NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2018
Updates on the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.
MORE FLAMES OFFSEASON SPECULATION
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited NHL insider Elliotte Friedman appearance yesterday on Toronto’s Sportsnet 590 and Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 where he was asked if the Flames might be the team most likely to change their core in the offseason. Friedman thinks it’s possible and pointed out the word coming out of the recent NHL general managers meetings that Flames GM Brad Treliving could look at acquiring a first-round pick in the 2018 draft.
One of the Flames who Friedman suggested could have good value is defenseman Dougie Hamilton, noting the Flames have some good defense prospects. He speculated Calgary could get some calls about the blueliner. “I’m not saying they’ll do it, but I think they’ll at least be tempted to at least think about it,” he said. Nichols noted Hamilton has three seasons left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.75 million. His modified no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until July 2019. Friedman also suggested the Flames could get calls about winger Matthew Tkachuk, though he doesn’t see him going anywhere. He also thinks forward Sam Bennett could attract interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames dealt away their first-round pick in this year’s draft to the New York Islanders last year in the Travis Hamonic trade. Getting one back, however, could cost them a promising young player from their roster. Prior to the trade deadline there was talk the Flames might dangle prospect goaltender Jon Gillies, so perhaps they’ll revisit that option leading up to the draft.
I don’t doubt there will be interest in Hamilton but it’ll take a significant offer to convince the Flames to part with him. I agree with Friedman that Tkachuk isn’t going anywhere.
Bennett, on the other hand, could be available. Maybe the Flames offer him up to clubs carrying multiple firsts, such as the Rangers, Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings.However, his struggles during his three NHL seasons could hurt his trade value.
LATEST ON VAN RIEMSDYK AND BOZAK
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran recently wondered if Toronto Maple Leafs forwards James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak might end up playing together for a different NHL club. The duo are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 and salary cap issues could prevent the Leafs from re-signing them. McGran suggested the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and New York Islanders (if John Tavares departs via free agency) as possible destinations.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Yvon Pedneault poured cold water on the notion of van Riemsdyk and Bozak joining the Canadiens. While acknowledging both are playing well right now, he noted they weren’t too impressive during the first half of the season. He also doesn’t see Bozak filling the role of first-line center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Canadiens might look at van Riemsdyk if they decide to trade left wing Max Pacioretty. However, he needs a proven playmaking center to set him up and that’s a commodity the Canadiens lack. Besides, I think van Riemsdyk prefers joining a playoff contender rather than a rebuilding club or, in the Habs case, one that’s in denial over their current plight.