NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2016
Latest speculation on the goaltending of the LA Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets in your NHL rumor mill.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Lightning goalie Ben Bishop isn’t giving any thought to nearly being dealt last summer to the Calgary Flames heading into last night’s game in Calgary. An unrestricted free agent, Bishop could be traded by the March 1 trade deadline.
With the LIghtning currently struggling, speculation is growing over Bishop’s trade status. However, there’s currently not much of a market for goalies right now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The best destination could be the Dallas Stars, who were also linked to Bishop during the 2016 NHL Draft weekend last June. However, they’ll first have to shed either Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi. If the Lightning intend to trade Bishop, they’ll likely wait until January or February in hopes the trade market improves.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Helene Elliott reports Kings starting goalie Jonathan Quick, who’s been sidelined since the season opener with a groin injury, won’t return to action until mid-February. General manager Dean Lombardi said he’s not ready to toss the kitchen sink at another club to acquire a top goalie even if one were available and he could squeeze the contract within his limited salary-cap payroll.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings cannot afford to go after goalies such as Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop or Detroit’s Jimmy Howard. Those who could be available, such as Winnipeg’s Ondrej Pavelec, probably isn’t much of an upgrade over their current tandem of Peter Budaj and Jeff Zatkoff. Like it or not, the Kings are stuck with what they’ve got, for better or worse.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports Philadelphia Flyers goalie Anthony Stolarz is making the case to be part of their full-time tandem next season. Current goaltenders Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth are both UFAs this summer and Stolarz has played well replacing the sidelined Neuvirth, winning both of his starts. The Flyers could put Mason or Neuvirth on the block by the March 1 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll depend upon how well Mason and Neuvirth are playing by then. Neuvirth was outstanding last season but struggled prior to his injury, while Mason’s shaken off a poor start with several solid efforts in his recent games.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Aaron Portzline was recently asked via Twitter if the Blue Jackets might acquire a backup to play every fourth game and relieve the workload of starter Sergei Bobrovsky. “I don’t think it’s out of the question, but not right now. McElhinney was really good in Phoenix. If Korpisalo struggles, I could see it.”