Latest on the Capitals, Bruins & Hurricanes – May 5, 2017
Should the Washington Capitals trade Alex Ovechkin this summer? Are the Boston Bruins shopping Ryan Spooner? What’s next for the Carolina Hurricanes? Read on for the latest in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: With the Washington Capitals facing another early playoff exit, TVA Sports hockey insider Renaud Lavoie wonders if management might consider “thinking the unthinkable” and see if they can move captain Alex Ovechkin for a good return.
“I’m thinking about a big trade that’s going to be help two franchises,” said Lavoie. “Is it possible, is it feasible in the cap era? I don’t know. But they need to think about that, because they have so many good things. They have unbelievable players.”
Lavoie acknowledged Ovechkin isn’t solely responsible for the Capitals playoff woes. However, if things aren’t working, perhaps a change is in order.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Lavoie isn’t saying Ovechkin will be dealt. He’s merely suggesting the Caps should consider that prospect. Could Ovechkin be traded? As the old saying goes, if Wayne Gretzky can get traded, anyone can. But there’s significant factors working against such a move.
First and foremost, it needs the blessing of Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who has a good relationship with Ovechkin and could be unwilling to move his franchise player. If he’s against it, the deal won’t happen unless Ovechkin requests a trade.
Ovechkin’s contract is a significant stumbling block. He’s got four years remaining on his deal at an annual cap hit of over $9.5 million ($10 million annually in actual salary) with a 10-team no-trade clause. With the cap ceiling not expected to significantly rise for next season, good luck finding a team on Ovechkin’s list of acceptable trade destinations willing to take on that cap hit.
Third, the potential return. Swinging a deal that benefits both teams is a difficult task. The Capitals will seek a significant return that could potentially gut the roster of their trading partner.
Add those factors up and it’s unlikely we’ll see a blockbuster deal this summer involving Alex Ovechkin.
THE HOCKEY NEWS’ Ryan Kennedy reports the Boston Bruins are entertaining offers for restricted free agent forward Ryan Spooner. “I’ve heard New Jersey, Vancouver and Vegas as potential destinations,” said Kennedy.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty speculates the Bruins will look outside their organization for a left-side defenseman to skate alongside promising blueliner Charlie McAvoy. However, they’ll face competition from clubs such as the Tampa Bay Lightning seeking a similar defenseman. While Spooner could have some trade value it won’t trump what the Lightning could offer, especially if they’re willing to part with left wing Jonathan Drouin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins hope to use Spooner to acquire a decent defenseman they might have to include a draft pick or prospect as a sweetener. Spooner will still have some value but clubs will now look at him as a reclamation project. Perhaps the Bruins can target teams that risk losing a defenseman in the expansion draft or those in need of shedding salary this summer.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock believes Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis is entering a critical summer in his rebuild of the club. Francis has yet to swing a major trade for an elite player. His club needs a center who can play on one of the top two lines, a scoring winger and a third-pairing defenseman or two.
The Hurricanes are well-stocked with draft picks and entering a summer where teams face salary-cap pressure and the risk of losing good player to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. There could be no better time for Francis to use his depth in trade bait to land impact players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis appears to have started that process, having shipped a third-round pick that belonged to the Ottawa Senators to the Chicago Blackhawks for pending unrestricted free agent goalie Scott Darling. With $41 million invested in 14 players, the Hurricanes have plenty of cap space, though their internal cap ceiling may be lower than the league’s. Still, they have the cap room and the depth in picks and prospects to make at least one significant move this summer.