NHL Rumor Mill – February 20, 2017
Updates on the Flyers, Islanders, Canucks and Panthers plus the latest on Kevin Shattenkirk and more in your NHL rumor mill.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes it’s time for Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall to go into sell mode, as he considers it unlikely the current roster can play well enough over the remainder of this season to clinch a playoff spot. He advocates shopping pending UFA blueliners Mark Streit, Nick Schultz and Michael Del Zotto for some draft picks and perhaps a backup goalie who can be exposed in the expansion draft in order to protect Anthony Stolarz.
Carchidi also suggests shopping one of their goaltenders, proposing either Michal Neuvrith or Steve Mason could be a good backup option for the Edmonton Oilers. He believes the Flyers should entertain offers for one of their core players such as captain Claude Giroux, citing the decline in his performance this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The next week will likely determine if Hextall becomes a seller, but it’s difficult to argue with Carchidi’s logic. Even if the Flyers make the playoffs, they’ll likely be a first-round-and-out club. If there’s a market for the defensemen and goalies Carchidi listed, Hextall should take advantage of it.
I doubt any of the Flyers’ core players will be in play at the trade deadline. Unless Giroux is playing hurt this season, the decline in his play could be cause for concern. Perhaps this is an issue Hextall examines in the offseason.
CSNNE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty once again voiced his opposition of the Boston Bruins parting with a promising blueliner such as Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy to acquire either Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog. He considers the fact the Avs are willing to trade Landeskog, their captain, as a red flag and notes Duchene’s only topped 55 points three times and is a career minus-46.
As for St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, Haggerty believes acquiring him only makes sense for the Bruins if the Blues lower their asking price or if Shattenkirk lowers his contract asking price of seven years and $7 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins reportedly seem keen on Landeskog, who would certainly bolster their depth at left wing, but I don’t see them overpaying for his services. Shattenkirk could be a tempting trade target, but given the promise of Carlo and McAvoy, perhaps the Bruins will consider a more affordable and shorter-term option to buy some time until those kids are fully ready.
ESPN.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Custance pointed out the expansion draft in June could complicate contracts signings of unrestricted free agents before the trade deadline. He cites Detroit Red Wings left wing Thomas Vanek as an example, noting that if the Wings re-sign him, he could still be left exposed in the expansion draft. Re-signing a free agent now could also force a club to expose another player they might prefer to keep.
In addressing some hypothetical trade suggestions, Custance also doesn’t think the Toronto Maple Leafs are willing to part with forward William Nylander to acquired St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. If the Blues are willing to do a “sign-and-trade” with Shattenkirk for a reasonable eight-year contract, Custance thinks it could be worthwhile for the Red Wings to part with one of their young forwards as part of the return to get him. However, he doesn’t advocate the Wings parting with their first rounder in this year’s draft, as it’s the first time in year’s they’ll have a high pick. He also feels the Wings could seek a promising defenseman for Vanek leading up to the trade deadline.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple speculates the New York Islanders’ recent improvement could have general manager Garth Snow thinking about bolstering his roster, either in the short or long term, by the trade deadline. Staple suggests Dallas Stars winger Patrick Sharp and either Arizona Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata or center Martin Hanzal as possible rental options.
He also said the Isles have had interest in Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene since November but Snow might not wish to meet the high asking price of “a top-flight defenseman, a good young prospect and a No. 1 pick at minimum.” Coyotes winger Anthony Duclair could be another option. Staple doesn’t expect the Isles will bring back Thomas Vanek or P.A. Parenteau.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago, the Isles would’ve been considered sellers at the deadline. Their impressive improvement since then could tempt Snow to go shopping for a rental player or two. I don’t see them chasing Duchene at the deadline, though I wouldn’t rule it out in the offseason if the asking price becomes reasonable. I don’t think the Coyotes intend to part with Duclair despite his disappointing sophomore season.
VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports the Vancouver Canucks have “three marketable assets” leading up to the trade deadline in forwards Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows and goaltender Ryan Miller. All carry no-trade clauses, but GM Jim Benning “will talk to players about possibly waiving no-trade clauses during the club’s mandated five-day break that starts Monday.” Kuzma notes Hansen has the most value, but the winger’s also made it clear he prefers to stay in Vancouver.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this season, Benning said he wouldn’t approach those players about waiving those clauses. The fact he’s changed his mind suggests he could be getting some calls from rival GMs. Kuzma also points out family considerations could also affect any decision to waive their respective clauses.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien cites a recent interview by Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon with NHL.com saying he’d like to add some help to his surging club’s power play before the trade deadline. O’Brien wonders if Arizona Coyotes winger Radim Vrbata might interest Tallon.