NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2017
Updates on Kevin Shattenkirk, Brian Boyle, Martin Hanzal, Jannik Hansen, Patrick Eaves & more in your NHL rumor mill.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports the St. Louis Blues had a deal in place to move defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk six weeks ago. However, the blueliner spiked the deal, which would’ve given him a seven-year, $42-million contract extension ($6 million annually). The Blues are now shopping Shattenkirk as a rental player. He also spurned a deal last summer that would’ve sent him to the Edmonton Oilers for winger Taylor Hall, who was eventually shipped to the New Jersey Devils. While Shattenkirk lacks a no-trade clause, these deals were dependent upon his willingness to re-sign with the gaining club. As a rental, the Blues are reportedly seeking a first-round pick, a top prospect and perhaps a lesser-tier NHL player.
The Blues are also discussing a contract extension with pending unrestricted free agent center Patrik Berglund. Rutherford reports there’s mutual interest from both sides to get a new contract in place. He’s completing a three-year, $11.1 million contract.
TSN: Bob McKenzie also reports on three occasions the Blues had conditional deals in place to move Shattenkirk. While a sign-and-trade is still possible, it has to be the right city, the right team and the right contract offer. Darren Dreger claims the Toronto Maple Leafs are an interested suitor, as are the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Montreal’s TSN 690 he and his colleagues believe St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is going to be traded. He feels the Blues want to avoid losing Shattenkirk to free agency in July, having seen Troy Brouwer and David Backes do the same last summer. Dreger has said the asking price for the Blues defenseman is a prospect and a first-round pick, and perhaps a third piece depending on the quality of that pick and prospect.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The big question is whether a rival club is willing to pony up that asking price for a rental player. That’s a pretty stiff asking price for a player who could bolt via free agency in July. If the Blues are really keen to move him at the deadline, they could end up accepting a lesser return.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun thinks the Arizona Coyotes would like to move center Martin Hanzal by the weekend, though that could change depending upon the offers. Hanzal’s getting interest from Western Conference teams, though the Montreal Canadiens are among the few Eastern clubs still looking at him.
Dreger reports Dallas Stars winger Patrick Eaves is generating a lot of interest. Ten to twelve teams are said to be looking at Eaves and Dreger expects he’ll be gone before the deadline.
McKenzie said the Calgary Flames are scanning the market for a goaltending upgrade, but if the prices are prohibitive they’ll stick with the current tandem of Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson.
LeBrun said the Florida Panthers are looking for a top-nine rental forward.
McKenzie speculates the Chicago Blackhawks could be in the market for an affordable depth forward.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion, with the blessing of team owner Eugene Melnyk, is working the phones in search of players to help his club reach the playoffs. With three top forwards (Bobby Ryan, Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone) sidelined, Dorion’s getting lots of calls from rival GMs willing to help the Sens bolster their forward depth if they’re willing to pay the price.
Dorion’s already rejected the notion of sacrificing his future for a quick fix. It’s believed he’s expressed interest in Colorado Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, but they’re not rental players and the asking price are high. Garrioch speculates Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal, Dallas Stars winger Patrick Eaves, Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula, Detroit Red Wings winger Thomas Vanek and Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen could be on Dorion’s radar.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eaves, Boyle and Vanek could be the best options. Hansen could also make an affordable pickup, provided his addition doesn’t complicate their expansion draft plans.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger’s recent appearance on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 saying the Vancouver Canucks are in position to do some business leading up to next week’s trade deadline. Goaltender Ryan Miller’s name is out there, but he has a five-team list of preferred trade destinations, three of those being California clubs. The Canucks haven’t close the door on re-signing him.
Winger Jannik Hansen has another season at $2.5 million left on his contract. Dreger said there’s been some interest, though not a tremendous amount. He feels Hansen could attract interest of teams such as the Ottawa Senators who are in need of an affordable scoring winger.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes Canucks winger Jannik Hansen is garnering a lot of interest from many teams, in part because he still has a year left on his contract. If the Canucks move him, they want a young player or a top prospect for Hansen. The Minnesota Wild could have interest but they could look more at a bottom-six rental.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I really don’t see much of a market for Miller leading up to the trade deadline. Hansen certainly seems to be their best trade chip, perhaps netting them a second-round pick. But if they’re insistent on a young player or top prospect, they could find it difficult to move him. Alex Burrows also reportedly got some interest but I think at best they get a third-round for him.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Edmonton Oilers will be keeping an eye on Tampa Bay Lightning center Brian Boyle leading up to the trade deadline. The Bolts could entertain offers for the versatile Boyle, who also has considerable playoff experience. The Oilers are the NHL’s worst faceoff team and could benefit by adding Boyle as their No. 3 center. Matheson notes the Lightning need Boyle if they’re to reach the playoffs, but they risk losing him this summer to free agency, especially with Tyler Johnson, Jonathan Drouin and Ondrej Palat to re-sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers won’t be the only club looking at Boyle. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs are also said to be interested, and I think he’ll be a good fit with the Montreal Canadiens.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is pondering his options as the trade deadline approaches. He acknowledged that improving his depth at forward could be his club’s biggest need to have sufficient depth for a long playoff run. Fletcher doesn’t want to add players with term remaining on their contracts because of the limited number of players he can protect in the June expansion draft. He also doesn’t have a lot of salary-cap space to work with at the trade deadline.
Fletcher admits he’ll have to get creative, such as getting a trade partner to retain some cap space or by trading a player or two from his current roster. Despite rumors suggesting defenseman Marco Scandella or winger Jason Pominville could be available, Fletcher said he doesn’t have interest in those sort of moves right now. Russo listed possible rentals options include Dallas’ Patrick Eaves or Tampa Bay’s Brian Boyle. Arizona’s Martin Hanzal could also make sense but the Coyotes set a high asking price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher’s made some notable moves in deadlines past, but I don’t think he’s looking at a significant acquisition this time. An affordable pickup like Eaves or Boyle seems the more likely options. Fletcher has the blueline depth to pursue bigger targets, but he’s already said he prefers to keep his defense intact for the playoffs.