Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 22, 2017
Latest on the Blackhawks plus updates on Kevin Shattenkirk, John Tavares, Martin Hanzal & more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports sources say the Blackhawks had preliminary discussions with the Detroit Red Wings regarding forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. The Blackhawks are in the market for a top-six winger, while the Wings seek blueline depth. Lazerus said the Hawks have about 10 or 11 NHL-ready blueliners in Chicago and their farm team in Rockford.
Tatar is earning $2.75 million this season and is a restricted free agent in July, while Nyquist has two more years at an annual cap hit of $4.5 million left on his contract. He also notes the Hawks have been linked to Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk, Colorado’s Jarome Iginla and Dallas’ Patrick Sharp. A stumbling block could be their reluctance to part with high draft picks, especially when they’re hosting the 2017 NHL Draft in June.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports the Blackhawks are also shopping for a veteran defenseman. One sources suggested Arizona Coyotes blueliner Michael Stone as one option. They will have over $3.3 million in prorated salary-cap space at the March 1 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the rumor mill is anything to go by, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman could make a significant move or two by the March 1 trade deadline. It’s interesting that he’s reportedly targeting Nyquist or Tatar. It’s been rumored since last summer either one could be had for a quality defenseman. If the Blackhawks don’t land one of them, they could be shipped out to a club with depth in young defensemen in need of scoring forwards, such as Anaheim or Carolina.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports some NHL clubs took notice of the Calgary Flames making struggling young center Sam Bennett a healthy scratch for a recent game against the Nashville Predators. Flames GM Brad Treliving was quick to dismiss those inquiries, telling them Bennett isn’t on the trade block. Friedman and Nick Kypreos also noted how weird it was that Treliving is the only NHL GM without a contract for next season. Neither Treliving or the Flames organization will publicly discuss the matter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames president Brian Burke couldn’t be anxious to get back into the GM’s chair again, could he? Nah, just funnin’ ya! As for Treliving’s status, he and the Flames may have already worked out the framework of a new deal that could be implemented at season’s end. Time will tell.
Kypreos also speculates the St. Louis Blues could shop pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Kelly Hrudey notes they’re also having difficulties in goal, as young starter Jake Allen is struggling. Friedman (seemingly tongue-in-cheek) suggested swapping Shattenkirk to the Tampa Bay Lightning for goalie Ben Bishop, adding Armstrong could try to free up some salary-cap space to do something else.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently observed the trade rumors linking Shattenkirk to the Oilers have been around for a couple of years. While suggesting the club’s new building and playing with superstar Connor McDavid could help lure the defenseman to Edmonton, it could cost around $6.35 million annually on a long-term deal for the Oilers to sign him. They must also re-sign McDavid and fellow young star Leon Draisaitl to new contracts this summer. He believes they’ll have to shed a $6 million annual salary (Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) to sign Shattenkirk. He also wondered if the Oilers might be interested if the Blues re-signed Shattenkirk to an eight-year deal and then put him on the trade block. Matheson also wondered what the Blues asking price would be.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After trade speculation over Shattenkirk died down after last summer, it flared back again in a big way last week. The Blues’ recent struggles obviously have a lot to do with it. If they keep losing ground in the standings, GM Doug Armstrong could be forced to act. Moving Shattenkirk could certainly be an option.
With regards to the Oilers pursuing him, unless they can re-sign him to a contract extension, they shouldn’t waste the assets on a guy who’ll likely bolt via free agency on July 1. As I said yesterday, if they were a Stanley Cup contender, I could understand chasing Shattenkirk as a playoff rental. But they’re not a Cup contender and they don’t need a potentially pricey rental player to reach this year’s postseason. Save those assets for something that can help them become a champion down the road.
Matheson also wondered what New York Islanders captain John Tavares might do when he’s eligible for UFA status in 2018. Given the club’s inability to improve, he wonders if Tavares might shop his services. He suggests the San Jose Sharks consider parting ways with aging center Joe Thornton and clear the decks to make a run for Tavares.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares to the Sharks? Hmm, that’s a new one, and not a bad suggestion, but it’s premature to start speculating over his plans. Let’s wait until this summer and see how his early contract discussions with the Isles unfold.
Matheson feels the Edmonton Oilers should take a run at acquiring Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal at the trade deadline as a No. 3 rental center. Speaking of the Coyotes, he also said he’s hearing they could trade young winger Anthony Duclair.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes recently demoted Duclair, so I don’t see them looking to move him just yet. Of course, if they get a good offer, they could think about it.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders what the New Jersey Devils could get from the St. Louis Blues by offering up veteran starting goaltender Cory Schneider. He speculates at least a top-six forward such as Jaden Schwartz as part of the return. Schneider has a no-trade clause, but Brooks believes Devils GM Ray Shero should stock up with assets by exchanging a goalie “whose timetable doesn’t seem to mesh with his team’s.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, by the time the Devils become perennial playoff contenders, Schneider will be past his prime. It’s an interesting suggestion from Brooks, but I’m not sure Shero shares that view right now.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan recently reported a league source claimed the Coyotes and the agent for pending UFAs Martin Hanzal and Michael Stone had not discussed terms for new contracts since the offseason. Morgan wouldn’t be surprised if the Coyotes traded Stone, but suggests Hanzal’s status is more complex depending upon the term he’s seeking. It’s believed he’s looking for a minimum of three years but could accept two if the annual salary was much higher.