NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2017
Latest on Kevin Shattenkirk, Shane Doan, Valtteri Filppula and more in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders if it makes sense for the St. Louis Blues to trade defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to free up salary-cap space to do something else. He believes the Blues have the blueline depth to handle that move.
Though Shattenkirk is unwilling to join the Edmonton Oilers long term, Friedman wonders if he might consider it as a rental player. He also believes the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs could benefit from a short-term burst from acquiring Shattenkirk, who would benefit by bolstering his free-agent value. While the Blues asking price for Shattenkirk was high in the past, Friedman wonders if they might lower it to move him and free up room to add an element that can help them now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting speculation from Friedman. No word from the St. Louis media about this, though I daresay we’ll something from them soon if Shattenkirk keeps floating in the rumor mill. Such a move would also be a significant change of pace from Blues GM Doug Armstrong, who usually hangs onto his pending UFAs for the playoffs.
Friedman said a rumor that had the Blues bringing back goaltender Brian Elliott was shot down. He also wonders if the Chicago Blackhawks might attempt to bring back winger Patrick Sharp, who’s now with the Dallas Stars.
The Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks have had talks that go back to last season. Friedman said the Habs have scouted the Ducks quite a bit this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently told Montreal’s TSN 690 he’s in the market for a puck-moving defenseman. As is well-documented, the Ducks are stocked with talented young blueliners, notably Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm. They need a skilled scoring left winger, but the Habs lack depth in that department to help them.
Prior to the New York Islanders firing head coach Jack Capuano, an NHL executive told Friedman he thought Isles GM Garth Snow was moving closer to trade struggling forward Ryan Strome. He thinks it makes sense for Snow to wait and see how Strome performs under a new bench boss.
While the Colorado Avalanche are believed seeking blueline depth, they could also be in the market for a goaltender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the inconsistent play and long injury history of Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov, landing a proven starter could become a priority.
Friedman believes center Valtteri Filppula is the player the Tampa Bay Lightning could try to move this season. He’s got another season left at $5 million and a partial no-trade clause that covers half the league. He also believes defenseman Nikita Nesterov could be available. There’s talk Nesterov could return to Russia next season, but his agent claims his client wants to play in North America.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sticking point is Filppula’s salary. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will have to retain part of his cap hit or perhaps do a dollar-for-dollar deal to make this work.
An injury to blueliner Jamie Oleksiak lowers the chances of the Stars making a defensive move.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka (stick tap to GJ Berg for the link) reports San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson usually doesn’t stand pat at the NHL trade deadline. He notes the question remains if they’ll stick with Aaron Dell as the backup goalie for starter Martin Jones or seek one with more experience.
Pashelka also notes the Sharks are squeezed for salary-cap space. He points out Wilson has more prospects to dangle as trade bait this season, though he recently sounded reluctant about going that route. As for depth at forward, Wilson could prefer waiting for sidelined Tomas Hertl to return to action. He said he’s more concerned about his club’s penalty kill and defensive game.
CSN BAY AREA: Responding to a reader’s suggestion of trading defenseman Justin Braun for a scoring forward, Kevin Kurz doubts they’ll move any of their top-four blueliners for a scorer. He doesn’t believe it makes sense to move any of their big-minute rearguards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Wilson makes a move, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he does, it’ll likely be a minor one. Like Kurz, I don’t see them parting with any of their top-four blueliners for a scorer. As Pashelka points out, Wilson will likely wait and see how well Hertl performs after his return from a knee injury before deciding if his offense needs a boost.
ARIZONA SPORTS: John Gambadoro reports Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan is seriously considering accepting a trade to a contender. He cites sources claiming the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens are interested in the 40-year-old right wing. If Doan accepts a trade, Gambadoro doesn’t believe it’ll hurt the legacy of the long-time Coyotes star.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think there’s a fit for Doan on any of those clubs. The Rangers are reportedly seeking a top-four defenseman and don’t appear to have an urgent need for a checking-line right wing. The Capitals also appear to be fine on the right side. As noted earlier, the Habs are in the market for a puck-moving defenseman. They could also use some depth at center.