NHL Rumor Mill – March 22, 2017
Latest on John Tavares, Cam Fowler, Brian Elliott, Ben Bishop and Scott Darling in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports a decision could be reached on John Tavares’ future with the New York Islanders in June. If the two sides can’t reach an agreement before July, Dreger said he wouldn’t be shocked if the Isles consider trading him, perhaps during the NHL Draft in late June. However, he’s not saying the trade scenario is more likely than a new contract. Tavares is eligible for UFA status in July 2018.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles and Tavares appear motivated to get an extension in place, but much will depend upon where he sees the club’s future in the next few years. That issue, more than money, will be the determining factor. I suppose you can’t rule out the possibility of Tavares being shopped by late-June, but it’s by no means a certainty. Still, if the Isles feel they can’t re-sign him, then it certainly makes sense to move him for a reasonable return.
Pierre LeBrun also notes Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler has a year remaining on his contract. He said the Ducks have held preliminary discussions with Fowler’s camp regarding an extension. They need to know what to do with the defenseman before the expansion draft. If they can’t re-sign him, LeBrun said they may as well trade him and protect another blueliner in that draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler is earning $4 million annually on his current deal and could seek up to $6 million per on a long-term extension. It’ll be interesting to see how his situation plays out. If the Ducks decide to shop him, the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the suitors.
LeBrun also reports goaltender Brian Elliott would like to re-sign with the Calgary Flames. While the club is interested in keeping him, they don’t want any distractions right now, preferring to delay contract talks until after the end of the season.
Dreger reports Los Angeles Kings goalie Ben Bishop is looking forward to unrestricted free agency. He considers it a long shot that Bishop will re-sign with the Kings and expects a half-dozen teams are expected to show interest in the big netminder.
While Bishop stands to make a lot of money via free agency, LeBrun considers Chicago Blackhawks’ goalie Scott Darling the most intriguing name in the UFA market, as he could be ready to become a full-time starter. He thinks the Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars have Darling on their shopping lists, as he could become the next Cam Talbot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flames fail to re-sign Elliott, they could also pursue Bishop or Darling. Food for thought.