Latest Canucks and Stars Speculation – April 7, 2018
Another look at possible offseason moves by the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars in your NHL rumor mill.
SHOULD THE CANUCKS PURSUE BOZAK?
THE ATHLETIC: JD Burke cited a recent report by News 1130’s Rick Dhaliwal claiming the Vancouver Canucks could have interest in Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak if he becomes available as an unrestricted free agent this summer. He feels the Canucks should be wary of signing the 32-year-old Leaf, pointing out he’s at the stage in his career where decline is inevitable. If they do pursue Bozak, Burke feels a one-year deal worth around $3 million would be better than a more expensive three- or four-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. With the Sedins announcing their retirement, the Canucks will have over $20 million to invest in bringing in one or two veteran players to act as mentors for their promising youngsters and take some pressure off them. However, they must avoid repeating the mistake they made two years ago with Loui Eriksson, who’s signed through 2021-22 with a $6-million annual salary-cap hit. A one- or two-year deal worth between $3-$4 million annually for someone such as Bozak would be more reasonable.
Hutton’s time in Vancouver sure looks like it is up, would be surprised if the Canucks don’t at least try and move him at the NHL draft. #Canucks
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) April 3, 2018
LATEST STARS SPECULATION
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Given the injury history of Stars starting goaltender Ben Bishop, Mike Heika believes general manager Jim Nill will have an important decision to make regarding the backup position. One option could be re-signing Kari Lehtonen, but he struggled in his recent starts. Nill could also look to one of his goaltending prospects or perhaps via free agency for someone such as Toronto’s Calvin Pickard or Winnipeg’s Michael Hutchinson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After falling out of playoff contention this season, some changes are likely in store for the Stars this summer. One of them could be bolstering their goaltending depth. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nill pursues someone like PIckard or Hutchinson.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Sean Shapiro addressed some questions from Stars fans regarding possible offseason moves. He’s not a fan of pursuing former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who turns 35 next week and hasn’t played more than 60 games in a season since splitting 2012-13 between the NHL and KHL. Shapiro also said he’d be shocked if winger Val Nichushkin, who’s spent the past two seasons in the KHL, isn’t skating with the Stars next season.
Asked about the possibility of the Stars perhaps landing Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk, Shapiro acknowledged the recent trade history between the two clubs and didn’t rule it out. He also “wouldn’t be opposed to packaging younger bottom-six players to get a legitimate top-six scoring option. I’m a big proponent of giving younger players an opportunity, but I’m also a realist and believe the Stars need to do something to bolster the offense with a bona fide option.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Shapiro’s take on Kovalchuk. They’re better off looking at younger, perhaps more affordable depth options. Bringing back Nichushkin could help provided his game has matured over the last two years.
The Canadiens’ biggest needs are a top-line center and perhaps another top-four defenseman, which probably doesn’t make Dallas a destination for Galchenyuk. Perhaps Nill can package a couple of promising younger players in hopes of enticing a club in need of shedding salary into parting with a top-six winger.