duclair’s name initially came up in trade talk back in June and recently resurfaced, but there’s no indication they’re actively trying to move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Coyotes giving up on Duclair, who’s going through a sophomore slump (four points in 21 games) this season. Still, it never hurts to at least listen to offers. Dreger didn’t indicate who could be interested in Duclair.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari reports Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford admits his two-goalie system of Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray isn’t working out as well as he hoped. Both goalies are used to seeing starter’s minutes but are currently splitting those duties. With the expansion draft on the horizon next June, Rutherford must decide when one to protect in the draft. He said he’s not feeling urgency, but it’s the one area he’s looking at the most right now. Fleury could be the odd man out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone knows Fleury will be asked to waive his no-movement clause to either accept a trade or to be left exposed in the expansion draft. The more likely scenario is the Penguins deal him before the March 1 trade deadline. Rutherford could wait until the offseason, but he’ll only have limited time to swing a deal before the expansion draft. Rival GMs will attempt to squeeze him in hopes of getting more than just Fleury in return
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Florida Panthers traded Dave Bolland and Lawson Crouse earlier this season for salary-cap flexibility to add “one major body.”
With Brent Burns re-signing last week with the San Jose Sharks, next summer’s top UFA blueliners are St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk and Washington’s Karl Alzner. Friedman cites Nick Kypreos reporting Alzner is seeking between $5.5 – $6 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Caps have over $51 million tied up in next season’s payroll. In addition to Alzner, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, Justin Williams, Dmitry Orlov and Andre Burakovsky are among their notable free agents. Alzner could be pricing himself out of the Capitals market.
In all of last summer’s Shattenkirk trade rumors, Friedman reveals a few teams were allowed to talk to him. Arizona and Edmonton had their shot. Of the two, Friedman doubts Shattenkirk was interested in Edmonton, but Arizona made some progress. It’s also believed the New York Rangers could be interested, but that will take freeing up some cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also don’t see Shattenkirk signing with the Oilers. Scuttlebutt suggests he’d prefer joining an American-based team on the east coast. That’s why we heard the Rangers and Boston Bruins linked so often to Shattenkirk in the rumor mill.
Friedman wonders if Brad Richardson’s injury could make Arizona a possible landing spot for Leafs center Peter Holland.
He also sees New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss becoming the backup for Martin Jones with the Sharks. Greiss began his NHL career with them.
Friedman also notes the Buffalo Sabres are watching a lot of the AHL’s Utica Comets, who are the farm team of the Vancouver Canucks, He speculates they could be looking at Jake Virtanen.