NHL Rumor Mill – June 12, 2018
Updates on Ryan O’Reilly and Milan Lucic plus the latest on the Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.
SABRES COULD SET A HIGH PRICE FOR O’REILLY
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington noted the recent trade speculation surrounding Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly but he thinks trading him would be a mistake. He notes they’re about to select highly touted defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and are almost certain to have promising center Casey Mittelstadt on the roster next season. He feels they shouldn’t weaken their depth at center by moving O’Reilly.
Harrington reports Sabres general manager Jason Botterill isn’t shopping O’Reilly but he could listen to offers. The Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks could have interest. However, the asking price is likely to be steep. If the Sabres are to move anyone, Harrington suggests it should be defenseman Risto Ristalainen, as trading him won’t hurt the Sabres as much as moving O’Reilly. He also acknowledges that move would be risky and the Sabres should set a high price for him.
Asked on Twitter about a rumor out of Montreal suggesting the Canadiens should offer up a package of center Phillip Danault, prospect forward Ryan Poehling and a second-round pick, Harrington replied the asking price from the Sabres should start with the Canadiens first-round pick (third overall) in this year’s draft.
FRS HOCKEY: Chris Nichols cites Bob McKenzie discussing possible moves by the Vancouver Canucks with Edmonton’s TSN 1260. He noted the Canucks might have some interest in O’Reilly but he doubts they’re willing to part with their first-round pick (seventh overall) as part of the return. He added he wouldn’t say the Canucks are committed to trading that pick, but if they’re looking at O’Reilly or Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin, those teams will want that first-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That trade suggestion out of Montreal is laughable. If the Sabres intend to trade O’Reilly, they’ll want a first-round pick as part of the return. I realize critics of Sabres GM Botterill will point to the low return he got for Evander Kane, but that was a different situation. Kane was a pending UFA and Botterill was trying to deal him before the trade deadline. O’Reilly is under contract for five more years and the Sabres can afford to wait for the right return. I don’t doubt that Botterill is willing to entertain offers for O’Reilly but he can afford to be patient.
LUCIC TO MONTREAL?
LA PRESSE: Mathias Brunet suggests the Montreal Canadiens should propose taking high-priced winger Milan Lucic off the Edmonton Oilers’ hands, provided they also include their first-round pick (10th overall) in this year’s draft in return for picks in the second and third rounds and perhaps a prospect.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples shoots down that notion, saying there’s “little or no chance” the Oilers would accept such a poison pill. He could see the Oilers agreeing to give up a second-round pick as a sweetener in a Lucic trade but not the 10th overall pick. If the Oilers were to consider taking on a toxic contract, Staples believes it’ll be one with shorter term. They could also ask for a draft pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staples’ analysis was spot on. The Oilers could be trying to dump Lucic’s contract but they’re not so desperate that they’ll part with their first-round pick.
LATEST ON THE BRUINS.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty lists defenseman Torey Krug, forward David Backes, center David Krejci, goaltender Tuukka Rask and defenseman Brandon Carlo as five potential trade chips for the Bruins.
He lists the pros and cons of shopping Krug, noting his offensive skills could be attractive to teams such as the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes. Moving him, however, would rob the Bruins of offense from the blueline.
Backes is an aging power forward with a no-movement clause he’s unlikely to waive. Trying to get out from under Krejci’s $7.25-million annual cap hit is easier said than done, given his declining production and the lack of someone in the Bruins system to take his place.
Rask has occasionally surfaced in trade speculation but Haggerty doesn’t believe they can move him without having a suitable candidate to take his place. If the right deal came along containing an impact player, the Bruins might consider moving Carlo. However, Haggerty notes they appear reluctant to part with their younger defensemen.
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy lists New York Islanders’ Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Ian Cole, the Arizona Coyotes’ Kevin Connauton, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Luca Sbisa, the Washington Capitals’ Michal Kempny and the New Jersey Devils’ John Moore as some low-cost free-agent options if the Bruins wish to add a defensive blueliner this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those players listed by Haggerty, the only one I believe could be dealt is Krug, and only if they can get a bigger-bodied, fast-skating defensive rearguard in return. If they can’t find that type of return via the trade market, perhaps they’ll consider one of those UFA options listed by Conroy.