NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2017
Latest Kevin Shattenkirk speculation plus updates on the Islanders, Lightning and Senators in your NHL rumor mill.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples notes the recent speculation tying Shattenkirk to the Edmonton Oilers. He points out some observers feel the defenseman could get a seven-year deal worth between $6.4 – $7 million annually as an unrestricted free agent.
While acknowledging the Oilers’ search for a right-shot blueliner to control their power play, Staples suggests Shattenkirk could prove too expensive to sign, especially as he’s never been a true No. 1 d-man. Considering how much the Oilers invested in signing Milan Lucic, Staples doesn’t believe they can afford to make that kind of long-term investment in Shattenkirk. If the Oilers pursue him as a playoff rental, Staples find it hard to imagine that he’ll cost less than a first-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have over $51 million invested in next season’s cap payroll. They can afford to sign Shattenkirk to a lucrative long-term deal, but Leon Draisaitl is a restricted free agent this summer and I doubt we’ll see him getting an affordable bridge deal. They’ll also have to re-sign superstar Connor McDavid to a whopping great raise in July 2018 (if not before), as well as winger Patrick Maroon and promising blueliner Darnell Nurse. Aan expensive contract for Shattenkirk could become burdensome.
I don’t believe the Oilers should pursue Shattenkirk as a rental player. I can understand taking the gamble of giving up a good asset or two for a player who could be the final piece of the championship puzzle. However, they’re not at that stage yet. They’re a playoff team, but not a Stanley Cup contender. Even if they add Shattenkirk, I don’t believe the Oilers have the depth throughout their current roster to contend for a championship. At this stage, they’re better off seeking more affordable rental options.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites TSN’s Darren Dreger appearing on Buffalo’s WGR 550 yesterday suggesting the Detroit Red Wings as a possible trade destination for St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. He also believes the 27-year-old blueliner would love to play for the Wings, who are in need of an experience top-four rearguard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have over $68 million invested in next season’s payroll. Unless they can shed some salary (hello there, Jimmy Howard!), I don’t see them having sufficient room to sign Shattenkirk and fill out the remainder of their roster.
Nichols also cites Elliotte Friedman appearing on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 yesterday saying the Arizona Coyotes had permission last summer to speak with Shattenkirk. Friedman wasn’t sure if it was disagreement over a new contract or a trade that caused discussions to end.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Coyotes struggling through a rebuild, I don’t see them in Shattenkirk’s future plans.
NEW YORK POST: In the wake of the New York Islanders firing head coach Jack Capuano earlier this week, Brett Cyrgalis believes the “type of managerial framework in place” this summer could determine captain John Tavares’ long-term future with the club. Tavares, 26, will be eligible in July 2018 for unrestricted free agency. The Islanders get their first chance to re-sign him this July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And we can also expect plenty of “Tavares to the Maple Leafs” speculation to emerge from the Toronto media around that time. With their promising homegrown talent, the Leafs won’t need Tavares. However, that won’t stop some Toronto pundits from engaging in the same fantasy about Tavares “coming home” as they did throughout 2015-16 with Steven Stamkos.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith observes St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong recently scouted a couple of Lightning games. With both clubs likely looking to make moves before the March 1 trade deadline, Smith thinks it’s something worth watching. However, he dismisses the notion of the Blues swapping defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. He notes the Blues need help at center, a position where the Lightning have depth. Smith also notes things seem quiet on the Bishop trade front and he suspects the pending UFA could finish this season in Tampa Bay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bishop stays healthy and keeps the Bolts in playoff contention, I doubt GM Steve Yzerman will move him. If they fall further back, however, I can see Bishop on the move before the trade deadline.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan doesn’t like the idea of the Senators trading struggling young center Curtis Lazar, who recently surfaced in the rumor mill. Brennan doesn’t want the Sens to make the same mistake they did with Nick Foligno, who went on to play a leadership role with the Columbus Blue Jackets. With Chris Kelly, Tom Pyatt and Chris Neil coming off the Sens’ books this summer, he feels Lazar could be an affordable replacement for one of them.
SPORTSNET: Andrew Berkshire observes Senators blueliner Cody Ceci’s development has stalled this season. If the Sens fall out of playoff contention. While acknowledging his evaluation is only based on his first-half performance this season, he feels the 23-year-old performance isn’t up to snuff for someone projected to be a future core player. Berkshire suggests Ceci might fetch “a nice package from a team looking more for promise than performance.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lazar’s been a disappointment for the Senators thus far, but he’s also only 21 years old. Some players need a little more time to develop than others. Trading him now could come back to haunt them. I say give him another season to prove himself. I also disagree with moving the 23-year-old Ceci. Sometimes a promising player can have an off-year in their development. Trading him now could also prove to be a costly mistake.