NHL Rumor Mill – April 20, 2017
Latest on Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, Calgary Flames goalie Brian Elliott, and more in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Montreal’s TSN 690 he doubted Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s free-agent value is unlikely to be adversely affected by his performance thus far in the 2017 playoffs. While Dreger noted Shattenkirk is perceived as a power-play specialist who’s not great at even strength, that won’t prevent a team from signing him to an expensive long-term deal in July.
NJ.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Chris Ryan said the New Jersey Devils “will likely have Kevin Shattenkirk or Karl Alzner targeted in their with hopes of landing one — if not both — since they certainly have the cap space.” He believes adding more defensemen who can generate offense is a priority for the Devils. He can also see the Devils use their depth in draft picks to add some NHL-ready talent via trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils currently have over $51.6 million invested in 15 players for next season, more than enough to make a big-money offer to Shattenkirk and/or Alzner. However, the duo could put their focus on joining playoff-ready clubs instead of a rebuilding team. I agree with Dreger’s take that Shattenkirk’s less-than-stellar play thus far in the 2017 playoffs won’t significantly hurt his free-agent value this summer.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis believes goaltender Brian Elliott played his final game with the Calgary Flames. An unrestricted free agent in July, Elliott failed to provide the Flames with reliable goaltending this season. Before the Flames opening-round series against the Anaheim Ducks, Francis said it seemed likely the Flames would entertain the notion of re-signing the 32-year-old Elliott. However, his inconsistent play against the Ducks has dashed that possibility. He expects backup Chad Johnston to return as the Flames backup, ” but let the Ben Bishop rumours begin”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliott didn’t play well enough to earn a new contract with the Flames. I expect they’ll revisit their previous interest in Bishop, who’s also a UFA in July. I also believe they’ll take a look at more affordable options via free agency, such as Chicago’s Scott Darling. They could also look at Antti Raanta of the New York Rangers or Philipp Grubauer of the Washington Capitals via trade.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford believes the Vancouver Canucks should avoid bringing in expensive veteran free agents in the 30s this summer. That includes Canucks goalie Ryan Miller. Botchford suggest the Canucks instead focus on adding prospects. He also suggests using their $17 million in cap space for 2017-18 to move up in the draft order by targeting clubs in need of shedding cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a trade rumor but I felt it worthwhile to pass along. Remains to be seen if Canucks management follow Botchford’s advice.