NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2017
Latest on Matt Duchene, Thomas Vanek, Marc-Andre Fleury, Shane Doan and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the asking prices haven’t changed for Colorado Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, that being three or four high-end pieces, with one of them being an NHL-ready young defenseman. Conventional wisdom suggests they’ll likely get that return in the offseason.
Darren Dreger reports the New York Islanders have some interest in Duchene. He suggests offering up blueliner Travis Hamonic as part of the return might interest the Avs, noting Hamonic has resurfaced in the rumor mill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles have been linked to Duchene since November. Acquiring him would be a significant move and would also send a message to captain John Tavares and disgruntled Isles fans that ownership wants to win. Whether they can afford that big asking price at the deadline or this summer, however, is another matter. GM Garth Snow could be focused on more affordable options right now.
Pierre LeBrun reports the trade market hasn’t heated up yet for Detroit Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek, perhaps because of his poor playoff performance a couple of years ago with the Montreal Canadiens. LeBrun expects interest will grow leading up to deadline day.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the limited depth in available scorers at the deadline, interest in Vanek should pick up between now and the 3 PM ET deadline tomorrow. Playoff contenders in need of scoring include the LA Kings, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks.
Dreger reports there isn’t much interest in Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, leaving Pens management somewhat baffled. However, they’re also willing to retain him for the remainder of the season and deal with this issue in the offseason.
LeBrun reports Montreal Canadiens are still shopping for offensive help at forward.
McKenzie said the Detroit Red Wings are talking contract with pending UFA blueliner Brendan Smith. If unable to re-sign him, the Wings could put him on the trade block. The New York Rangers could be interested in Smith.
McKenzie also suggests the rights to St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka, who’s currently in the KHL, could be available. He still owes the Blues a year.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the St. Louis Blues attempted to create a bidding war between the Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who was ultimately dealt last night to the Capitals. Brooks claims the Blueshirts will turn their attention toward a depth defenseman and perhaps a top-nine forward.
CSN MID-ATLANTIC.COM: J.J. Regan speculates the Capitals might not be done dealing, as they need to bring in some forward depth in case there’s an injury over the remainder of the season.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Bill West reports Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said he’s been talking with GM Jim Rutherford regarding his options leading up to the trade deadline. “We’ve been talking,” Fleury said of himself and general manager Jim Rutherford. “We’ll keep talking until Wednesday. We’ll see what happens.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the report last night by TSN’s Darren Dreger is any indication, Fleury could still be a Penguin when the deadline passes tomorrow. Not much of a market right now for starting goalies. Fleury also hold a modified no-trade clause on a contract that runs through 2018-19 at an annual cap hit of $5.75 million, which isn’t easy to move in-season.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports deadline day could be quiet for the Arizona Coyotes. Having already shipped out Martin Hanzal, Michael Stone and Ryan White, there’s speculation wingers Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata could be next. However, the Coyotes haven’t asked Doan to waive his no-movement clause and expressed no desire to trade him. Teams interested in him are either playoff bubble clubs or interested in acquiring him as a depth forward, neither of which are attractive to Doan. Vrbata’s situation is murkier, for while he could be attractive to clubs seeking a scoring winger, his bonus clauses could complicate a trade.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe reports Jets winger Drew Stafford could interest clubs seeking depth at forward, such as the Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and New York Islanders. Wiebe believes the Jets would have to pick up part of Stafford’s remaining cap hit ($4.35 million) on his expiring contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries limited Stafford to just 12 points in 39 games this season, but he’s only a year removed from tallying 21 goals in 2015-16.