NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2018
An update on Erik Karlsson plus the latest on the Canadiens, Rangers, Bruins, Blues and Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.
OILERS INTEREST IN KARLSSON?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Edmonton Oilers have contacted the Ottawa Senators about defenseman Erik Karlsson, even though it seems improbable they can fit him within their limited salary-cap payroll. He feels any suggestion of a straight-up swap of Karlsson for forward Leon Draisaitl makes no sense for the Senators’ tightwad ownership. Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion will seek multiple pieces, including a defenseman such as Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse.
Matheson feels the Vegas Golden Knights seems more likely destination as they have the cap room and especially if they’re willing to part with youngsters such as winger Alex Tuch and defenseman Shea Theodore.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson goes into greater detail analysing a possible Karlsson-to-Edmonton scenario, but he doesn’t mention the defenseman’s modified no-trade clause. As per Cap Friendly, Karlsson provides a 10-team no-trade list. If the Oilers are on it, the Senators would have to ask him if he’d agree to the trade. I think Karlsson prefers going to a contender in an American-based market. The fact the Golden Knights tried to acquire Karlsson at this year’s trade deadline is likely an idicator of where he’d prefer to go.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is willing to listen to offers for his first-round pick (third overall) in the upcoming NHL Draft. “I’ve told teams if they want to make me an offer, I’ll look at it. But again, sometimes teams don’t want to move up. As much as a team wants to move back or move up, if there’s no takers or buyers then you just sit where you’re at.”
Bergevin also doesn’t intend to buy out any of his club’s current player contracts.
LA PRESSE:Richard Labbe reports there’s mutual interest between the Canadiens and former Habs center Tomas Plekanec regarding his possible return to their lineup next season. A pending UFA on July 1, the Canadiens dealt Plekanec to the Toronto Maple Leafs in late-February.
FWIW, if indeed Montreal decides to push on ROR, Galchenyuk gone doesn’t do anything from a Buffalo point of view. Sabres would be looking for a different mix of assets.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 16, 2018
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin will listen to offers, but unless he’s getting a skilled scoring center as the centerpiece of the return, he won’t move that pick. Perhaps the Sabres are interested in moving O’Reilly, but I think they’ll want more than just the third-overall pick in the deal. As for Plekanec, I think he’ll return to Montreal on a one-year deal worth between $2.5 – $3 million.
LATEST RANGERS SPECULATION
NEW YORK POST:Larry Brooks reports “multiple sources” claim there’s significant interest around the league in New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. If they decide to make a significant move heading into the opening round of the 2018 NHL draft, it’ll likely involve Hayes, who could command up to $4.75-million annually on a five-year deal. Center Ryan Spooner has also attracted some attention but Hayes has the most value.
If the Rangers move Hayes, Brooks suggests he could be the centerpiece of a deal to land a right-handed defenseman. He speculates perhaps they could target Calgary Flames prospect Adam Fox.
Brooks also reports Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton is believed to have talked to the Edmonton Oilers about left wing Milan Lucic, provided forward Leon Draisaitl were also included. However, there’s no evidence the Oilers will make that move, even if it involved young defenseman Brady Skjei.
Ilya Kovalchuk hasn’t eliminated the Rangers from his list of destinations, but only if they acquire a player or two to turn them into contenders. Brooks doubts that’s going to happens. The Rangers also spoke to the Carolina Hurricanes regarding the second-overall pick but that move seems unlikely.
Brooks said the Rangers have the cap space to take on another team’s problem contract but have no intention of becoming “a depository for faded veterans”. However, if the Penguins were to offer up Carl Hagelin along with a sweetener, they might consider it. Same goes for Lightning right wing and former Ranger Ryan Callahan, provided they’re not on his no-trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like the Rangers could move Hayes if they can move up in the draft or perhaps get a good young player in return. He might not be the type of player the Flames are looking for and I doubt they’ll give up one of their top prospects to get him. Lucic plus Draisaitl for a package including Skjei? Dream on! Hagelin to the Rangers? Maybe, but the Pens might prefer sending him outside their division. I don’t see Callahan returning to the Blueshirts.
COULD THE BRUINS MOVE KRUG?
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty wonders if the Boston Bruins’ re-signing defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to a two-year contract extension perhaps signals a bigger blueline move to come. “If the Bruins were to dangle Torey Krug, for instance, in trade discussions next week in Dallas amid greater efforts to bring a big, left shot D-man like Noah Hanifin or Oskar Klefbom back in return, they would already want to have Grzelcyk locked up ahead of any such hockey wheeling and dealing. “
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy also wonders if the Bruins will swing a trade for a bigger, left-shot defenseman who can make the team better. Noting their interest in Carolina’s Noah Hanifin, Conroy mused over if they would part with Krug as part of the deal and if the Hurricanes could live without winger Jake DeBrusk (“seemingly everyone’s ask”) being part of the package. He also wondered if they’ll re-sign Rick Nash or ink Ilya Kovalchuk and if they can get backup goalie Anton Khudobin re-signed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney recently told NHL.com he’s not actively shopping Krug, saying he values what the blueliner brings to the team and pointing out the difficulty in replacing a 60-point guy. Of course, one should never say never as Krug’s name has been floating around a lot this spring in the rumor mill. If Sweeney gets the right offer (and if it’s someone such as Hanifin), he could got for it.
BLUES REACH OUT TO KOVALCHUK
NHL.COM: On Friday, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his club reached out to Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent to express interest in the unrestricted free agent left wing. No visit by Kovalchuk to St. Louis has been planned but Armstrong asked the winger’s agent to consider the opportunity.
UPDATE ON THE RED WINGS
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports free agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk is at the top of the Detroit Red Wings’ wish list. A source said they’re willing to sign him to a two-year contract at a high salary. Noting Kovalchuk’s stated desire to win a Stanley Cup, Khan doubts he’ll be joining the Red Wings. They’re also interested in bringing back winger Thomas Vanek on a one-year deal.
The Wings also hope to re-sign defenseman Mike Green, offering him a one-year deal at $6 million or two years at $5 million per season. They’re also eyeing St. Louis Blues goalie Carter Hutton and Boston Bruins netminder Anton Khudobin. There’s no truth to speculation they’d like to trade veteran starter Jimmy Howard.
They’re also debating if they’ll re-sign RFA forward Martin Frk. Former Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma is mulling an offer to join the Wings staff as an assistant coach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk won’t be joining the Wings. He wants to play for a contender and the Wings aren’t there yet. I could see Vanek returning to Detroit for the right price, say a one-year deal worth $3 million annually.
It’ll be interesting to see what Green does, if he’ll stay put or try his luck on the open market. He might not get better offers than those from the Wings. Hutton or Khudobin would be significant upgrades in the backup position, with perhaps an eye on eventually replacing Howard.