NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2017
Players in need of a change of scenery plus the latest on the Stars in your NHL rumor mill.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin lists New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, forwardsDaniel and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk and Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson as several players who could benefit from a change of scenery. He suggested they could be more beneficial to their clubs as trade bait this summer.
Larkin suggests the rebuilding Devils risk wasting the remaining best seasons of the 31-year-old Schneider, recommending he could be more beneficial to a club such as the Dallas Stars. Moving the Sedins could help the retooling Canucks add more draft picks and prospects for the 2017 draft and could put them in good position for the first-overall pick in 2018.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this year, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks also suggested the Devils consider moving Schneider while his value remains high. As Larkin notes, by the time the Devils are ready to become a perennial playoff contender, Schneider will be past his prime. He could fetch the Devils either a skilled defenseman or a scoring forward. The Stars would certainly be interested if they can move Kari Lehtonen and/or Antti Niemi. So would the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers, Winnipeg Jets and perhaps the Calgary Flames.
As for the Sedins, I defer to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun. “Good luck trying to move their combined $14 million in salary (each Sedin makes $7 million).”
Duchene and Landeskog would attract considerable interest in the trade market. Varlamov wouldn’t have as many suitors but Larkin feels his market isn’t non-existent, suggesting Dallas and the Philadelphia Flyers as two clubs in need of help between the pipes.
Faulk could be used to bring the Hurricanes a scoring forward such as Duchene. Moving Johnson could bring the Lightning a top-four defenseman and allow them to re-sign Jonathan Drouin and Ondrej Palat. The Bolts also have a possible replacement for Johnson in young Brayden Point.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was plenty of interest in Duchene and Landeskog before this year’s trade deadline. Once Avs GM Joe Sakic lowers his ridiculously high asking prices (good young defenseman or goaltender, first-round pick, top prospect and perhaps more), he won’t have any problem moving either guy. Sakic should still get a good return, though obviously not one as high as what he sought before the deadline. Varlamov’s lengthy injury history and $5.9 million annual cap hit through 2018-19 makes him almost impossible to move this summer.
Faulk had an off-year in 2016-17 but remains a well-regarded blueliner. The Hurricanes depth in rising young defensemen could make him expendable, especially if GM Ron Francis wants to add more scoring punch. Faulk was linked to the Avalanche in the recent trade chatter regarding Duchene.
Johnson’s name surfaced in the rumor mill prior to the trade deadline and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pops up again in trade chatter once the playoffs end in June. It remains to be seen, however, if Lightning GM Steve Yzerman moves Johnson or shops someone else.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent live chat. Mike Heika speculated the Dallas Stars could bring back 33-year-old winger Ales Hemsky on a one- or two-year deal for a considerable lower price than his current $4 million annual cap hit. He doesn’t think they’ll re-sign winger Jiri Hudler. Heika also believes they’ll find a way to move defenseman Patrik Nemeth and doesn’t expect veteran winger Patrick Sharp will return.