NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2017
The Vegas Golden Knights are open for business. Here’s the latest speculation on which UFAs they should pursue and more in your NHL rumor mill.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Steve Carp recently reported Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee could acquire a veteran player with a huge contract in the expansion draft. McPhee said he’s had a lot of teams calling him looking to shed big contracts. He’s willing to do so if the teams include draft picks for this year and beyond.
McPhee also said he could make his first trade within the next few days and shot down a rumor suggesting he look into acquiring Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently listed Anaheim’s Patrick Eaves, Arizona’s Radim Vrbata, Boston’s Drew Stafford, Buffalo’s Dmitri Kulikov, Carolina’s Jay McClement, Florida’s Thomas Vanek, Minnesota’s Martin Hanzal, Ottawa’s Mike Condon, San Jose’s Patrick Marleau, Toronto’s Matt Hunwick, Vancouver’s Ryan Miller and Washington’s Kevin Shattenkirk as 12 unrestricted free agents the Golden Knights should target with his 72-hour exclusive negotiating window.
Fox also recently listed the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues as five cap-strapped clubs in need of shedding salary. He included the Golden Knights with the Winnipeg Jets, New Jersey Devils, Arizona Coyotes and Carolina Hurricanes among teams with the cap space to help out those clubs by taking on a toxic contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McPhee will be a very busy general manager over the remainder of this month. He’s obviously not having any difficulty finding a general manager willing to talk trade.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli last week reported McPhee could be close to a deal whereby he select Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft on the condition he also acquire center Marcus Kruger via trade. Seravalli’s colleague Pierre LeBrun also reported a team was trying to tempt the Golden Knights GM into taking on a toxic contract by including a first-round pick in the deal.
Fox’s colleague Elliotte Friedman recently said the Columbus Blue Jackets were trying to get McPhee to take the contract of all-but-retired winger David Clarkson off their hands.
Of those free agents listed by Fox, Eaves, Kulikov, Vanek, Hanzal, Condon and Shattenkirk are the best of the bunch. I doubt McPhee will have much success wooing Shattenkirk, as the New Rochelle, New York native could prefer signing with an East Coast playoff contender.
Condon could be a good addition if the goalie market in the expansion draft proves thinner than expected. Hanzal, who spent most of his NHL career in Arizona, might consider Vegas as an option. If Kulikov has fully recovered from the back injury that hampered him last season, he could prove a worthwhile affordable signing.