NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2016
Latest on the Lightning, Red Wings, Blackhawks and Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman acknowledges his club’s recent struggles. It’s not just the absence of captain Steven Stamkos that’s the issue, as he cited the club’s defensive play has suffered of late. Starting goalie Ben Bishop is also struggling between the pipes.
Considered a Stanley Cup contender entering this season, the Lightning are current outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Yzerman said he’s constantly looking to improve his club, but it’s difficult to find a trade partner and a deal that makes sense, especially with so many teams having salary-cap concerns.
LeBrun speculates landing a top-four defenseman is atop Yzerman’s wish list, but there’s no guarantee he can land one before the March 1 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop is Yzerman’s best trade chip, but the market for goalies isn’t that great right now. The Lightning GM could have little choice but to wait for the trade market to improve whilst hoping his team can overcome their current difficulties.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland isn’t pleased with the play of his struggling club. Salary-cap concerns, however, are handcuffing many teams and making it difficult to swing trades. Holland admits he’s been in conversations with other GMs seeking a deal to help his club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the trade market doesn’t improve soon, Holland could become a seller at the trade deadline.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: In a recent Q&A session with his readers, Chris Hine said he’d heard trade speculation earlier this season regarding Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. However, a source told him van Riemsdyk “would be very hard for the Hawks to move considering he makes a small salary (just $825,000) and the Hawks are pressed up against the salary cap.” If they were to move the blueliner, it’ll have to be for a forward carrying a similar salary. With the Blackhawks playing well, Hine notes there not a pressing need to make a move right now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk’s status could change later in the season if the Blackhawks struggle, but their limited cap space makes still makes trading him a difficult move.
THE ATHLETIC: David Alter reports little-used Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado is worried about his future. He’s played only one game this season and spent the rest as a healthy scratch thus far. While Corrado hasn’t demanded a trade, he has voiced his unhappiness with his situation. Alter suspects the blueliner wouldn’t mind following his buddy Peter Holland out of Toronto via trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For whatever reason, Corrado doesn’t seem to be in head coach Mike Babcock’s plans. At some point, I expect Corrado will be either traded or placed on waivers. He could be a decent pickup for clubs in need of blueline depth.