Latest on the Stars, Wild & Devils – April 18, 2017

by | Apr 18, 2017 | Rumors | 46 comments

Could the Dallas Stars shop forward Cody Eakin before the expansion draft in June?

The Dallas Stars could trade Cody Eakin before the expansion draft, another possible early playoff exit could lead to changes for the Minnesota Wild, and five players who won’t return with the New Jersey Devils. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent live chat with Dallas Stars fans, Mike Heika said the club will protect seven forwards and three defensemen in the June expansion draft. It’s between Jamie Oleksiak and Stephen Johns on defense and between forwards Cody Eakin and Antoine Roussel.

Heika thinks the Stars could try to trade Eakin before the June 17 deadline for submitting their list of protected players. He believes new head coach Ken Hitchcock wants to use Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and Radek Faksa at center. That would mean moving Eakin to the wing, where’s he’s not as effective. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eakin, 25, is a versatile, hardworking two-way forward finishing the first season in a four-year contract with an annual cap hit of $3.875 million. While his cap hit might be a tad high for some clubs, his youth and skills could attract interest if the Stars put him on the trade block. If they do shop him, they could seek a draft pick or a prospect in return. They could also look for a draft-exempt NHL-ready winger. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Chip Scoggins cites the Minnesota Wild’s inability to score as a frequent issue hampering the club in the playoffs. With the Wild on the verge of another early playoff exit, Scoggins suggests general manager Chuck Fletcher faces another uncomfortable offseason examining if his club is built to win or simply spinning its wheels. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild were among this season’s highest-scoring club, but their offense sputtered down the stretch and into the postseason. If Fletcher decides to shake things up, he could consider drawing upon his depth on defense. Even if he protects four defensemen in the expansion draft, he still risks losing a good young blueliner. Perhaps he’ll get creative before the expansion draft. Should the Blues finish off the Wild this week, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of speculation over Fletcher’s plans. 

NJ.COM: Chris Ryan lists Jacob Josefson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Marc Savard, Seth Helgeson and Luke Gazdic as five players who won’t return with the New Jersey Devils. Josefson is a restricted free agent and Savard an unrestricted free agent who hasn’t played since 2011. Helgeson and Gazdic are also UFAs. Smith-Pelly has a year remaining on his contract and could be left exposed in the expansion draft. 


  1. Chris Ryan has hardly climbed out on a skinny limb in citing 5 players who “might not” return with NJ. Savard is such a no-brainer that he shouldn’t even have been included in his list, while the other 4 are AHL-calibre seasonal “fill-ins” who will never become NHL regulars – anywhere, including Las Vegas.

    • Between teams that were pretty much “all-in” and the looming expansion draft we could see a lot of moving parts compared to normal.

      The protection scheme also punishes team with strong D cores. Between the set up (either protect 3 D, or expose 3 extra forwards to protect 4), the teams out there looking for D, and teams wanting to shake things up, it will be interesting.

      Also, the fact that D develop later makes it difficult. There are a ton of valuable forwards that don’t require protection, but with D it’s harder since their true value usually isn’t known until they are further along in development, meaning most valuable D actually require protection, and it’s hard to let them go after the time investment.

      It should shake up a market that was causing Defense prices to sky-rocket.

    • I’ll go out on a limb here and say Arizona will not be bring Chris Pronger back and Toronto won’t be bringing back Stephabe Robidas, Brooks Laich, Colin Greening or Ben Smith.

      • Wow. Be careful out on that limb! LOL. That’s certainly equivalent to that NJ list.

  2. I think the five players on the Devils list would have to fall under the “who cares!” category.

  3. If Oleksiak is being exposed perhaps the Rangers offer up Raanta and Staal for Oleksiak and the rights to Nichushkin.
    Stall can be left exposed for Vegas and they get a goalie who plays very well.
    Rangers get younger less expensive dman and a top 6 winger if they can pry him away from the khl.

    i think Pitts sadly is the favorite now to win the cup after seeing every game thus far =(

    • Sad for you as you hate Crosby so much. Why exactly?

    • Oh, don’t worry. When I suggested the other day that it might be premature to count out Toronto after game one I was informed by a couple of experts here that Washington would win in five. Since I don’t spend all of my time on hockey pools I was told that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Also, being a Toronto fan I generally just don’t know what I’m talking about. To be honest, the thing people don’t realize about life long Toronto fans is we are generally not overconfident after what we have seen in the past. .. which is what is making this entire series so exciting. I know I will be nervous until it is over, being up on Washington is still not a safe place to be in my opinion. It has been a great series to watch though.

      • Honestly, I’d never put money on Washington. God, they truly are becoming the SJ Sharks. If THIS Washington team can’t advance to the Eastern Finals they never will!

        Not to take anything away from Toronto.

        If Washington gets ousted in the 1st round, I’d say it will make some tough offseason decisions a lot easier.

        Staal and Raanta are not landing Oleksiak. Not even on your PS4 .

      • Hey Todd,

        I agree with you that being a Toronto fan requires cautious optimism. I must confess I loaded both of my pools anticipating a Washington trip to the Finals. I am happily watching my Leafs throw a wrinkle into my plans. If the Capitals have this much trouble with the Leafs they won’t beat Pittsburgh anyway. Your optimism for the Leafs is better than mine! Wish I was as good a fan as you. Go Leafs Go! There is much to be hopeful for with this young Leafs team this year and for many to come.

      • I meant Oleksiak + Nichushkin

      • Steven, I never said Toronto was going to win this round. I’m a fan, so I was hopeful but would not have put money on it. The post I’m talking about all I said was it’s too early to count them out after one game, in response to someone posting their prediction of the Washington Pittsburgh series in the next round. Even though just over 75% of teams that lead to games to 1 win the series it is still way too early to count out Washington. That’s playoff hockey, especially overtime games, they can go either way. It was very heartening to see Toronto come back from being behind by two though… not something they would do in the past, not even early this season.

      • Actually no 1 said any of those things, you just read it as such. These are predictions & no 1, not even the best odds maker can get them right all the time. Your opinion is just as valuable as anyone’s.

        Nothing is fact. I had it Washington in 5, it may go 5 but if so in Toronto’s favor now. I may also be wrong on the series time will tell. Toronto’s played great. They have all season, been fun to watch doing it to.

        What I wrote were my predictions. I usually hit 6 out of 8, most likely 5, there are always upsets & I don’t just pick the favorite. In the odd year you get lucky & pick 7 or 8 but very rare.

        Injuries; Boston has lost 4 of it’s top 6 D, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 6th, bad goaltending; Elliot, poor player performances especially on D; Orpik & Shattenkirk have been brutal can swing any series.

        Winning the cup requires solid performances across the board; especially in net & often you need an unsung hero. A player to make a significant contribution you didn’t foresee happening.

        Your opinion is just as valuable as mine & probably has just as much chance of happening. Come playoff time anything can happen & many of these games are a coin toss. The Monkey TSN used to use had some great years picking winners.

      • Todd enjoy the series, we all know who your talking about, but we all make predictions on here, some times we get it right and sometimes not. I was called stupid by the same person for suggesting that Weber could get traded. The flack I took for saying it was possible for PK to be traded before his NTC kicked in. They were more or less me putting out there what I’ve been hearing thru various markets. Personally I enjoy watching Toronto but if I could just block out the media hype that goes with it, would just be a little more bearable.

      • You’ll have to repost that thread. I would be shocked if I called you stupid. I may have said your trade proposal was stupid. It’s like using the F bomb using it describing a situation is far different than directing it at someone.

        My opinion of Dman being traded has never changed. Only in extenuating circumstances, a team confronted with no choice or they receive an offer to good to refuse. Weber for Subban Still shocks me, doesn’t make sense to me on numerous fronts other than the age equation which may or may not factor in.

        If Clarkson can be traded anything is possible. Although Columbus got an insurable contract for an insured 1, so not as crazy as it appears.

        Your certainly not stupid we just don’t always agree. You make great arguments, have solid insight & debate well.

      • Striker I just went back to re-read it to make sure I remembered correctly. Your post was not written as a prediction, what you exactly said was I can’t wait for the Washington Pittsburgh series. Then a few paragraphs and then Washington will win that one in seven. When another person said something about the Toronto series not being over you said that there will be three more games, maybe four because Toronto could possibly win one at home if they get lucky. When I questioned that you asked if I was in pools because you are right 85% of the time. I have no problem with anybody having an opinion or making a prediction, But you state everything as fact, you don’t say I think this will happen, my prediction is this will happen, you say I can’t wait for the Washington Pittsburgh series. Maybe if you thought about how you were posting things then people wouldn’t get offended by what you say. I’m not the only one, and when the issue is with everybody then the issue isn’t everybody. And telling me that you didn’t say that, that’s just how I read that is nonsensical. that’s what you wrote, and the tone in which you wrote it. Anyway, I am done with this argument. If you are now saying that you didn’t mean any offence then I accept that.

      • Caper, I hear you loud and clear. You’ve never been one to make condescending remarks about Leafs fans. There are however a lot of posters on here have a tough time separating knowledgeable Leafs fans from media.

        To comment on what Todd is saying. The poster in question did in fact say maybe the Leafs will win one at home. Almost saying that a sweep is expected but the Leafs might get one.

      • Yes Caper you are always respectful to other peoples opinions and were absolutely right about that trade.

      • Caper, that’s exactly what I’ve been saying for years when some labeled me a “Leafs hater” for daring to be critical of Toronto. I never “hated” the Leafs per se – wasn’t a fan in any way but never had a “thing” about any of their players (well, maybe Domi). It’s that insufferable media that passes themselves off as a “national” sports show. I have no problem with guys like Zeisberger or even Simmons and Cox – they are local journalists after all. It’s the Millard’s and MacLean’s of the world that drive me nuts.

      • Here is the post not counting it’s Pittsburgh portion.

        “Can’t wait to watch the Pittsburgh at Washington series. Tough 1 to call but I took Washington to advance. These 2 teams respective health come the quarter finals will be a huge factor in who advances to the conference finals. NO team in the playoffs has a better top 6 D & they can roll 3 lines with scoring potential. Their 4th isn’t pleasant to play against with Wilson & Beagle & Winnik are solid defensive players.
        Having 1 of the best goalies in the game doesn’t hurt either. Should go 7 games & be extremely fun to watch. A coin toss really. Schultz has played well but he isn’t Letang & Pittsburgh has other injury concerns currently as well.”

        I consider this a prediction. Consider it what you wish. I said I have; that’s a prediction. The games aren’t over yet it can’t be fact. A coin toss really!

      • Here’s Todd’s comment that started the thread.

        “Striker is infallible with his predictions, after all he did pick Toronto to finish dead last in the east this season… I am not saying Washington and Pittsburgh won’t be in the second round, but I think it’s pretty shortsighted to call it after one overtime game.”

        How does he know I had Toronto to be last? As I said so. I was wrong that’s what I came out & said. I have come out & said repeatedly when I was wrong & posted almost all of them.

        I find his post inflammatory & somewhat insulting but I’m a big boy. I don’t always state when I’m right but I do sometimes & almost always when wrong.

        I have come out & heaped tons of praise on Toronto going back to the start of the hiring of Shanahan & the team he has put in place with the exception of Lou. Not a big Lou fan but a great mentor for Hunter & Dubas if that makes any sense. He left NJ in a total mess but love his style of management, hardass but question his decision making on numerous fronts as it relates to personal & contracts in the new Cap world.

      • Here is the clarification of my discussion with Todd. I think it’s pretty clear what I was implying As I went so far as to provide some clarity.

        “Do you not go in pools Todd, either draft, box or bracket? You have to make predictions to draft a team.
        I took Washington to beat Toronto. I don’t think I’m alone & I predicted they would do so in 5.
        My regular season prediction held 85% this year. How did you fair?”

        Seems pretty clear to me.

    • Staal… while not negative value… adds little to a trade due to contract. Rantta has to be moved or lost in expansion likely. Doubt they get a young d and rights to a potential top 6 back. Now if ny took niemi back you might have a deal

    • Staal has an NMC. Nichushkin is under contract in the KHL for 1 more season. 1 never knows if the player can get out of those contracts. Terms aren’t clear.

      Regardless a pipe dream trade. Know 1’s touching Staal with out serious incentive with that contract & there is no incentive in that trade for NYR. They get the best asset in Nichushkin.

  4. Columbus had a season much like the Wild – early stunning success when far too many teams were going through the motions and they were having a ball setting records. Now neither can adjust to “play off hockey” – it showed for both down the stretch too – and will soon see their coaches/management reduced to navel contemplation as they re-think their seasonal approach to the game.

    • It will be interesting to see if the jackets can repeat their successes they will have to work just as hard catch a few few breaks and stay healthy or will they suffer the same fate as the panthers

    • I agree George O. That’s why I wonder about a shorter regular season and more playoff teams! Maybe top 6 in each division; 3-6, 4-5; 1 and 2 get a bye in a three game first round. Consider Tampa and NYI in the East, came on strong in the end. Either team there might also be pushing the Caps like the Leafs are right now.

    • George O, I think Columbus has played well and easily could have a win or two in this series. Not to mention they are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins who finished with 111pts second most in the NHL also 3 more then Columbus. Not like their losing to a slouch here.

      • Yeah, writers and fans often look at what round a team got eliminated in, but really it should be about the team faced. If Pittsburgh wins the cup, and say it’s the Rangers that make it to the conference finals against them, then get blown out of the water. Would you really think that meant the rangers had a better season?

        Last year the caps went out in the 2nd round to the Pens, but probably played them the most evenly. Same is true the firs time the pens won the cup. It’s disappointing to go out early, but I think you need to take a breath and look at how things happened before heads start rolling.

        I think more gutting will happen this year either way with expansion looming and teams like the Leafs and Oilers finding success, more teams might decide it’s a good time for a tear down than ever.

      • They are basically losing to experience and yes they games have been closer than the 3-0 series lead. This team is way more ligit than Minnesota. They have great players in every position. a little more experience and they will win a series or 2 in the future. I don’t see Minnie making the playoffs next season but I do see Columbus once again fighting for home ice advantage.

  5. I agree with the comments regarding Columbus. Not only are they playing a great Pittsburgh team they are also victim to the goofy playoff format in place right now. Who would they be playing if were a straight 1-8 format with 1 and 2 going to division winners? Sure wouldn’t be Pittsburgh. That’s not to say they would have an easy first round out either but they would very unlikely be down 3-0!

  6. It would help if Heika told us who he thinks Dallas’s keepers are when making such statements. The obvious are Seguin, Benn, Spezza, Faksa & Nichushkin. That leaves Ritchie, Eakin & Rousell as Janmark & Shore are exempt & no 1 else is of any consequence.

    At D it’s just as confusing. Klingberg & Lindell are obvious, leaving Oleksiak, Nemeth & Johns. Are any of these 3 Dman going to be more than 5 or 6 Dman? It’s taken them 6 to 7 years just to get to the NHL. Most NHL Dman have a couple hundred NHL games under their belt by the time they are 25 or 26 if they have a future as top 4 Dman.

    Are any of these potential loses of consequence? Much like NJ losing those 5 players mentioned above it’s not really news. Who cares if they lose any of these players. It speaks to the state of Dallas’s roster, especially at D.

    • Hey Striker, I think Todd is referencing you above. Time to eat some crow. FWIW I picked Pitts to Beat Anh in the cup finals, also called for Nashville to beat Chicago and St.L to beat Minny. No I did not pick Tor, Ott or MTL to win their series.

      • Happy to eat Crow. I do often & post it here. Toronto has played great, not better than I expected I assumed they would play just like they did all season. I did expect Washington to be better & didn’t expect Shatty to be this bad but he’s not good defensively & his offensive contributions virtually zero.

      • Still think Caps pull out the series. It is weird how Shattenkirk has not helped Washington, may have even hurt the chemistry.
        I guess it shows how different players fit into different systems and cultures, or that maybe he just isn’t that good.
        Sticking with my Oilers vs Capitals prediction.
        Not shocked that Nashville is up on Chicago, but am shocked by how lopsided the scores have been.
        Tough call against the B’s last night, especially after Methot punches Schaller in the head at center ice and the refs looking right at it with no call.

      • You’re right Ray – Shattenkirk is offense. Period. Back of the line he’s like Burns (who let the LEAGUE in giveaways by a country mile) and anyone who dolls out $7 mil and a long term to Shattenkirk deserves what they get.

  7. Todd,

    Sorry if I misread your prediction. But I still appreciate your optimism! Wouldn’t it be just amazing to see them win it!

    • It would be great to see Toronto advance. Wouldn’t kill me in any of my pools as everyone took Caps & Pens. I did end up with 2 Toronto players in 1 of my draft pools, Marner & JVR & 3 in the other, Marner, JVR & Gardner. Points system, # of teams & them simply being what I assumed to be the best players available at that time.

      • Hey Striker!!! Haven’t had to call my cable provider yet. We won one in their barn and ours, stay tuned, Dart Guy might be going to Pittsburgh yet!!!

  8. I think this season has been near perfection if you are a Leafs fan. All three rookies had great years, Matthews will almost certainly win the Calder.

    Squeaking into the playoffs gave us some excitement, and if they do get put out in the first round they get the experience while still getting a mid round first.

    Even drawing the Capitals is Ideal as losing to them in a year they are all in gives them a great test, but no team is under more pressure, so they give them a real chance for an upset if they can maintain momentum.

    The Leafs have done a good job building, but luck seems to be on their side as well. From winning the draft lottery, to sustaining no major injuries this year, even to their timing on the expansion draft. They are almost perfectly situated in terms of protection and they may even benefit from teams being forced to trade D, when we have seen that type of deal either costs too much or just doesn’t materialize in the past. They have a good stockpile of picks and even a few players that don’t require protection that could be very appealing to a team with protection problems. Even the fact that the teams with the biggest protection problems on D being in the west, and being more than one of them, seems like perfect timing.

    It’s been a good year for Leafs fans no matter how you slice it.

    • They are well ahead of the “Shanaplan” that’s for certain. One rookie who’s done a marvelous job for them but gets lost in the glare of Matthews, Marner and Nylander is Zaitzev. He came back in the nick of time.

      • Zaitsov Came back in the Nick of time? He Was on the ice for the first 2 goals against.
        I agree with Grapes-It could be a long 7 years

      • ya he was -2 on his first 2 shifts

      • So were 4 other Leafs.

    • Leafs have done a great job, but you’re right Danny, there has been some luck. Picking high in the draft is always preferred when rebuilding, but to pick high in the draft when there are players like Matthews available really helps build a true contender. Or being able to even get a Marner when they did. Deep draft year with multiple very good players in it.
      Example A being the Oiler’s. Picking first got them a really good player in Hall, a good player in RNH. You could be critical of the Yakupov pick over Murray (as 9 of 10 scouts wanted Murray), but he still was the consensus #1. Most GM’s pick the same guys. Picking first when McDavid is available changes everything for that franchise.
      Matthews will likely never be a McDavid, but he looks like he will become a great player. If you pick first this year? Not so much.

  9. Chris Ryan’s claim to fame is using click-baity headlines for his opinion pieces. none of those players “won’t be with the devils” per any official information released by the team as far as I can tell, though I will admit most devils fans would probably agree those 5 seem likely to be gone next season(especially savard’s contract). Since Rich Chere left I have gone elsewhere for actual news.