NHL Draft Day Rumor Mill – June 23, 2017
Latest on Travis Hamonic, Jason Pominville, Sami Vatanen, Alex Radulov & more in your NHL Draft Day rumor mill.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders defensemen Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan appear to be the most attractive trade targets for other teams. He said there was “strong chatter” on Thursday that Hamonic could be on the move ” possibly for a young forward and a draft pick.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Bob McKenzie yesterday reported of speculation the Isles could seek two first-round picks for Hamonic. They’ve obviously set a high price for him, but I doubt they’ll get two first-rounders. If they’re serious about moving Hamonic they could end up accepting a young player or first-round pick. We’ll find out soon enough.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis reports Flames GM Brad Treliving is working the phones in search of a defenseman. One option is Islanders blueliner Travis Hamonic. Another could be Vegas Golden Knights rearguard Marc Methot.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher continues to ponder the possibility of moving one of his defensemen during the upcoming NHL draft. There’s been strong interest in Jonas Brodin all month. Marco Scandella has also attracted interest, especially from his hometown Montreal Canadiens, but by Thursday talks seemed to cool. It’s believed Fletcher has had lots of discussions with the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning. Fletcher is open to receiving “an immediate player” in return but he could also accept draft picks and prospects, allowing him salary-cap flexibility to re-sign key players.
It’s also believed Fletcher tried to move right wing Jason Pominville and his $5.6 million annual cap hit. He has a 10-team no-trade list which rises to 20 teams by July 1. It’s thought Fletcher recently spoke to the Boston Bruins regarding Pominville.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds as though Fletcher might prefer moving Scandella over Brodin. No indication if he’s had any discussions regarding Matt Dumba. Of the three, Scandella could be most likely to go.
As for the 34-year-old Pominville, his production has declined over the past couple of years. Unless Fletcher is willing to pick up a good chunk of the winger’s cap hit or take back a toxic contract, I don’t think he’ll find many takers.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington suggests Wild blueliners Jonas Brodin or Marco Scandella could be good fits on the Sabres blueline. He wonders if offering up Evander Kane would land one of those d-men, though he probably wouldn’t be a good fit under their salary cap. Harrington cautions that trading Kane would leave the Sabres searching for a scoring forward.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Curtis Zupke reports there is still believed to be heavy interest in Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen in the trade market. There’s also speculation Ducks GM Bob Murray could try to move veteran Kevin Bieksa despite his no-move clause.
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked to Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller and are also among the clubs that pursued Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen, However, the Ducks gave up defenseman Shea Theodore to Vegas to protect Vatanen and Josh Manson in the expansion draft and could either keep both or set a high price for them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t fully rule out a Vatanen trade, especially if the Ducks get an offer of a good scoring winger. However, the departure of Clayton Stone and Shea Theodore via the expansion draft could make Murray reluctant to move Vatanen now.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports hearing Montreal Canadiens right wing Alexander Radulov seeks a six-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $7 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If that’s what Radulov truly wants, he can forget about re-signing with the Canadiens. And good luck finding any takers elsewhere in the NHL for that price.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is in the market for a top-nine winger and a defenseman, Yzerman isn’t fussy if the winger is a right- or left-handed shot. He also said he’s had some talks with teams regarding a blueliner. Smith observes the Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild are getting offers for blueliners. If the Colorado Avalanche trade Matt Duchene for a defenseman, Tyson Barrie could be available.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall could be in the market for a goaltender. His tandem for next season consists of Michal Neuvirth and Anthony Stolarz. “Hextall may make a deal at the draft or he might pursue the goalie free-agent market July 1. Among the prospective free-agent goalies besides Steve Mason: Jonathan Bernier, Brian Elliott, Anders Nilsson, Keith Kinkaid, and Ryan Miller.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not many suitable options available for Hextall via the trade market or free agency. I expect he’ll do something via one option or another but finding a quality starter in his playing prime seems unlikely.
TSN: The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly close to re-signing defenseman Kris Russell to a four-year deal worth around $4 million annually. The deal could be in place by today.