NHL Rumor Mill – January 14, 2017
Latest on the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators & more in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s recent appearance on Edmonton’s 630 CHED discussing the plight of the struggling Colorado Avalanche. He said he hasn’t heard defenseman Tyson Barrie’s name mentioned in trade rumors. Considering the Avs need blueline help, trading Barrie wouldn’t address that problem.
He believes teams are interested in left wing Gabriel Landeskog and thinks the asking price for center Matt Duchene is higher. However, he can see a team that thinks it can win this year pursuing Duchene.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough observes the Avalanche will have difficulty fixing their defense via trades, citing the high number of teams that are also in the market for young defensemen, the lack of available blueliners and the high cost that teams will set for them.
THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei reports the constant losing and trade speculation is getting to Duchene. Of late, he’s taken to ducking the media, perhaps tired of having to reply to the same questions about his future with the Avs. Despite the club’s struggles, Duchene tells Frei that there’s no lack of effort among his teammates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s inevitable that the losing and the trade speculation will get to Duchene. Landeskog probably feels it too. So far, there’s no indication either guy wants out but it’s not something they have control over. Both players lack no-trade protection. Either one could be dealt this season if management gets an irresistible offer. But as Brough notes, finding a top-quality young defenseman via trade this season won’t be easy.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports there will be speculation over what moves Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin might make leading up to the March 1 trade deadline. Hickey doesn’t rule out Bergevin pursuing a defenseman. He also notes Avalanche stars Landeskog and Duchene are available but wonders if Bergevin can afford the asking price for either guy. “Lots of teams will be asking for Mikhail Sergachev or a first-round draft pick and there won’t be many takers for (Tomas) Plekanec or David Desharnais,” writes Hickey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duchene would be a great fit on the Habs, but they don’t have a top-level defenseman to part with to get him. I see Bergevin seeking an affordable rental blueliner at the deadline. And no, Bergevin won’t land a top star by packaging a fading veteran with an untested prospect and draft picks.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson agreed with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that the Carolina Hurricanes would be a good trade partner for the Colorado Avalanche. The Hurricanes possess depth in good young forwards, while the Avs have forwards such as Landeskog and Duchene to dangle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also believe the Avs and Hurricanes could make good trade partners, but it’s up to Carolina GM Ron Francis to decide if he wants to part with one of his top young blueliners for Landeskog or Duchene. We don’t know if Francis is interested in either guy. Maybe he’s got his eye on other targets.
Matheson suggests the Edmonton Oilers ship defenseman Griffin Reinhart to the Ottawa Senators for winger Curtis Lazar. Both are former first-round draft picks who aren’t playing up to expectations.
Matheson wonders if the Boston Bruins could convince captain Zdeno Chara to accept a trade this summer to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and the rights to winger Valeri Nichushkin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t see that happening. Matheson also noted Chara has a no-trade clause and probably doesn’t want to go anywhere. He’ll finish his contract, and likely his NHL career, next season with Boston.
Teams are calling the Vancouver Canucks expressing interest in veteran winger Alex Burrows.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burrows has a no-trade clause. Canucks GM Jim Benning said he’s not asking his players carrying those clauses to waive them. Burrows must ask Benning to be dealt.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Bob McKenzie’s recent appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing the St. Louis Blues’ goaltending. McKenzie believes the Blues are concerned over the decline of young starter Jake Allen this season. He feels they’ll keep an eye on the goalie market, though they must be careful on what they can afford and what they can give up.
McKenzie mused over the possibility of the Tampa Bay Lightning perhaps offering netminder Ben Bishop to the Blues for a defenseman, though the Lightning might opt to retain Bishop in hopes he can right their own struggling ship.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie was only talking about a hypothetical move. He wasn’t saying the Blues and Lightning are talking trade.
Bishop is a pending UFA and would be costly for the Blues to re-sign. I don’t think they want to part with a top-four defenseman to get him unless they decide to swap UFAs and send defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to Tampa Bay for Bishop. Seems the easiest thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it will happen.
A few weeks ago, McKenzie’s colleague Darren Dreger suggested the Blues could be a good destination for Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. I dismissed the notion at the time, but Allen’s steady decline since then has changed my mind. However, as McKenzie points out, the Blues have over $60 million invested in 17 players for next season, and they must re-sign or replace pending UFAs Kevin Shattenkirk and Patrik Berglund, as well as re-sign young blueliner Colton Parayko.
Fleury is under contract for two more years at an annual cap hit of $5.75 million. The Pens need to move him or buy him out before the expansion draft in order to protect Matt Murray. They probably won’t set an expensive asking price. If the Blues are on his list of acceptable trade destinations, perhaps a deal could be made.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion continues to search for forward depth. With the pickings currently slim in the trade market, Dorion could also look to within for help. Veteran left wing Clarke MacArthur (concussion) could return to action by the end of this month.