NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – June 21, 2017
Some late expansion draft chatter plus updates on Jordan Eberle, Alexander Radulov, Chris Tanev and Thomas Vanek in part two of today’s NHL rumor mill.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild restricted free agent Erik Haula is expected to sign with the Vegas Golden Knights later today. The Wild are also sending prospect Alex Tuch and a conditional draft pick to Vegas. It’s part of a deal to ensure the Golden Knights will steer clear of such notable unprotected Wild players such as Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella and Eric Staal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier today I mistakenly said the Wild wouldn’t have to part with any other assets if Haula signs with the Golden Knights. Looks like Vegas GM George McPhee needed much more than Haula to stay away from those aforementioned Wild players.
TSN: It appears Golden Knights GM George McPhee could acquire Russian prospect Nikita Gusev from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He could be attempting to reunite Gusev with recently signed Vadim Shipachyov and Evgeny Dadonov, who McPhee is reportedly attempting to sign.
Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner and Philadelphia Flyers forward Jordan Weal, both pending unrestricted free agents, were believed subject of interest for McPhee. The pair are pending unrestricted free agents, but their agent said his clients still intend to test the upcoming free-agent market.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples yesterday cited Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer suggesting it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the New York Islanders end up landing Edmonton right wing Jordan Eberle and Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene. By perhaps moving their first round pick and a couple of unproductive players to Vegas, the Isles could clear sufficient cap space. Stauffer speculates something involving Eberle going to the Islanders could happen following the expansion draft.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Darren Dreger yesterday telling Vancouver’s TSN 1040 he firmly believes Duchene will be traded, if not at the upcoming draft then before the start of next season. He notes Avs GM Joe Sakic is in the market for a defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eberle and Duchene remain the two biggest names in the trade market coming out of the expansion draft, closely followed by Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk. All three could belong to new clubs by the end of the upcoming weekend.
The Islanders are expected to make a big move or two, especially if they have in fact shipped Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin (along with their first round pick in this year’s draft) to the Golden Knights as was recently reported by Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Journal-Review. That would clear over $9 million in cap space from the Isles books.
TVA SPORTS: A KHL team could be prepared to pay Montreal Canadiens pending UFA right wing Alexander Radulov $9 million for next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were Radulov, I would think twice about accepting that offer. The KHL is in dire financial straits. Most of the teams lose money. Many players go weeks, sometimes months, without getting paid.
Radulov won’t get $9 million for an NHL season, but could get a four-year deal worth between $6 – $7 million annually from the Canadiens or another NHL team. Better to take the long-term security for the opportunity to play in the world’s top professional league.
THE PROVINCE: Ed Willes recently reported Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev remains the focus of trade speculation. He notes the Dallas Stars, who hold the third and twenty-ninth overall picks, are among the clubs most interested in Tanev.
Willes reports one of the rumors “has the Canucks, who pick fifth, flipping picks with the Stars and picking up their late first-rounder and another asset for Tanev.” However, Willes believes Canucks GM Jim Benning won’t move Tanev if he can’t land two prime assets.
With Nikolai Tryamkin returning to Russia and the possibility of losing Luca Sbisa in the expansion draft, it wouldn’t make sense for the Canucks to trade their best defenseman if they hope to remain competitive.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning said he’s willing to move up in the draft but won’t shoot himself in the foot just to move up a couple of spots. So unless the Stars or anyone else with interest in Tanev is willing to sweeten the pot, he will stay put.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reported the Detroit Red Wings will give winger Thomas Vanek another look via this summer’s UFA market. The Wings signed Vanek last summer to a one-year deal and he played well alongside center Frans Nielsen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the 33-year-old Vanek is willing to accept a two-year-deal worth $3.5 million annually from the Wings, he could return to Motown. Of course, that’s just my speculation, but I don’t believe the Wings want to invest too much for too long in aging talent.