NHL Rumor Mill – April 17, 2018
Should the Vancouver Canucks try to acquire Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza? Could the Detroit Red Wings shop winger Andreas Athanasiou? Check out the latest speculation in your NHL rumor mill.
SHOULD THE CANUCKS PURSUE SPEZZA?
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma suggests the Vancouver Canucks “need to examine whether a motivated veteran on an expiring 2018-19 contract can buy development time” for young centers Elias Pettersson and Adam Gaudette. One option could be Dallas Stars veteran Jason Spezza, whose production declined this season in part because of their depth at center.
While Spezza has a $7.5 million cap hit, the Stars are open to picking up a big chunk of it rather than buying out the final year of his contract. Kuzma noted Spezza has a 10-team no-trade clause but wondered if the center might look at the Canucks’ situation and see an opportunity for himself.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Spezza is willing to accept a trade to Vancouver and the Stars agree to both pick up $3 million of his cap hit and set a reasonable asking price, perhaps he’d be a worthwhile short-term acquisition for the Canucks. If he plays well for the Canucks he could become a bargaining chip at next year’s trade deadline.
LATEST ON ATHANASIOU
THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently wondered if forward Andreas Athanasiou has a future with the Red Wings. Despite the 23-year-old winger’s speed and skills, inconsistency remains an issue. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He should have a contract in place by mid-August, avoiding the possibility of repeating last summer’s contentious negotiations. Kulfan asked if the Wings might be better off trading Athanasiou for a young defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wings general manager Ken Holland might be reluctant to give up too soon on Athanasiou. However, he must avoid investing too much for too long in a player who remains a work in progress. If a rival club carrying blueline depth expresses interest in Athanasiou, I think Holland will listen.