NHL Rumor Mill – January 17, 2017
Blackhawks need a scoring left wing, Coyotes captain Shane Doan won’t rule out waiving his movement clause and the latest on Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk in your NHL rumor mill.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/THE ATHLETIC: David Haugh, Mark Lazerus and Brian Hedger believe the Chicago Blackhawks need a scoring left wing to play alongside center and team captain Jonathan Toews.
Haugh notes James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche have surfaced in this season’s trade rumors. He also observes pursuing either guy will be expensive in terms of salary-cap space and return. Haugh suggests perhaps bringing back Patrick Sharp if the Dallas Stars fall further out of playoff contention.
Lazerus claims the Blackhawks are sniffing around the trade market, but are apparently hesitant to make a major move. They like their young players and don’t wish to part with draft picks this year. With the Hawks hosting the 2017 NHL draft, Lazerus considers it unthinkable that they’ll trade away their first-round pick this year. If the Blackhawks can bank some cap space by the deadline and convince a possible trade partner to eat some salary, Lazerus speculates perhaps they could land someone like Van Riemsdyk, Landeskog or Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal.
Hedger also notes the difficulties facing Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman in landing a scoring winger but points out Bowman has been creative in the past and pulled off some significant deals near the deadline. He lists Sharp, Avalanche winger Jarome Iginla, van Riemsdyk, Hanzal and Landeskog as possible trade options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowman’s always found a way to make a significant move at the trade deadline. I expect he’ll do so again this season. He could seek a rental player or a long-term solution. Sharp, Iginla and Hanzal fall into the first category, Landeskog and van Riemsdyk into the second. Given the high asking prices for those in the latter category, I expect Bowman will look toward the former.
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reports Arizona Coyotes left wing and captain Shane Doan said he hasn’t spoken to management about waiving his no-movement clause. However, he doesn’t dismiss the possibility. A chance to play for a potential Stanley Cup champion would be enticing, but Doan acknowledged that’s difficult to predict. While he wouldn’t object to joining an Eastern Conference club, Doan also noted the ramifications of being apart from his family, even for just a few months.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Finding the right fit would be crucial for Doan. If there’s insufficient interest from potential Cup contenders near the trade deadline, I doubt he waives his movement clause to join a bubble team.
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox believes it would be a mistake for the Toronto Maple Leafs to trade left wing James van Riemsdyk. While acknowledging the cost of re-signing the skilled winger to keep him out of the 2018 free-agent market (between $6-$7 million), Cox believes the Leafs will have the cap flexibility to do so. He feels van Riemsdyk has played his way into the club’s future plans and moving him would leave a hole on the left side that could prove difficult to fill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Leafs pushing for a playoff berth, van Riemsdyk won’t be dealt this season However, they need a proven top-two defenseman. If a rival club offers one in exchange for JVR this summer, the Leafs could jump for it. If not, they’ll begin next season with van Riemsdyk in the lineup and see how things unfold.