Latest on the Ducks, Jets & Sharks – May 24, 2017
Ongoing speculation over the Anaheim Ducks’ possible offseason moves, the Winnipeg Jets face a tough decision about Toby Enstrom and the uncertain futures of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau with the San Jose Sharks in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox examined several offseason issues facing the Anaheim Ducks. Because of no-movement clauses carried by Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa, the Ducks must protect them in next month’s expansion draft, though general manager Bob Murray could try to convince Bieksa to waive his.
Failing that, Murray risks exposing a good young forward such as Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silfverberg or leaving a blueliner such as Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Hampus Lindholm or Josh Manson unprotected in the draft. Blueliners Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are exempt. Because of the Ducks need for scoring, Fox suspects they’ll attempt to protect Rakell and Silfverberg.
Fox also speculates Murray could attempt to move a blueliner before the draft. He lists the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Buffalo Sabres among the clubs with young scorers to tempt the Ducks GM.
The 32-year-old Perry’s production declined this season. Moving him and his $8.6 million cap hit won’t be easy. Buying out Bieksa is an option to protect another defenseman in the expansion draft, but because he falls into the 35-plus category, the Ducks would remain on the hook for his full cap hit.
They must also reach a decision on whether to re-sign defenseman Cam Fowler, who’s a year away from UFA eligibility, to a contract extension and make decisions on pending UFAs such as Patrick Eaves, as well as determine who will be goalie John Gibson’s backup next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray could try to convince Bieksa to waive his movement clause by suggesting the Golden Knights might pass on drafting a 35-year-old blueliner in the expansion draft. Remains to be seen if Murray approaches Bieksa or if the veteran defenseman takes that gamble.
Murray could try to swing a deal with the Golden Knights to ensure they pass on selecting a key player left exposed in that draft, but the price could be high. If Murray opts to move one of his defensemen in exchange for a young forward, Vatanen is oft-mentioned as the likely trade candidate.
Like Fox, I doubt Perry will be shopped. The Ducks will hope he has a bounce-back performance next season.
Fowler will likely be re-signed this summer to a lucrative long-term extension. If the 33-year-old Eaves is willing to accept a reasonable short-term deal, he could be re-signed.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe wonders if the Winnipeg Jets will ask veteran defenseman Toby Enstrom to waive his no-movement clause for next month’s expansion draft. That would allow the Jets to protect one goalie, three defensemen and seven forwards. If he doesn’t, the Jets could be forced to protect four blueliners and four forwards, creating the possibility they could lose a forward to the Golden Knights. Enstrom, 32, is in the final season of his contract with a $5.75-million salary-cap hit. If he waives his clause, Wiebe mulls the possibility of Vegas taking Enstrom off the Jets’ hands.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Enstrom waives his clause, I’ll be very surprised if the Golden Knights select him. His best seasons appear behind him and he’s been hampered by injuries in recent seasons. Still, if he agrees to be exposed in the draft, it would help Jets management protect another player.
CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz reports veteran forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau still face uncertain futures with the San Jose Sharks. He claims there’s no backroom handshake deals between the two and GM Doug Wilson that would allow the club to protect other players in the draft. The duo remain unrestricted free agents.
Of the two, Kurz speculates re-signing Thornton appears the priority, citing his value as a skilled center and leader. If Thornton still seeks a three-year deal, Kurz feels it’ll cost at least $5 million per season. Marleau’s future appears murkier, suggesting it doesn’t make sense to invest more than one year in him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton and Marleau likely want to remain with the Sharks. The expansion draft and uncertainty over next season’s salary-cap ceiling complicate things. Wilson could push for a two-year, bonus-laden deal with Thornton and a one-year one for Marleau. They could decide to test the market, but they might not get better offers elsewhere.