Updates on Duchene, Kovalchuk & Kruger – July 4, 2017
Latest speculation on Matt Duchene, Ilya Kovalchuk and Marcus Kruger in your NHL rumor mill.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty cites a recent report from Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch noting the Boston Bruins recently had talks with the Colorado Avalanche regarding center Matt Duchene. “Assumption is 20-year-old Brandon Carolo would be key piece leaving Boston,” wrote Portzline.
Haggerty notes Carlo was linked to Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog last season but the Bruins’ weren’t willing to part with the promising young blueliner.
He doesn’t believe the Bruins should risk mortgaging their future by sending Carlo to the Avs for Duchene. “If anything, Boston should be pushing a package that includes (Ryan) Spooner as a cheaper roster replacement for Duchene, and a prospect like Zboril who could be part of Colorado’s core group moving forward.”
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports it’s unlikely the Carolina Hurricanes will part with one of their good young defensemen to land someone “who has two years left and then he can walk away.” He points out that describes Duchene, whose contract ($6 million annual cap hit) runs through 2018-19.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t see the Bruins parting with Carlo for anyone. I also don’t see the Avs agreeing to accept a package like the one suggested by Haggerty. It’s believed they want an established young top-four defenseman, which explains why they’d likely want Carlo from the Bruins.
For some time, I felt the Hurricanes could be a good destination for Duchene because of their depth in young rearguards. Francis’ comments, however, spikes that notion.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Andrew Gross reports the ongoing offseason plans of Devils GM Ray Shero could hinge upon whether Ilya Kovalchuk is ready to return to the NHL. It’s believed the Kovalchuk camp is working on a sign-and-trade situation where the Devils sign the left wing and then ship him to a new club. The Devils could peddle him for a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot.
Gross said the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks were reportedly interested in Kovalchuk. He also speculates the Montreal Canadiens could kick the tires after losing Alexander Radulov to free agency. It’s believed the winger prefers staying in the New York/New Jersey area, fueling speculation he could join the Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shero recently told NHL.com he doesn’t expect the Kovalchuk situation to drag on for long. We could see a resolution to this by the end of the week. The Jackets were very interested in him but that could depend upon what happens with their efforts to acquire Duchene from Colorado.
The Rangers have about $8.3 million in cap space and must re-sign RFA forwards Mike Zibanejad and Jesper Fast. They also don’t have any top-four right-handed defensemen to spare. The Blackhawks are bumping against the salary cap ceiling so I doubt they can afford him.
CANES COUNTRY: cites NHL.com’s Brian Hedger fully expecting the Vegas Golden Knights to soon move recently-acquired center Marcus Kruger, though he’s unsure of the destination. The Athletic’s Craig Custance said he wouldn’t be surprised if he wound up with the Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If we take Hurricanes GM Ron Francis at his word, he won’t part with a good young defenseman for someone like Kruger, who’s signed through 2018-19.