NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2017
Suggested moves for the Ottawa Senators plus the latest on the Carolina Hurricanes & Vancouver Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance suggests the Ottawa Senators should try to convince the Vegas Golden Knights to take winger Bobby Ryan in the expansion draft, sign Jean-Gabriel Pageau to a long-term contract extension and make room on their blueline for promising defenseman Thomas Chabot.
Custance cites Ryan’s strong playoff performance as something Sens management could build upon to contact the Golden Knights to work out a deal to select the veteran winger, though he acknowledges it’ll take a “serious sweetener” to sway them into taking the remaining five years ($7.25 million annual salary-cap hit) off their hands. He also considers Pageau a Selke Trophy-caliber defensive forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Pageau and finding a spot for Chabot will be much easier to accomplish than convincing the Golden Knights to take Ryan’s fat contract. It could take tossing in a good young player plus picking up a good chunk of his annual cap hit. Even then, I doubt Knights GM George McPhee will go for it. I believe he wants to build a roster made up primarily of young, affordable talent with upside.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis still has plenty of early draft picks to tempt the Vegas Golden Knights into ensuring “the right player” gets selected in the expansion draft. DeCock speculates Francis could try to convince Golden Knights GM George McPhee to clear the Hurricanes logjam in goal by selecting a goalie such as Eddie Lack, rather than a forward such as Lee Stempniak.
Francis also has a lot to offer teams at risk of losing a good forward in the expansion draft (Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators or New York Rangers) who might be willing to entertain trade offers. The Hurricanes GM admits he’s open for business, acknowledging the unique situation he’s in with his high number of picks and promising prospects.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Francis will be very busy this summer. He’s already made a significant move by acquiring goaltender Scott Darling from the Chicago Blackhawks for a draft pick and re-signing him to a long-term contract and I suspect he isn’t done dealing.
The Hurricanes need scoring depth and Francis could certainly pursue a forward from clubs that face exposing a good one in the expansion draft. Francis also has over $45 million invested in 16 players for 2017-18. While he won’t spend to the salary-cap ceiling he will still have plenty of room to take on a good forward with term remaining on his contract. He could target clubs that need to shed salary next season, such as the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning remains hopeful of convincing free agent goaltender Ryan Miller to return to his rebuilding club. Benning also insists he’s not shopping defenseman Chris Tanev, noting it’s other GMs bringing him up in conversations. Unless he gets an offer “that makes sense for our future,” the Canucks GM said he’s not trading Tanev. He also has no plans to move blueliner Alex Edler.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keeping Miller around for another season could help provide stability in goal as the Canucks transition toward Jacob Markstrom and promising Thatcher Demko. Provided Miller wants to return for a reasonable term and price, re-signing him could be a worthwhile short-term move. Given Miller’s likely preference to remain on the west coast, the Canucks could be his best option.
Tanev and Edler are usually brought up by pundits suggesting they’ll make good trade chips to bring in a scorer, a top prospect or a high draft pick. Unless Benning gets that kind of offer, and it doesn’t appear as though he’s received anything like that so far, there’s little reason for him to move either guy.