NHL Rumor Mill – July 19, 2017
An update on John Tavares plus the latest on the Devils and Sharks in your NHL rumor mill.
NEWSDAY: Laura Albanese reports Toronto Maple Leafs forward (and former New York Islander) Matt Martin wouldn’t be upset if John Tavares joined him with the Leafs, but he also wouldn’t be surprised if his former teammate re-signs with the Isles.
Tavares is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. Martin understands that’s a difficult decision for the Islanders captain, as his next contract could be his final one. However, he cites his friend’s loyalty and believes he’ll ultimately do what’s best for himself and his family.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Tavares rumor mill hasn’t been too busy so far this summer. There’s been little speculation out of Toronto musing over the possibility of the Leafs landing him, while the New York Post’s Larry Brooks suggested the Tampa Bay LIghtning might pursue the Isles star. Should Tavares remain unsigned by September, however, we’ll likely see a substantial increase in media coverage over his future.
CBS NEW YORK: Steve Lichtenstein reports the New Jersey Devils’ lack of skilled blueline depth remains a troubling issue for general manager Ray Shero. The most notable names on their defense corps includes Andy Greene, Ben Lovejoy, John Moore and Damon Severson. Unless Shero addresses this problem via trade, it’s becoming increasingly unlikely he’ll find much help via free agency. Lichtenstein said UFA rearguard Cody Franson isn’t on Shero’s radar. Most likely, Shero will look to within to fill the gaps on defense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think Shero’s done dealing. He’s got the depth in prospects and plenty of salary-cap room (over $19 million) to swing a deal for an experienced defenseman. He could wait until training camp and preseason to evaluate his young blueliners before pursuing a trade. The Vegas Golden Knights could be a trade target, as they carry a glut of defensemen and could be willing to move one for a prospect.
CSN BAY AREA: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz wondered if the San Jose Sharks kicked around the idea of offering Edmonton Oilers restricted free agent Leon Draisaitl an offer sheet. He notes Sharks GM Doug Wilson has gone the offer sheet route before (Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2010) and it was his threat of an offer sheet with Boston that led to his landing goaltender Martin Jones. He also doesn’t expect the Sharks to move Troy Grosenick or Aaron Dell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Kurz was merely speculating about the Sharks making an offer sheet to Draisaitl. He’s not saying they intend to go that route. The Oilers already served notice they intend to match any offer for Draisaitl so I don’t think Wilson is planning to make that move. The Sharks have over $8.7 million in salary-cap space. That doesn’t really give them much space to make an unmatchable offer.