NHL Rumor Mill – July 10, 2017
A look at some possible destinations for several veteran free agents in your NHL rumor mill.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton recently looked at several notable veteran players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market and where they could end up. At this point in Jaromir Jagr’s career, Clinton thinks it’s ideal for him to land where less is expected of him, suggesting Pittsburgh, Vegas and Montreal as possible destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those three, Vegas might be the best option for Jagr. He’ll give them another recognizable name as they attempt to establish themselves, plus he played for Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant in Florida. I don’t see Jagr as a fit with the Penguins or Canadiens now.
A fourth-line winger role on a Stanley Cup contender could be suitable for Shane Doan, perhaps with Dallas, Anaheim or Pittsburgh. If center Matt Cullen doesn’t retire, returning to Pittsburgh or Minnesota could be possible. Returning to Montreal or joining Buffalo or New Jersey could be the best options for Andrei Markov. Being a bottom-six scorer and power-play specialist could be suitable for Jarome Iginla, perhaps with possible Cup contenders such as Dallas, Anaheim or Columbus.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dallas or Anaheim might be acceptable for Doan if he wants to stay in the Western Conference. The Penguins are reportedly searching for a third-line center so they probably won’t have room for Doan.
If Markov is willing to lower his two-year, $12-million asking price, I believe the Canadiens will welcome him back. If he doesn’t, I don’t see any NHL club paying up for his services.
Clinton noted Iginla’s offense revived a bit last season after he was dealt to the Kings. Perhaps a deeper roster seeking some experienced leadership could take a chance on him.
Cullen could be leaning toward retirement. There was a report out of Minnesota earlier this month saying the Wild spoke with him but talks apparently didn’t go anywhere.
Clinton speculates it could be retirement or returning to Buffalo for right wing Brian Gionta. Perhaps Brian Campbell could be a good fit alongside a younger defenseman in Dallas, Calgary or Ottawa. A younger team in need of experienced grit, such as Buffalo, New Jersey or Vegas, could be possibilities for grinding forward Chris Neil.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be surprised if Gionta calls it a career. I concur with Cullen’s take on Campbell, though I think Dallas and Calgary could be done making moves this summer. The decline in Neil’s performance in recent years could spell the end of his NHL playing days.
Francois Beauchemin might be a fit as a third-pairing guy for clubs such as Philadelphia, Anaheim or Los Angeles. As for Mike Fisher, it’s either re-signing with Nashville or retirement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m in agreement on both. Beauchemin still has enough left to make a good third-pairing rearguard. I doubt Fisher will move on if he doesn’t re-sign with the Predators. They’re giving him all the time he needs to reach a decision.