NHL Rumor Mill – June 7, 2017
Latest on Jordan Eberle and Evander Kane in your NHL rumor mill.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: On Monday, David Staples noted TSN’s recent trade-bait list included right-shot defensemen such as Sami Vatanen, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba and Travis Hamonic. He wondered if the Oilers could peddle right wing Jordan Eberle for one of the notables on that list, especially one of those blueliners.
If they do, they’ll likely wait until after the expansion draft as landing another defenseman could leave the Oilers having to protect four blueliners, raising the risk of losing a forward in the draft and potentially weakening their depth at right wing.
If Eberle is shopped, Staples suspects it’ll take place after the expansion draft and to teams with salary-cap space that lost scoring depth in that draft. Swapping Eberle for another forward could also be an option.
Staples followed up on Tuesday, noting TSN’s Darren Dreger maintains his insistence that Eberle was definitely getting traded. While GM Peter Chiarelli has received some offers he hasn’t had one yet than he’s willing to accept yet. “Just for fun”, Dreger suggested swapping Eberle for Hamonic.
Oilers insiders Bob Stauffer and Mark Spector also discussed Eberle’s trade status, suspecting the “change is good” theme for Eberle could be “agent speak.” Stauffer also agreed with suggestions from listeners to his show that shipping Eberle for a lesser, more affordable forward, such as the Islanders’ Ryane Strome, might make sense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Chiarelli is keen to move Eberle, either for a defenseman or another right winger, to shed the winger’s $6 million cap hit (or as much of it as possible) in order to clear cap space to re-sign Leon Draisaitl this summer and Connor McDavid before next summer.
I agree with Staples that it makes more sense to move Eberle after the expansion draft, though maybe Chiarelli is looking at some wheeling and dealing with the Vegas Golden Knights to ensure they don’t pick an exposed player the Oilers prefer to keep. Perhaps Eberle’s agent is stoking the trade chatter but we don’t know that for sure. I expect we haven’t heard the last of the Eberle trade chatter.
WGR 550: Howard Simon believes the timing is perfect for the Buffalo Sabres to trade left wing Evander Kane. He points out the Sabres’ need to bolster their blueline and considers the 25-year-old winger the best trade chip to address that issue, though he also suggests the Sabres might have to toss in a top prospect or their first-round pick (eighth overall) in this year’s draft.
While acknowledging the Sabres would lose an asset by trading Kane, his value is high right now. He is also eligible next summer for UFA status and could seek a significant raise over his current six-year, $31.5-million deal. He wonders if Kane could fetch a quality d-man such as Jake Muzzin of the Los Angeles Kings.
VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma wonders if the Vancouver Canucks are ready to make a trade for Kane. He notes the winger would bring proven scoring skills to a Canucks club lacking those attributes at left wing. Offering up Chris Tanev ($4.45 million cap hit) would financially justify acquiring Kane in the short term, though it could make it difficult to re-sign other players next summer.
While Kane has made headlines for his selfish and stubborn behavior off the ice, he does have his defenders who believe the Vancouver native would respond well to more structure. Kuzma concludes that if Kane has finally turned the corner off the ice, it could be worthwhile for the Canucks to at least kick the tires on a trade.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Bob McKenzie telling Vancouver’s TSN 1040 yesterday that he’s unsure of the Canucks’ interest in Kane. He points out the club twice expressed interest in Kane. The first time the Sabres weren’t that keen on moving the winger. The second time, talks moved along for a while they suddenly ended. McKenzie believes it was the Canucks bringing those discussions to a halt. He adds he knows a number of teams have shown some interest in Kane but he doesn’t know if the Canucks are among them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This might be a good time to move Kane, but it appears the Sabres’ asking price will be a top-four defenseman such as Muzzin or Tanev. It’s also possible the Sabres could move Kane to one club for another asset, which they could flip to a third club for a blueliner.
There’s no denying Kane’s skills are enticing, but his previous off-ice escapades and his UFA status next summer could hurt his trade value. As with Eberle, Kane is likely to remain a fixture in the rumor mill over the next several weeks.