Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 2, 2017
Latest on Matt Duchene, Marcus Kruger, Sami Vatanen and Jason Demers in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic declined to comment on the trade rumors swirling about center Matt Duchene. Current speculation has the Columbus Blue Jackets pursuing a deal for the 26-year-old Duchene. Sakic, however, is standing firm on his asking price, which includes a young, established top-four defenseman.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis speculates New York Islanders GM Garth Snow has a bevy of draft picks to use when the proper trade arises. “That very well could be the Avalanche’s Matt Duchene, if Colorado comes down on the asking price after the free-agency dust settles.”
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford continues to shop around for a third-line center to replace Nick Bonino, who signed with the Nashville Predators yesterday as a free agent. He remains confident of landing a replacement through a trade.
Mackey suggested it was possible Rutherford was playing a game of chicken with the Avs over Matt Duchene. He also wondered if perhaps Rutherford might be trying to bring Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal back to Pittsburgh.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the free-agent pool drains of notable talent in the coming days, the focus on Duchene will escalate in the rumor mill. This could drag on throughout the summer.
The Penguins currently have over $11 million in salary cap space and still must re-sign restricted free agents Brian Dumoulin and Conor Sheary, who are in line for significant raises and have arbitration rights this summer. If Rutherford is targeting a $6 million player such as Duchene or Staal, he’ll either have to get the Avs or Hurricanes to absorb part of the salary cap hit or shed some cap space to make room for that expensive contract.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee said he has nothing to report on a potential trade in which he acquired center Marcus Kruger from the Chicago Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston yesterday reported Kruger was due a $2 million signing bonus from the Blackhawks yesterday. The center was expected to be dealt after that bonus was paid. Perhaps that anticipated deal goes down later today.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Demers reportedly nixed a deal that would’ve sent him and his $4.5 million annual cap hit to the Vancouver Canucks. It was believed the Canucks were offering up Erik Gudbranson in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks re-signed Gudbranson earlier this spring to a one-year, $3.5-million contract. Botchford reports the Panthers are quite keen to move Demers, who also carries an eight-team no-trade list. Perhaps the Panthers will find a different destination for him later this summer.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports word around the league is the Anaheim Ducks have taken defenseman Sami Vatanen off the trade block.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vatanen was originally believed available because of salary cap constraints and the need to protect other defensemen in the expansion draft. But after cutting a deal with Vegas and shedding some salary, the Ducks now have over $69 million invested in 21 players. So, there’s no urgency now to dump salary.