Latest on the Blackhawks, Canadiens & Stars – May 19, 2017
Potential trade targets and trade bait for the Chicago Blackhawks, the risk of trading Alex Galchenyuk and the Stars are opening to moving their 2017 first-round pick. Details in your NHL rumor mill.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Hine looks at possible trade targets and trade bait for the Chicago Blackhawks to get below next season’s salary cap. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights are one option as they carry plenty of salary-cap space and must build their roster. The Hawks could lose center Marcus Kruger to the Knights in the expansion draft. Vegas might also be in the market for a veteran presence such as winger Marian Hossa or defenseman Brent Seabrook, provide they’re willing to waive their no-movement clauses.
The Carolina Hurricanes have plenty of cap space and could benefit from a veteran presence on their blueline. Having taken on the remainder of Bryan Bickell’s contract last summer, Hine wonders if the Canes would be willing to take on another big Blackhawks contract.
Another option is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are looking to upgrade their blueline. They could be a destination for some Hawks veterans willing to waive their NMCs to join a club primed to contend. The Blackhawks could have an eye on Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent status. Other possibilities include the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars.
Seabrook, Duncan Keith, forwards Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Artem Anisimov carry full no-movement clauses. Of these, Anisimov’s been rumored to be on the trade block. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson has a partial no-trade listing 10 preferred trade destinations. Kruger lacks a no-trade and seems the most likely to be traded, though Hine speculates the Blackhawks could be squeezed to add a young prospect in the deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews, Kane and Keith aren’t going anywhere. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman might have regrets over giving Seabrook over $6 million per season on a long-term deal. Getting the blueliner to agree to waive his NMC and finding a taker for his contract is a daunting challenge. Forget about moving Hossa; he turns 39 in January, his best years are behind him and his contract stretches through 2020-21.
If Anisimov is willing to waive his NMC he will attract interest from clubs seeking scoring depth at center or left wing. The 28-year-old is signed through 2020-21 at a reasonable $4.55 million per season. Halmarsson could also draw some attention.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Yvon Pedneault reports of ongoing speculation in Montreal suggesting Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will trade forward Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Nathan Beaulieu this summer. While Pedneault anticipates Beaulieu has likely played his final game with the Canadiens, he advises caution in dealing Galchenyuk. He points out the Boston Bruins dealt away Tyler Seguin, who went on to become a scoring leader with the Dallas Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin is obviously a better player than Galchenyuk but I understand Pedneault’s concern. Galchenyuk has offered tantalizing glimpses of his offensive skills. At 23, he still has several quality seasons ahead of him. However, he hasn’t blossomed as hoped into a reliable scoring center, something the Habs desperately need. Bergevin could use Galchenyuk as trade bait to address that need this summer.
TSN: Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill is open to moving his first-round selection (third overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for a current NHL player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every NHL GM holding a high draft pick is usually willing to at least listen to offers. Doesn’t mean they’ll find what they want or will move that selection. Nill could be looking to bring in a good, established NHL defenseman to bolster his blueline.