Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 6, 2018
Updates on John Tavares and Max Pacioretty plus a roundup of St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars speculation in your NHL rumor mill.
TAVARES AND PACIORETTY
FRS NETWORK SPORTS: Chris Nichols cited TSN’s Bob McKenzie noted it’s been quiet regarding the status of New York Islanders free-agent center John Tavares. However, he has a gut feeling the Isles captain could be moving on to a new club on July 1. If so, he thinks the Montreal Canadiens could pursue Tavares but doesn’t believe they’re at the top of his list.
Speaking of the Canadiens, McKenzie thinks they’ll revisit their efforts to potentially trade captain Max Pacioretty, who was the subject of considerable speculation leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline. He feels they could attempt to move him at the 2018 NHL Draft. McKenzie doesn’t see them making a long-term commitment to Pacioretty, who has a year remaining on his contract and lacks no-trade protection.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie takes great pains to point out he’s merely offering his opinion about the status of Tavares and Pacioretty. I agree with his take on Tavares being unlikely to head to Montreal if he tests the UFA market. Clubs like the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues are better positioned to draw the interest of the Isles captain.
As for Pacioretty, he really wants to stay in Montreal but I think that ship may have sailed. The Canadiens need to shake things up and could pull the trigger on a Pacioretty deal if they can get a good scoring center in return.
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford recently addressed readers’ questions regarding possible offseason moves by the St. Louis Blues. He dismissed the notion of the Blues pursuing Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky or Joonas Korpisalo. He’s not sure if Islanders captain John Tavares would consider St. Louis an attractive destination if (and that’s a big “If”) he hits the open market.
Rutherford thinks there’s a better chance of Ryan Reaves returning to the Blues as a free agent than David Perron. He also doubts the Blues will try to move Vladimir Sobotka or Jake Allen in a cost-cutting deal. He speculates the Blues could use the first-round pick they received from the Winnipeg Jets in the Paul Stastny trade in a pre-draft deal to acquire a forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Blues this summer. They could kick the tires on Tavares but I expect they’ll be busier in the trade market. They have the assets (extra first-round pick and depth in young prospects) to swing a deal for a top-six forward. They were linked to Montreal’s Max Pacioretty and Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman before the trade deadline and to Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly in the offseason rumor mill.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika lists adding a backup goaltender, addressing the defense and deciding the fate of center Jason Spezza among five things Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill must accomplish this summer.
Backup goalie options could include St. Louis’ Carter Hutton, Colorado’s Jonathan Bernier and Andrew Hammond, Winnipeg’s Michael Hutchinson and Boston’s Anton Khudobin. He wondered if Nill make consider trading Marc Methot or Stephen Johns to get a more reliable top-four rearguard or if he’ll re-sign Dan Hamhuis or Greg Pateryn.
Heika noted Nill will have a brief window this summer to trade center Jason Spezza before the final year of his contract kicks in, so he’ll have to decide if he’ll move Spezza or see if he can regain his form under new head coach Jim Montgomery. If Spezza is shopped the Stars might have to absorb part of his $7.5-million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: From that list of potential UFA goaltenders, Nill should be able to find a decent backup for Ben Bishop. I don’t think Methot or Johns will fetch a more reliable top-four d-man via trade.
The decision on Spezza will be an interesting one. If there’s decent interest in the veteran center Nill will probably listen. If they keep Spezza he could return to form under Montgomery. But if he doesn’t, Nill might miss a golden opportunity to move him for a decent return.