NHL Rumor Mill – June 8, 2017
Latest on Sami Vatanen, Jordan Eberle, Mike Smith, Chris Tanev & more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks aren’t feeling pressure to move a defenseman before the upcoming NHL expansion draft. He said teams are lining up with interest in Ducks blueliner Sami Vatanen, with Toronto, Tampa Bay and New Jersey among the suitors. He also said the Ducks intend to protect blueliner Josh Manson from the expansion process.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for concerns that Vatanen’s recent shoulder surgery will adversely affect his trade value. While Ducks GM Bob Murray might not feel under the gun to ship out a d-man, I think it’s inevitable that he does so before the expansion draft. It’s also possible Murray could work out a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights to ensure they pass over one of their unprotected rearguards, but I’m not sure how he could make that work.
Darren Dreger reports of developing interest in Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle, saying the New York Islanders are among the interested clubs. The Isles appear likely to move a defenseman (perhaps Travis Hamonic?). However, Dreger said the Oilers value Eberle, who was second on the club behind Connor McDavid in puck touches this season, and they’re not about to give him away.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers might value Eberle, but if there’s an opportunity to shed his $6 million salary-cap hit and bring in a solid asset on defense or right wing in return, GM Peter Chiarelli won’t hesitate to make that move.
LeBrun said the Arizona Coyotes are listening to offers for goaltender Mike Smith, but they’re not going out of their way to move him. The Calgary Flames are among the suitors, though LeBrun feels their focus is on Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith also reportedly submitted an eight-team no-trade list recently to Coyotes management. Tat’s not unusual as it’s among the terms of his contract. The Coyotes might intend to get younger in goal, but they currently have no one in their system capable of replacing Smith as their starting netminder. If they can’t find a suitable option via trade or free agency, I think they hang onto Smith for next season.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited Elliotte Friedman telling Buffalo’s WGR 550 that a lot of teams have expressed interest in Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev. He knows the Sabres are one of those clubs, and he could see the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars also being potential suitors for Tanev’s services. The Canucks, however, are telling teams they’re not parting with him easily and could set an big asking price.
Friedman’s colleague Luke Fox listed the Sabres, Stars, Leafs, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning as smart trade destinations for Tanev.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the Canucks are getting inquiries into Tanev’s trade status and it’s only right that they at least listen. But I get the feeling they’re not exactly keen to deal him. If there’s a great offer, sure, they should consider it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Tanev is still with the Canucks when the curtain rises on next season.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports adding a top-four, left-shot defenseman is among the Boston Bruins’ offseason priorities. Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen, Minnesota’s Matthew Dumba and Jonas Brodin and Colorado’s Tyson Barrie are among the names believed available for the right price in this summer’s trade market, with Brodin the only left-handed shot in that group.
Haggerty reports of ongoing trade discussions between the Bruins and Wild which started leading up to the March trade deadline. He believes Brodin would be an ideal fit alongside promising Bruins blueliner Charlie McAvoy.
There’s indications the Wild, who dealt away their 2017 first-round draft pick to Arizona in the Martin Hanzal trade, want to get back into the opening round. Bruins GM Don Sweeney has indicated he’s willing to discuss dealing his first-round selection (18th overall) for the right price. The Wild also need to clear some cap space to re-sign Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter.
Haggerty wonders if a package of the Bruins’ first round pick plus restricted free agent forward Ryan Spooner might tempt the Wild.
TVA SPORTS: cites StarTribune.com’s Michael Russo could shop blueliner Matt Dumba before the expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Bruins and Wild could swing a deal that serves their mutual interests. The Wild risk losing a good defenseman in the expansion draft while the Bruins need to bolster their defense corps for next season.
Moving out Brodin’s $4.16 million annual cap hit would give them over $15 million (assuming a $73 million cap ceiling) in cap space to re-sign Granlund, Niederreiter and perhaps Erik Haula and Christian Folin. Not sure if they’d have a need for Spooner but he could prove an affordable re-signing for them too.
However, Russo’s comment about Dumba could throw a spanner into Haggerty’s trade scenario. It’ll be interesting to see what moves the Wild have in store over the next couple of weeks.