Latest on the Sabres, Ducks & Islanders – May 25, 2017
The Evander Kane trade speculation returns, another look at possible moves by the Anaheim Ducks and some speculation on the New York Islanders in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites TSN insider Darren Dreger’s appearance yesterday on WGR 550 and was asked if whoever the Buffalo Sabres hire as their new head coach will want a say in left wing Evander Kane’s future with the club.
Dreger believes that would make sense. As for what kind of return new Sabres general manager Jason Botterill could seek if he decides to shop Kane, Dreger suggests perhaps the asking price could be upwards of a second-round draft pick and perhaps a player, though he cautions that’s just his broad speculation.
He also said he hasn’t heard of the Sabres receiving a package offer for Kane since he joined Buffalo. Nichols notes the Vancouver Canucks were linked to Kane in previous trade chatter.
Nichols also cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman discussing Kane yesterday on Edmonton’s 630 CHED, noting Botterill wouldn’t discuss the winger specifically when Friedman recently spoke with the new Sabres GM. From speaking with some other teams, however, Friedman gets the sense the Sabre must make a decision on Kane’s future.The winger is a year away from unrestricted free agent status. The Sabres must either re-sign him or shop him.
Friedman also acknowledged the previous rumors linking the Canucks to Kane, suggesting they’re a possibility but he doesn’t know specific teams at this time with interest in him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: When Kane is focused and staying out of trouble away from the rink, he’s a worthwhile winger. The problem, of course, is his previous off-ice issues and his $5.25 million cap hit. Interested parties could try to squeeze the Sabres into picking up part of that cap hit. The Canucks need scoring and could have interest in the Vancouver native, but they appear more interested in rebuilding with younger players this summer.
Nichols also cited Friedman appearance Tuesday on the NHL Network discussing possible offseason moves by the Anaheim Ducks. He believes if the Ducks can re-sign defenseman Cam Fowler this summer to a long-term extension it will affect their expansion draft protection plans. Fowler’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency and a couple of GMs tell Friedman if the blueliner hits the open market he could command a $56-million contract.
Given the Ducks’ depth on defense they risk losing a blueliner in the expansion draft. Friedman speculates on the possibility rival clubs could have interest in Sami Vatanen. “And hey, if you were Dallas and Anaheim, would you do Vatanen for the third overall pick?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Fowler will be expensive for the Ducks but I believe they’ll get it done this summer. He’s become indispensable to their defense corps.
Vatanen appears to be the guy most often appearing in Ducks trade rumors. If Anaheim seeks a return that won’t adversely affect their expansion draft protection list, perhaps the third-overall pick could tempt them.
NEWSDAY: In a recent mailbag segment, Arthur Staple fielded questions from New York Islanders fans regarding possible offseason moves. He believes the Isles will protect defenseman Ryan Pulock in next month’s expansion draft, though he doesn’t rule out the possibility he could be included in a trade if management tries to bolster the depth at forward. He suspects Toronto’s James van Riemsyk and Minnesota’s Eric Staal have the Isles on their “do-not-disturb” list.
Staple doesn’t see the Isles moving John Tavares (provided he re-signs a contract extension), Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss, Mathew Barzal and Josh Ho-Sang.He also thinks they’ll have interest in winger Ilya Kovalchuk if the cost of acquiring him from the New Jersey Devils is minor.
Staple suggests it could be difficult to get Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ladd to waive their no-movement clauses to allow themselves to be exposed in the expansion draft. He speculates the Isles could opt to protect four defensemen and four forwards in the expansion draft. He points out the Isles cannot buy out Mikhail Grabovski this summer because he won’t be medically cleared by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Tavares re-signs the Isles must find him a reliable scoring winger. Kovalchuk could fill that need, provided his new contract and the Devils asking price isn’t expensive. If Tavares won’t commit to a new deal this summer, they could be forced to entertain offers for him. It’s unlikely the Vegas Golden Knights would select Boychuk or Ladd in the expansion draft but they could still be unwilling to waive their NMCs.