NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2017
Latest on the Avalanche, Bruins and Golden Knights in your NHL rumor mill.
THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla lays blame for Colorado Avalanche winger Matt Duchene’s obvious unhappiness on the opening day of training camp at the feet of general manager Joe Sakic. He feels Duchene should’ve been dealt by last season’s trade deadline, suggesting Sakic’s inability to move the forward this summer resulted in this obvious tiff between the two sides that undercuts Duchene’s trade value.
Kiszla also blames Sakic for the team going off the rails in recent years. “This is an NHL team that desperately needed to hit the reset button. The clueless Avs, however, are right back in crisis mode from Day 1.”
Dreger wondered about “what the hell is going on with Matt Duchene in Colorado.” He speculates the Montreal Canadiens could still have some interest in the Avs center, as well as the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Nashville Predators reportedly also looked at Duchene earlier this summer, but Dreger said they told him they haven’t been in touch with the Avs for some time. He was also critical of Sakic for seeking a high asking price for Duchene that his rivals aren’t willing to pay.
Friedman believes “the marriage is over” for Duchene and the Avs, believing it’s only a matter of time until the center is traded. He said he knows the New York Islanders were looking at Duchene and thinks the Pittsburgh Penguins did as well, though he didn’t think they had enough to make a deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And on and on it goes. Look, I know some of you are sick and tired of reading about Duchene seemingly every damn day. I’m not exactly thrilled about writing the same stuff every day. But he’s still the hot topic in the rumor mill and his obvious sourness yesterday as he reported for training camp ensures he’ll remain that way until he’s finally dealt.
Sakic and the Avs now have an unhappy player on their hands, but as long as Sakic insists on a big return there’s nothing Duchene can do about it. He must have a strong bounce-back performance this season to entice an interested GM into meeting Sakic’s price.
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy suggests if the Bruins younger players can step up and contribute this season, it could make some of their veterans expendable. He singles out winger Matt Beleskey ($3.8 million cap hit) and center Ryan Spooner ($2.825 million) as possible trade chips.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signed through 2019-20, the 29-year-old Beleskey’s annual cap hit and modified no-trade clause could make him tough to move this season. If the Bruins decide to shop him they might have to wait until next summer, when teams have more cap space. Spooner is on a one-year deal and was a frequent topic of trade chatter last season. He could be a more likely in-season trade candidate.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen recently reported Golden Knights GM George McPhee isn’t concerned over his glut of defensemen entering training camp. The club is carrying 11 blueliners on one-way contracts. He said he’ll see how training camp goes and see how they’ll proceed from there.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s expected McPhee could put a couple of defensemen on the trade block before the start of the season. Don’t expect promising Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt or Colin Miller to be among them.