NHL Rumor Mill – April 12, 2018
Latest on Erik Karlsson, Ryan O’Reilly and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plus updates on the Flames, Blues and Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman noted Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion recently telling a group of the team’s season-ticket holders that he won’t trade captain Erik Karlsson during the 2018 NHL Draft. Dorion also said he intends to proffer an eight-year contract extension to Karlsson on July 1. However, Friedman wonders if a rival club might try to tempt them with a trade offer before July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Dorion is sincere about not wanting to trade Karlsson at the draft and trying to re-sign his captain this summer. However, if a rival club makes a big pitch before July 1, including offering to take Bobby Ryan’s full contract ($7.25 million annual average value through 2021-22) off their hands, Dorion and team owner Eugene Melnyk could seriously consider it.
There’s a lot of expectation the St. Louis Blues will be aggressive in the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues need to bolster their offense. During the season they were linked to Montreal’s Max Pacioretty and Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman. They could revisit their interest in those players this summer or perhaps shop around for other options.
There was some trade speculation during the season surrounding Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly. While Friedman was told at the time that it was unlikely O’Reilly would be dealt, he wonders if those rumors could flare up again following the center’s recent comments about losing his love of the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect there will be changes coming to the Sabres this summer. The only untouchable on their roster is center Jack Eichel. Everyone else, including O’Reilly, could be available for the right price.
BLUES COULD PURSUE SCORING HELP
STLTODAY: Jeff Gordon believes the Blues’ offseason priority should be bolstering their scoring via trade or free agency. He thinks GM Doug Armstrong could get into the bidding for New York Islanders center John Tavares if he becomes available as a UFA or a sign-and-trade scenario. He also suggests Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly could be interesting trade targets. The Blues have over $64 million invested in 20 players for next season and must re-sign defenseman Joel Edmundson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t sound as though Nugent-Hopkins is available, as Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said he doesn’t intend to trade him. Tavares would be a very expensive signing (possibly over $11 million annually) while the asking price for O’Reilly could be one or two of the Blues’ good young players.
SHOULD THE FLAMES SHOP A DEFENSEMAN FOR A SCORING FORWARD?
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis believes the Flames need to shop a core defenseman such as Dougie Hamilton or T.J. Brodie to bring in a scoring forward. He feels it’s the best move for GM Brad Treliving to address a significant need without overspending via free agency. The Flames’ depth in promising blueline prospects also makes it possible to shop someone like Hamilton or Brodie. If Treliving goes that route, Francis also feels he should try to recoup a draft pick or two in the deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Treliving does draw upon his blueline depth for trade bait, Flames fans would probably prefer Brodie as the trade candidate. However, Hamilton will fetch a bigger return than Brodie, whose stock is likely down after struggling throughout this season. Hamilton, 24, tallied a career-high 17 goals this season and exceeded 40 points (44) for the fourth straight season. Cap Friendly indicates he’s signed through 2020-21 with an annual cap hit of $5.75 million and lacks no-trade protection until 2019-20. I’m not saying Treliving will move Hamilton, just pointing out he would bring back the best.
RED WINGS EYEING HUTTON
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Detroit Red Wings aren’t likely to be very active in an increasingly thin free-agent market. However, they need to add a goaltender to either back up Jimmy Howard or compete for the starter’s job. Khan said Blues netminder Carter Hutton is on their radar.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t sound like Hutton could be available for long. Blues GM Doug Armstrong has reportedly reached out to the 32-year-old goalie to open contract talks.