NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2017
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Marcus White believes New York Islanders center John Tavares’ pending status as an unrestricted free agent is “the biggest national storyline this season.” The longer Tavares goes without being re-signed by the Isles, the more speculation will grow about the center as the Feb. 26 trade deadline approaches. If he’s not traded by then and still unsigned, White thinks the situation will reach a fever pitch as the July 1 start of the free agency approaches.
White feels the San Jose Sharks could be among the clubs to pursue Tavares, citing Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting of their interest in the Isles captain back in April. The Sharks will have “plenty of cap space” plus a need for a first-line center as Joe Thornton ages.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: White also hopes for more drama regarding Tavares’ status as the season progresses. That’ll depend upon how things go with the Islanders’ bid to build a new arena at Belmont Park. It’s widely assumed Tavares wants to re-sign with the Islanders but he’s waiting to see how that arena deal shakes out. I doubt we’ll hear much more about his possible trade status until February rolls around. If the Isles haven’t learned anything about their bid from the state by then, or if it’s been rejected, that could put the rumor mill into high gear.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the lines of communication between the Detroit Red Wings and the agent for restricted free agent forward Andreas Athanasiou remain open. General manager Ken Holland spoke briefly with Athanasiou’s agent last Thursday and hopes to continue discussions this week. The Wings are offering up a two-year contract worth $1.9 million per season but the Athanasiou camp seeks $2.5 million annually.
Khan cites a source claiming the Wings aren’t actively shopping the winger but are listening to offers. So far, they haven’t received anything that intrigues them and are prepared to let him sit out the season rather than accept a sub-standard offer. However, the Wings still hope to re-sign him before Dec. 1. If unsigned after that date, he’ll be ineligible to play the remainder of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos suggested things could come to a head this week. I don’t think the Wings intend to trade him. They still feel he has a key role to play with their rebuilding roster.
THE TENNESSEAN: In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan suggested Nashville Predators defenseman Alexei Emelin could become a trade chip later this season. That will depend upon the recovery of blueliner Ryan Ellis from offseason knee surgery and the development of promising Samuel Girard, who’s making a case to stick with the lineup this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Emelin was acquired to bolster the Predators’ blueline depth during Ellis’ absence, as he’s not expected back until late-December or early-January. Girard’s promising early performance, however, could make things interesting. If he stick with the Preds this season, that could make Emelin expendable after Ellis returns to action.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the imminent return to action of Erik Karlsson and Johnny Oduya leaves the Senators overstocked with defensemen. To make room for Karlsson, they demoted Thomas Chabot, though he’s not expected to be there for long. GM Pierre Dorion could use one of his blueliners as a trade chip to land a forward, but the club seem content to let Chabot develop his game in the minors. Garrioch said the word around the league is nobody’s been more aggressively shopping for a trade than Dorion but most of his peers are still evaluating their rosters.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The trade market could improve by the American Thanksgiving weekend in late-November.