Updates on the Red Wings & Bruins – April 29, 2017
Check out the latest speculation on the Detroit Red Wings & Boston Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: In two recent mailbag segments, Helene St. James answered questions about possible offseason moves by the Red Wings. She believes general manager Ken Holland must explore a trade involving one of his goaltenders. Jimmy Howard has two years left on his contract ($5.3 million annual cap hit) while Petr Mrazek has a year left at $4 million. She speculates Mrazek might intrigue Dallas Stars GM (and former Wings scouting director) Jim Nill. Both could also be exposed in the June expansion draft.
St. James also thinks the Wings could take a run at center John Tavares if he doesn’t re-sign with the New York Islanders, but they’ll have to wait until next summer when he’s eligible for UFA status to try and sign him. Moving Howard or Mrazek could add to their current $6 million cap space, with Dallas, Calgary and Winnipeg among the clubs that will be in the market for help between the pipes. The Wings need blueline depth and could target clubs at risk of losing a defenseman via the expansion draft, such as the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild.
MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan believes Wings forward Tomas Tatar has more trade value than Gustav Nyquist. While he thinks the Wings prefer to retain Tatar, he feels they could trade him and another asset for a defenseman such as Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba. Khan doubts they’ll expose Mrazek in the expansion draft. If they decide he’s not their goalie of the future they could try to move him before that draft. He feels Howard is most likely to be made available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland could try to trade Howard before the expansion draft rather than lose him for nothing. Still, if the Vegas Golden Knights select Howard, it’ll clear over $5 million in cap room to put toward improving the blueline. I don’t think Howard or Mrazek will interest the Stars, Flames or Jets unless one of those clubs miss out on better talent in the trade and free-agent markets.
If Holland goes the trade route to bring in a quality defenseman he could dangle Tatar. However, I think clubs will have more interest in forwards such as Dylan Larkin or Anthony Mantha.
As for pursuing Tavares, I doubt Holland will try to acquire him via trade this summer. If he does, such a move would gut the Wings of their best young players. If Tavares hits the open market, he probably won’t be interested in signing with a rebuilding team.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty recently reported Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney “listed the “middle of the [forward] lineup, transition-minded defensemen and the backup goaltender position” as places he had in mind for offseason upgrades.” Specifically, Sweeney needs to find a left wing to be paired with David Krejci, revamp their underachieving third line, add another top-four defenseman and find a reliable backup goalie.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reported Sweeney also faces a decision with restricted free agent forward Ryan Spooner, who regressed this season after putting up 49 points last season. Noting the decline in the 25-year-old Spooner’s performance at the tail end of the last two seasons, Shinzawa doesn’t think he deserves a raise from the Bruins. He also believes the Bruins must add a “No. 2 left wing, No. 3 center, and left-side defenseman.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have over $62 million invested in 18 players for 2017-18. The expansion draft could free up a bit more salary for them, but they still won’t have a lot of room to address those needs. Buying out the disappointing Jimmy Hayes will free up over $1.7 million next season, so I can see them going that route.
I don’t see Spooner being re-signed. He was occasionally mentioned in trade speculation during the season and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins try to shop him before the expansion draft. Whether they find any takers is another matter.
Pastrnak is coming off an entry-level deal and due for a significant raise. Sweeney could re-sign him to an affordable two-year bridge deal with the promise of a more lucrative contract after that.
Should Sweeney look into the trade market for a second-line left wing or a top-four defenseman it could cost him one of his good young players. You can bet teams will be interested in promising Charlie McAvoy but that will be a deal breaker for the Bruins.
I’ve also heard some recent speculation suggesting pending UFA right wing Jarome Iginla might return to the Bruins because he and his family are moving to Boston, but I wouldn’t read too much into that. Honestly, I don’t see how signing the aging Iginla would address the Bruins’ needs.