Latest on the Senators, Sharks & Devils – May 27, 2017
Possible offseason moves for the Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks & New Jersey Devils in your NHL rumor mill.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators face some tough decisions this summer. He speculates pending UFA forward Viktor Stalberg could be re-signed. Tommy Wingels was little used in the playoffs and could be purely a rental player. They also have to reach a decision on backup goalie Mike Condon, while it’s doubtful veteran forwards Chris Kelly and Chris Neil will be re-signed. Restricted free agent center Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s solid playoff performance will help him get a raise but the Sens won’t want to over-pay for his services.
Regarding their expansion protection list, Garrioch notes Bobby Ryan’s no-movement clause only covers him for the minors and thus he can be exposed, but his playoff performance could give them pause. However, his colleague Don Brennan believes Ryan’s playoff efforts merits protecting him. Garrioch also wonders if Sens GM Pierre Dorion will ask Dion Phaneuf to waive his NMC to protect another defenseman in the expansion draft. Dorion could then cut a side deal with the Vegas Golden Knights not to select Phaneuf.
SPECTOR’S NOTE:The draft rules state that players with effective no-movement clauses must be protected unless they agree to waive it. However, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported last November that Ryan can be exposed in the draft because his no-movement clause actually applies only to demotion to the minors. Leaving Ryan unprotected could be risky, but his big contract ($7.25 million annually for five more season) could be unpalatable for the Golden Knights.
Dorion faces some interesting decisions regarding the expansion draft. If Phaneuf doesn’t waive his NMC and Dorion protects three blueliners, they risk losing Marc Methot or Cody Ceci to Vegas. Should Dorion opt to protect four defensemen, a forward such as Derick Brassard, Kyle Turris, Ryan Dzingel or Jean-Gabriel Pageau could be exposed.
CSN BAY AREA: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked which players on the San Jose Sharks are most likely to be traded this summer. He suggests they draw upon their blueline to bolster their offense. He believes Justin Braun, who carries a reasonable $3.8 million salary-cap hit for three more seasons, could be intriguing to clubs with depth at forward.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent live chat, Mike Heika speculated Sharks forward Patrick Marleau or Los Angeles Kings winger Jarome Iginla might be interested in playing for the Dallas Stars next season. Both players are eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kurz has called for Sharks GM Doug Wilson to shake things up with a blockbuster move this summer. It remains to be seen if Wilson follows his advice and if Braun becomes part of the deal. He and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are a solid, reliable defense pairing for the Sharks and Wilson could be reluctant to break that up.
As for Marleau, he could prefer signing with a good Western Conference club if he and the Sharks part ways. However, I have my doubts he’d be a good fit with the Stars, who could prefer adding a younger forwards.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Andrew Gross recently chatted with New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero regarding his offseason plans. He’s obviously not tipping his hand as to his plans with the first-overall selection in next month’s NHL draft. Shero isn’t closing the door on the possible return to the Devils of Ilya Kovalchuk, though that decision rests with the veteran winger.
There’s no plan to move goaltender Cory Schneider, who wants to stay and the club wants to keep him. While Shero noted anything can change with one phone call, Gross doesn’t see many destinations (Calgary?) for Schneider this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Schneider getting dealt this summer. If Shero’s willing to entertain offers for his starter or the first-overall pick, he’ll want a significant return. Kovalchuk could decide to return to the Devils, but the overall consensus among the punditry is a sign-and-trade scenario on July 1 appears likely.