Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 18, 2017
Updates on the Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders, Arizona Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins & more in your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports Sami Vatanen remains with the Anaheim Ducks for the time being. The Ducks are expected to leave Vatanen and Josh Manson unprotected in the expansion draft but neither is headed to the Vegas Golden Knights.
“Multiple reports have Ducks general manager Bob Murray jumping ahead and working out a deal with Vegas GM George McPhee. And that isn’t expected to include Vatanen, who underwent shoulder surgery and may not be ready to play until December at the earliest.”
It’s expected the Golden Knights will pass on Vatanen in the expansion draft. The Ducks could use later the blueliner this summer as trade bait for an impact forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Vatanen is bypassed by the Golden Knights I expect he could be dealt by the end of the NHL Draft next Saturday. A number of teams, including the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs, could come calling.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports the New York Islanders could have a deal in place with the Vegas Golden Knights to ensure they don’t select certain unprotected players in the upcoming expansion draft. It could take the form of a high draft pick, a lower-level prospect or both. GM Garth Snow was also reportedly involved in numerous trade discussions in search of a high-end forward with defenseman Travis Hamonic or Calvin de Haan as likely trade bait, but few teams were willing to make moves leading up to the expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the Jordan Eberle-for-Travis Hamonic trade speculation will likely continue leading into the NHL Draft on Friday.
ARIZONA SPORTS/AZCENTRAL.COM: Craig Morgan reports the Arizona Coyotes are likely to expose goaltender Louis Domingue in the upcoming expansion draft. Having dealt away Mike Smith to Calgary on Saturday, the Coyotes are in need of a starting goaltender.
GM John Chayka said he’s in the market for a starter and will wait to see if the expansion unprotected lists might reveal a potential deal. He also sees opportunities via unrestricted free agency. He’s also in the market for depth at center and is reportedly interested in Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers. He could also use his available cap space to take on players on long-term injured reserve (such as Columbus’ David Clarkson and Toronto’s Nathan Horton) if it also nets them other assets.
Sarah McLellan reports Chayka intends to use the cap space free up by trading Smith to set up other moves to improve the Coyotes. Re-signing Chad Johnson, acquired from Calgary in the Smith trade, is one option. Trade options could include Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, the New York Rangers’ Antti Raanta and Washington’s Philipp Grubauer but they could be snapped up by the Golden Knights. Free agent options could include Brian Elliott, Steve Mason and Jonathan Bernier.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson is best suited for backup work and Domingue isn’t ready to take over as the Coyotes starter. I expect they’ll try to land a decent starter via trade or free agency over the next couple of weeks, though it’s doubtful they’ll find a significant improvement over the departed Smith.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford intends to add a player or two who can protect captain Sidney Crosby from the abuse he’s suffered from opponents. “That’s not that easy because (coach Mike Sullivan) likes to roll four lines and you’ve got to plug a guy in that can play on a regular basis, but hopefully that’s what we can do,” said Rutherford.
The price likely way too high for the Kings to even get into that…
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 17, 2017
Because of protection issues, word is FLA’s Jonathan Marchessault is potentially available. 30 goals, great contract.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 17, 2017