NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2017
Updates on Matt Duchene, Alex Galchenyuk, Jordan Eberle and many more in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s appearance yesterday on Edmonton’s 630 CHED where he mused over possible trade destinations for Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene.
When asked about the possibility of the Avs shipping Duchene to the Montreal Canadiens for Alex Galchenyuk, Friedman said he believes it’s more than likely the Habs will try to trade Galchenyuk though it’s not 100 percent he’ll be moved. He also suggested the Ottawa Senators as a possible destination for Duchene, noting they have prior interest in the Avs forward.
Darren Dreger appeared on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 to discuss what the Anaheim Ducks could seek in return for defenseman Sami Vatanen. “Matt Duchene is going to get traded – at least that’s my view – in this off-season. Is Matt Duchene what the Anaheim Ducks are looking for? Probably not, but you never know.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duchene for Galchenyuk seems to make the most sense if the Avs and Habs wish to move those players. It remains to be seen, of course, if those clubs are willing to make that move. The Senators had interest in Duchene two years ago, but after their surprising playoff run this year, they might have other plans in mind.
The Ducks have sufficient depth at center. While Duchene can skate on the wing, I don’t think his $6 million cap hit is a fit in Anaheim unless the Avs are willing to pick up a healthy chunk of it.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Friedman also appeared on NHL Network yesterday discussing possible moves by the Minnesota Wild. With the Wild carrying limited salary-cap space and facing the loss of a good player via the upcoming expansion draft, they could make a move.
Friedman believes it’s possible Nino Niederreiter or Mikael Granlund could be dealt. Both are restricted free agents this summer and Friedman notes Niederreiter’s name came up in the rumor mill earlier this spring. He also believes they don’t want to leave winger Jason Zucker exposed in the draft.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Wild senior VP of hockey operations Brent Flahr admitted his club has spoken to other clubs, but his team is hoping to work something out with the Vegas Golden Knights regarding the expansion draft. He suggested it’s doubtful the Wild makes a major move before June 21. While the club could be forced to choose between exposing Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba or Marco Scandella in the draft, Flahr indicated that it might be better to lose a player that way rather than make a bad trade.
It’s also believed the Wild have spoken to the Dallas Stars regarding the third-overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Nill seeks a defenseman in return. Flahr dismissed the notion of that trade becoming a reality for the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has said he’s “all ears” regarding offseason trade offers, but Flahr’s remarks suggest they’re not going to make a move just for the sake of not losing a player to Vegas for nothing. I still wouldn’t rule out a possible move by the Wild if they get a decent return that’s exempt from the expansion draft.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples agrees with TSN’s Dustin Nielson’s suggestion that the Vegas Golden Knights could be the best destination for Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle. In this scenario, the Oilers ship Eberle to the Knights for a defenseman they select in the expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Knights certainly have the cap space to take on Eberle’s $6 million annual salary through 2018-19. It’s an interesting theory, but Golden Knights GM George McPhee has forewarned not to expect his club to be a dumping ground for clubs carrying a contract they want to get rid of. If he sticks by that, you won’t see Eberle skating for Vegas next season.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Chris Hine wonders if the Blackhawks recent signing of Czech defenseman Jan Ruutta means they’re preparing to move blueliner Trevor van Riemsdyk. There was speculation last week claiming the Hawks were working on a deal in which van Riemsdyk and center Marcus Kruger could end up with the Vegas Golden Knights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carrying over $77 million in salary-cap payroll for 2017-18, the Blackhawks must shed salary this summer. Moving out Kruger and van Riemsdyk would free up over $3 million in cap space. Signing Ruutta certainly seems like they’re laying the groundwork for moving out van Riemsdyk. Whether he and Kruger end up in Vegas remains to be seen.
CSN MID-ATLANTIC: J.J. Regan casts doubt on recent speculation suggesting the Washington Capitals could trade goaltender Philipp Grubauer rather than possibly lose him for nothing to the Vegas Golden Knights. “If Washington trades Grubauer, that means they will lose someone else. If given the choice between losing a top-four defenseman, a productive forward or a backup goalie who likely does not factor into the team’s future, losing Grubauer may actually be a small price to pay.”