Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 6, 2016
Resurrecting the “Tavares-to-Toronto” rumors, plus updates on Jacob Trouba and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox resurrects the John Tavares to the Maple Leafs speculation, suggesting the Toronto-born superstar might want to get away from the New York Islanders circus when he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2018. He lists the Isles inability to build into a Cup contender, the ongoing issues at their former and current arenas, and their unwillingness to re-sign key free agents among the factors that could convince Tavares to seek green pastures, perhaps in his hometown. Cox suggests the rebuilding Leafs could be a much better team by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, it’s possible Tavares could decide it’s time for a change by 2018. But if we learned anything from last season’s Steven Stamkos watch, it’s that there’s no guarantee a Toronto-born (or Ontario-born) pending free-agent superstar wants to “come home” by joining the Leafs. Tavares could set his sights on clubs that could give him a better chance of winning a championship.
And who’s to say by 2018 the Leafs will even need Tavares? Should Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner blossom into the full-blown NHL superstars they’re projected to become, the Leafs will have an embarrassment of riches at forward. They also won’t be able to afford to re-sign those three and still have enough room to pay Tavares a big-money contract, even if he agreed to accept a “hometown discount”.
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports Jacob Trouba’s agent Kurt Overhardt met with Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff recently in Detroit. Things remains quiet, but Kypreos said the Jets would still love to re-sign Trouba, perhaps to a six-year deal worth $5 million annually. He speculates if Turris signs that sort of deal before the Dec. 1 deadline and returns to action, being under contract could improve his trade value.
Elliotte Friedman notes Overhardt went through this with client Kyle Turris and the Arizona Coyotes several years ago. Turris was re-signed on Nov. 22 and subsequently trade to the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 17. Friedman also said there’s no truth to speculation Trouba could return to the Jets on a two-year deal. He also notes the Jets have let it be known forward Alexander Burmistrov is available.
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy believes a trade for Trouba could help the Boston Bruins if it’s for the right price. He suggests offering up forward Ryan Spooner and left-shot defense prospect Jakub Zboril — the 13th overall pick in 2015. If that’s not good enough, Conroy suggests targeting Anaheim Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler or continuing to rebuild from within.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And the Jets will thank you politely for your offer and move on. It’s apparent Cheveldayoff isn’t in any hurry to move Trouba. He either wants him back at his price or he wants a big return for the blueliner. Spooner and Zboril won’t be enough.
While the Jets aren’t doing that well, they’re also not doing that badly, even with injuries to some key players and their questionable goaltending. Cheveldayoff isn’t under any pressure from his bosses to move Trouba. Indeed, they seem to be counting on the young defenseman to blink first. If Trouba is re-signed and returns before Dec. 1, maybe he will be dealt later this season. It’ll still cost the Bruins more than Spooner and Zboril to get him.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch also reports on the Jacob Trouba standoff with the Jets, claiming at least two teams (Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks) attempted to pry the blueliner out of Winnipeg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand Detroit’s interest but Anaheim? They’re loaded with young defenseman and are in need of scoring depth, especially at left wing. That doesn’t make much sense at all.
Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka apparently wants to make some sort of roster move. His defense needs improvement.
The New York Islanders are shopping goalie Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Calvin de Haan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: First I’ve heard that de Haan might be available. He’s seeing third-pairing minutes with Dennis Seidenberg.
Florida Panthers defenseman Steve Kampfer will likely be traded or demoted. He’s only suited up for one game with the Panthers this season.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to shed a couple of contracts. One was left wing Scott Hartnell ($4.75 million annual cap hit) and there’s some talk they’ll listen to offers for defenseman Jack Johnson ($4.375 million).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not so much the salaries as the tenure on those contracts that’s likely dampening their trade value. Hartnell, 34, is signed through 2018-19, while the struggling Johnson is inked through 2017-18.
San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is in the market for a backup goalie. He’s tight for cap space and Garrioch speculates he might listen to offers for Tommy Wingels or Matt Nieto.