NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2017
A look at some possible trades by the Vegas Golden Knights heading into tonight’s NHL expansion draft.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie had an early-morning tweet storm listing several rumored deals involving the Vegas Golden Knights. He speculates as many as eight teams (Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and perhaps the Minnesota Wild and Florida Panthers) could have trades in place with Vegas.
Regarding the Ducks, it’s believed Vegas will pass on Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson by selecting Clayton Stoner. In return, they could also receive Shea Theodore. It’s presumed the Panthers could swing a deal to get the Golden Knights to pass on Jonathan Marchessault, but McKenzie wonders if Vegas could get Marchessault and Reilly Smith from Florida and then move one or both. He notes there was talk about secondary expansion deals involving those two.
McKenzie also hears talk of Vegas taking the contract of defenseman Jason Garrison off the Lightning’s hands. TAMPA BAY TIMES’ Joe Smith is also hearing the Bolts have deal in place with Vegas. He speculates they could package either Garrison or Andrej Sustr along with a prospect to the Golden Knights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Vegas GM George McPhee’s been a busy man since the imposition of the expansion draft roster freeze on Saturday. He’s looking to load up on draft picks and prospects to stock his youth pipeline. He’s likely to continue wheeling and dealing after the roster freeze is lifted tomorrow at 8 am ET.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports there’s a chance Minnesota Wild restricted free agent forward Erik Haula could sign with the Golden Knights today. “If that occurs, the Wild won’t lose defensemen Matt Dumba or Marco Scandella, center Eric Staal or any of its other unprotected players when the expansion team announces its initial roster later in the night.” The Golden Knights have a 72-hour window allowing them the opportunity to speak with restricted and unrestricted free agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unlike the trades where teams are packaging a draft pick or prospect to steer Vegas toward selecting certain players, the Wild won’t have to part with an asset if Haula signs with the Golden Knights.
TSN: Frank Seravalli yesterday reported the Toronto Maple Leafs were in talks with the Golden Knights in hopes of landing one of the players the latter selects via the expansion draft. Vegas GM George McPhee is willing to move some defensemen, prompting Seravalli to speculate on the possibility of the Leafs targeting Marc Methot (Ottawa), Colin Miller (Boston), Matt Dumba (Minnesota) or Sami Vatanen (Anaheim).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Dumba and Vatanen won’t be going anywhere so we can take them out of this equation. Methot or Miller, on the other hand, could be in play if Vegas selects them and decides to flip one of them for a draft pick or prospect.
SPORTSNET: In his latest 30 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman reported he isn’t sure what the Pittsburgh Penguins are giving up to the Golden Knights in exchange for the latter’s expected selection of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the expansion draft. Vegas is expected to get David Clarkson, a first-round pick, a prospect and perhaps another player (William Karlsson?) from the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’re also reportedly getting a first-round pick and Mikhail Grabovski from the New York Islanders. Friedman wonders if the Carolina Hurricanes might offer up a draft pick to Vegas if they select either Cam Ward or Eddie Lack.
Talks between the Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres regarding left wing Evander Kane have reportedly cooled. Friedman wonders if the Kings could look at Nashville’s James Neal if he’s selected by Vegas in the expansion draft. He also believes the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs could have interest in Marc Methot if the Senators lose him to Vegas. Both clubs, however, could be on his no-trade list. The Dallas Stars could also be an option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights will select 30 players, but obviously they won’t keep all of them. One or two, perhaps more, could be flipped to rival clubs for draft picks, prospects or promising young players. They also have plenty of salary-cap space to use to their advantage with cap-strapped clubs.
Speculation persists that the New York Islanders could make a big move soon. They’re linked to Colorado’s Matt Duchene, Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle and Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk. Rumors link Anaheim Ducks pending UFA goalie Jonathan Bernier to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Vancouver Canucks are apparently offering Ryan Miller an incentive-laden contract. Chad Johnson, who was recently dealt to the Coyotes, could return to the Calgary Flames via free agency.
Having dealt away Mike Smith and opting not to re-sign Shane Doan, the Arizona Coyotes could make some moves. Rangers fans speculated on a Derek Stepan/Antti Raanta-type deal. The Coyotes were interested in Stepan last year but that deal was dependent on something else happening, which obviously didn’t occur. The Rangers have also set a high asking price for Raanta.
The $75 million salary cap makes it tight, but not impossible for the Washington Capitals to re-sign pending UFA T.J. Oshie. Friedman also reports pending UFA winger Jarome Iginla is planning on playing next season.