NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2017
Updates on Joe Thornton, Martin Hanzal, Cam Fowler and Jarome Iginla in your NHL rumor mill.
ESPN.COM: In assessing the potential expansion draft plans of the San Jose Sharks, Pierre LeBrun reports John Thornton, agent and brother of center Joe Thornton, said his camp seeks a three-year contract. LeBrun speculates the Sharks could be reluctant to invest that long in Thornton, who’ll turn 38 on July 2. He suspects they’d prefer a one-year deal and could also await further information on next season’s salary cap.
LeBrun also said he’d wouldn’t be surprised if the Sharks didn’t re-sign 37-year-old Patrick Marleau. He also claims all pending unrestricted free agents, such as Thornton, are ineligible for the expansion draft. However, the Vegas Golden Knights are allowed to speak to any pending UFA during a 48-hour window prior to the June 21 expansion draft.
LeBrun also claims all pending unrestricted free agents, such as Thornton, are ineligible for the expansion draft. However, the Vegas Golden Knights are allowed to speak to any pending UFA during a 48-hour window prior to the June 21 expansion draft. While advocating the Sharks wait until after the expansion draft to re-sign Thornton to give them more flexibility in protecting other players, he notes the risk of the Golden Knight potentially signing the veteran center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if UFAs weren’t exempt from the expansion draft, it would be a waste of a draft pick for the Golden Knights to select one if that player isn’t willing to re-sign. I can see the Sharks and Thornton agreeing to a two-year for up to $6 million per. As for Marleau, this season could be his last, not just with the Sharks, but as an NHL player. Though on pace for 22 goals and 35 points this season, his production’s steadily declined in recent years and he’s no longer a reliable top-six forward.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reports Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka and pending UFA center Martin Hanzal remain open to contract discussions during this season. Chayka admits Hanzal, who holds a modified no-trade clause, could be dealt by the March 1 trade deadline but said he currently hasn’t engaged in any trade discussions and hasn’t yet received a serious offer for the center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this season, the talk was Chayka sought a good young defenseman/top prospect plus a high draft pick for Hanzal. He’s not going to get from this year’s draft market. Hanzal’s made it clear he wants to stay with the Coyotes, but it’s believed he seeks a long-term deal while the ‘Yotes prefer a two- or three-year deal.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford observes the Anaheim Ducks called up defenseman Brandon Montour while demoting another promising young blueliner in Shea Theodore. He wonders if this could be their way of readying to move another rearguard by the trade deadline, pointing out it’s inevitable for salary-cap reasons that they’ll have to trade a defenseman, pointing out Cam Fowler ($4 million annually through 2017-18) was a frequent subject of offseason trade chatter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks could ship out a quality defenseman for perhaps a scoring forward before the trade deadline. Whether it’s Fowler, Hampus Lindholm or Sami Vatanen remains to be seen. They could try to convince Kevin Bieksa to waive his no-movement clause before March 1, but I doubt he’ll attract much interest. If they can’t move Bieksa, they’ll have to protect four blueliners to keep Fowler, Lindholm and Vatanen in the fold, but that means they can only protect four forwards, making Jakob Silfverberg potentially the odd man out.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Colorado Avalanche winger Jarome Iginla is still willing to consider waiving his no-movement clause if asked to accept a trade to a playoff club. Gilbertson’s colleague Eric Francis believes it would be a good idea to bring Iginla back to Calgary to finish his career. Despite the decline in Iginla’s play, Francis still feels he can help their power play.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Eric Duhatschek wonders if the Edmonton Oilers might be a logical destination for Iginla, noting that Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli brought the veteran winger to Boston when he was GM of the Bruins. Duhatschek also lists the Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, and the Flames as possibilities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect a playoff contender will acquire Iginla before the trade deadline as a depth acquisition, but don’t expect very much from the 39-year-old Iginla now. He’s one of my all-time favorite players, but he’s also well past his prime now.