NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2017
Latest on Brian Gionta plus updates on the Golden Knights and Stars in your NHL rumor mill.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: With NHL training camps opening next week, former Sabres captain Brian Gionta is weighing his options. The 38-year-old right wing is an unrestricted free agent.
Gionta’s agent, Steve Bartlett, said a number of teams have expressed interest in his client. The winger had hoped to re-sign with the Sabres but their offseason acquisition of Jason Pominville seems to have filled his right-wing spot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gionta’s agent didn’t indicate which clubs had interest in his client. At least he’s had some offers but it remains to be seen if he’ll accept any of them. His preference could be clubs in the Eastern Conference, where he’s spent his entire career.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen recently noted five questions facing the expansion Golden Knights entering training camp, with their logjam on defense topping his list. They have 13 defensemen on the roster, with 11 on one-way NHL contracts. Schoen expects general manager George McPhee will attempt to move one or two blueliners before the start of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those d-men could be demoted to the minors. If McPhee shops one or two of them, Clayton Stoner, Luca Sbisa or Jon Merrill could become trade candidates. Don’t expect the younger guys with upside, such as Shea Theodore, Colin Miller or Nate Schmidt, to be dealt.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: During a recent live chat with Stars fans, Mike Heika was asked what he thought the trade value might be for blueliners Jamie Oleksiak or Patrik Nemeth. Heika said he wasn’t sure, though he believes both could benefit from a fresh start and could be in the top six on several clubs. However, he notes the Stars like both players and believe they could fit well into the club’s new system under new head coach Ken Hitchcock.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Stars will evaluate their performances this season to determine if they fit into the club’s long-term plans. If both continue to struggle to crack the roster on a full-time basis, one or both could hit the trade block later in the season.