NHL Rumor Mill – February 11, 2017
Updates on Kevin Shattenkirk, Evander Kane, William Nylander and Bobby Ryan in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN/SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk spoke with the Toronto media prior to his club’s 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto regarding the trade rumor swirling about him in recent week. Pierre LeBrun reported Shattenkirk said he wasn’t troubled by the speculation, acknowledging it helped that he received less intense press coverage in St. Louis. Chris Johnston reported the blueliner was aware his status as an unrestricted free agent this summer and his club’s current struggles could result in a trade. While a sign-and-trade scenario is possible, it’s not a priority for him right now.
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran doubted the Leafs are a fit for Shattenkirk. He cited the expense of re-signing the blueliner (at least $6 million annually on a long-term contract) and the need for sufficient salary-cap space to re-sign their rising young stars in the near future. McGran also believed the Leafs won’t part with one of their prized young assets for Shattenkirk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun and Johnston believe Shattenkirk will likely be dealt by the March 1 trade deadline, as the Blues can’t afford to lose him for nothing as they did last summer with David Backes and Troy Brouwer. The difference between their situation and Shattenkirk’s is the Blues were considered a Stanley Cup contender last season, while they’re struggling this year to remain in playoff contention. I expect the speculation will only increase leading up to deadline day.
As for the Leafs, if they’re smart they’ll look for more affordable options better suited to their rebuilding plan. They should target clubs with depth in young defensemen, such as the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild. Those clubs are likely to lose a promising blueliner in the June expansion draft, which could make them receptive to a trade.
WGR 550: Brayton J. Wilson reports Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray isn’t actively shopping left wing Evander Kane. However, he wouldn’t rule out a trade for the right offer. He went on to praise Kane’s game, citing his physical style and speed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In my opinion, the right offer is a good young defenseman ready to play a role on the top-four. If someone comes calling with that deal, I think Murray will listen.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman notes some people get crazy whenever Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander gets mentioned in trade rumors, suggesting the reason is there’s so few rumors right now. While noting Leafs coach Mike Babcock isn’t a big fan of some aspects of Nylander’s game, Friedman doesn’t believe management’s in a rush to move the youngster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs were offered someone like Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, I think they’ll seriously consider it. But that offer’s not coming. In my opinion, if the Leafs decide to go shopping for a top-four defenseman, they’ll do it this summer, and they should use left wing James van Riemsdyk as bait, not Nylander. van Riemsdyk is a year away from free agent and will be expensive to re-sign. Nylander’s yet to reach his full potential and should be a key part of their future.
PRO HOCKEY RUMORS: Mike Furlano cites TSN’s Darren Dreger’s recent AMA on Reddit speculating the Ottawa Senators could leave winger Bobby Ryan expose in this June’s NHL expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leaving Ryan exposed is no certainly he’ll be claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights. He’s got five years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $7.25 million, which could prove too rich for the Knights. While he has a no-movement clause, the language in that clause actually allows him to be exposed in the draft.