Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 5, 2017
Latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, Ben Bishop, Kevin Bieksa, Jonathan Drouin, Scott Darling and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports it’s believed Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee is targeting Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. He’s the best goalie that’s available and Kypreos suggests he could be a franchise-type player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury must agree to waive his no-movement clause in order to be exposed in the expansion draft. If he doesn’t, the Penguins could trade him to a club of his choosing or buy him out before the June 17 due date for submitting their draft protection list.
Kypreos also reports the Montreal Canadiens were believed in on winger Alex Burrows prior to his trade from the Vancouver Canucks to the Ottawa Senators. What stopped it was the $5 million contract extension the Sens were willing to give him. Elliotte Friedman said up to eight teams were interested in Burrows.
On Friday, Friedman told Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 he believed the Calgary Flames revisited their interest in goaltender Ben Bishop prior to his trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Los Angeles Kings. Friedman noted the Flames’ interest in Bishop last summer, where the goalie believed he was close to being dealt to Calgary. He said he’s heard through the grapevine the Flames offered Bishop a six-year, $6 million contract, which Bishop was prepared to accept before the deal fell through.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the Flames do about their goaltending this summer. After a rough first half of the season, Brian Elliott’s improved of late. But even if he backstops them into the playoffs, I’m not convinced they’ll re-sign him. Bishop will be a tempting option via free agency, but it could cost more than six years at $6 million annually to get him.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun recently stated his belief that there could be fireworks in this summer’s trade market as teams attempt to deal with the expansion draft and a possible flat salary cap for next season. The Colorado Avalanche are expected to field offers for forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, but could find themselves in competition with other clubs also looking to move big name talent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun points out, the Avs pretty much had the trade market to themselves this season when it came to moving name talent. That could change this summer, especially if the expansion draft and a stagnant cap forces clubs to move some star players. Could make for some interesting intrigue once the playoffs end in mid-June.
LeBrun also expects the Ducks will move a defenseman for both expansion draft purposes and to re-sign Cam Fowler, who has a year remaining on his current contract. He anticipates blueliner Kevin Bieksa could be asked to waive his no-movement clause. In order to protect winger Jakob Silfverberg, LeBrun speculates they could look at protecting only three defensemen and trading one in his offseason. If they move one of their top-six rearguards, teams such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames could come calling.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bieksa could agree to waive his movement clause if he feels the Golden Knights might pass on him. Being a veteran blueline in decline, he might not be an enticing expansion-draft target. The Ducks still have lots of depth on the blueline. If they re-sign Fowler, they’ll also have Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen on long-term deals. They could shop one of them, or perhaps dangle Josh Manson (provided he’s not taken in the expansion draft), Shea Theodore or Brandon Montour (both are exempt from the expansion draft) to bring in some depth at forward.
Speaking of the Lightning, LeBrun thinks acquiring a top-four defenseman is a priority for them this summer. Such a move, however, could cost them one of their top-six forwards. He notes Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are restricted free agents in July. Drouin could become a subject of interest but LeBrun feels the Bolts prefer to keep him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning now have just over $55 million invested in 13 players. Assuming a marginal rise in the cap to $74 million, they’ll have roughly $19 million to re-sign Drouin, Johnson and Palat. GM Steve Yzerman’s proven to be a wizard at getting his notable free agents to accept less than market value to remain in Tampa Bay. However, this summer could be his biggest challenge. He could retain Drouin on an affordable bridge contract but Johnson and Palat are eligible for arbitration and will seek significant raises. Johnson’s name was floated at times this season as a possible trade candidate.
LeBrun also suggests this summer could see trade activity involving goaltenders. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury and the NY Islanders’ Jaroslav Halak “will await trades”. He also speculates the Detroit Red Wings could shop Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek and wonders if the Colorado Avalanche will try to move Semyon Varlamov and the remaining two years (worth $5.9 million annually) of his contract. While Ben Bishop, Brian Elliott and Steve Mason are among the notables eligible for unrestricted free agency, Chicago’s Scott Darling could attract interest from teams such as Calgary, Winnipeg, Dallas and Philadelphia.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury and Halak could also be bought out before the June 17 date for teams to submit their expansion draft protection lists. Howard or Mrazek could be left unprotected by the Wings. Ditto Varlamov by the Avs, though his injury history and inconsistency could keep him in Colorado. Of the UFA goalies, Darling could certainly prove enticing for clubs seeking an affordable potential starter. He’s played very well in a backup role in Chicago and seems ready for a larger role elsewhere.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa speculates the Washington Capitals won’t be able to afford to re-sign recently acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who’s eligible for UFA status in July. He anticipates the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers could pursue Shattenkirk this summer.
Shinzawa also thinks the Calgary Flames, Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes could be possible destinations this summer for pending UFA goalie Ben Bishop.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets and Stars could also get into the bidding for Bishop. The Stars could trade or buy out either Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi, who each have a year left on their respective contracts. One of them will also be exposed in the expansion draft, but Vegas could pass.