Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 14, 2017
Latest on the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues in your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks singles out Alex Ovechkin for the Washington Capitals’ seventh series loss in their last nine playoffs for a lower-seeded team. Ovechkin turns 32 before next season), his physical style has taken its toll and his production declined this season. He has four years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of over $9.5 million.
“That makes him tradeable only for a player or combination of players carrying a similar obligation, and only to a team for which Ovechkin would waive his no-move clause.”
Brooks wonders if the Los Angeles Kings might consider such a deal if Marian Gaborik could be part of the package going to the Capitals. However, he speculates they could instead prefer taking another run at landing Ilya Kovalchuk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anyone can be traded, including Ovechkin, but unless Capitals owner Ted Leonsis blesses the notion I don’t expect him to move. If they do shop Ovechkin and if the Kings are on his list of preferred trade destinations, I don’t think there’s a deal that helps the Capitals. I certainly don’t see them taking a fading, banged-up Gaborik as part of the deal.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa lists Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin, San Jose’s Brenden Dillon, the New York Islanders’ Calvin de Haan and Washington’s Nate Schmidt as left-shot defensemen as possible trade targets for the Boston Bruins. Those teams could prefer shopping those blueliners rather than risk losing them for nothing to the Vegas Golden Knights in next month’s expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins won’t be the only clubs targeting those teams. The Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks could also come calling.
Shinzawa also thinks the Detroit Red Wings could be players in this summer’s UFA market for Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The blueliner could use the Wings as leverage in hopes of driving up his asking price with a club that could be a better fit for his services.
He notes the Lightning need a right-shot defenseman. If they consider moving one of restricted free agent forwards (Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat), that could free up cap space for Shattenkirk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Shinzawa points out, Shattenkirk is the best defenseman in this summer’s otherwise barren free-agent market. He recently stated that wherever he goes, he wants to play a bigger role. He’ll be seeking a long-term deal worth over $6 million annually. While he’s a skilled puck-moving defenseman he could struggle to handle a top-pairing role.
Prior to his trade to the Capitals, the Tampa Bay Lightning reportedly attempted to acquire him from the St. Louis Blues. However, the deal fell through because he apparently wouldn’t commit to a long-term deal. Combine that with his less-than-stellar play in this year’s postseason and the Lightning could be looking elsewhere.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford recently reported Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic told a Denver radio station last week that there’s going to be a lot of turnover for his club this summer.“We’re going to get some younger guys in here. We’re expecting to be a much quicker team and a much more competitive team.”
Halford writes that it appears the Avs core consists of two untouchables (Nathan MacKinnon and Miko Rantanen) “and may or may not include the likes of Matt Duchene, Tyson Barrie and captain Gabriel Landeskog.” He also wonders what the future holds for disappointing center Carl Soderberg and how they’ll remodel their struggling defense corps.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the Avs trade speculation this season focused upon Duchene and Landeskog. Once the playoffs end and the NHL Draft weekend (June 23-24) approaches, their names will surface frequently in the rumor mill. During this season, it was speculated the Avs sought three or four pieces for Duchene or Landeskog. With more quality players potentially becoming available next month, Sakic could be forced to lower his asking price.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford reports we shouldn’t expect much roster upheaval this summer for the St. Louis Blues. Their lone unrestricted free agent is Scottie Upshall while Colton Parayko, Nail Yakupov and Magnus Paajarvi are their notable restricted free agents.
Rutherford notes Blues GM Doug Armstrong will keep searching for that hard-to-find big center but he doesn’t see Armstrong gutting the roster to pursue the New York Islanders’ John Tavares or Colorado’s Matt Duchene. The Blues might be unable to trade center Jori Lehtera but he could be lost in the expansion draft. Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson could also be exposed in that draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After the upheaval of losing David Backes and Troy Brouwer last summer and Kevin Shattenkirk via trade this season, the Blues could consider only affordable veteran additions and focus mainly on promoting from within.