NHL Rumor Mill – June 19, 2018
Latest on John Tavares, Erik Karlsson, Milan Lucic and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports contract talks continue between the New York Islanders and pending UFA center John Tavares. If there’s no deal by June 25, he believes Tavares could invite ” three, maybe as many as five teams” to make their presentations to him during the UFA interview period. He also noted former Islanders GM Garth Snow tabled an eight-year, $80-million offer in February.
If Tavares gets to the UFA shopping period next week, Bob McKenzie said the Toronto Maple Leafs are believed putting together a promotional video that might include a cameo pitch from several current Leafs. He also said former Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz could be a strong candidate for the vacant post with the Islanders. Dreger suggested that could also have an impact upon the Tavares negotiations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares could get a solid offer from the Islanders and still opt to check out the presentations next week from other clubs. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be a goner, as Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos went through the interview process and opted to re-sign with the Lightning. Hiring Trotz as their new head coach could help sway Tavares, though it would also be a great hire for the Isles even if their captain departs via free agency on July 1.
I still don’t believe the Leafs need Tavares. They already have a first-line center in Auston Matthews and a solid second-line pivot in Nazem Kadri. Unless they’re offering him a massive one-year deal, investing long-term could hamper efforts to re-sign Matthews and Mitch Marner before next summer. They need to land a true top-pairing defenseman. Unless they intend to move Matthews or Marner or William Nylander to address their blueline needs, signing Tavares makes no sense.
MOVES WE MIGHT SEE AT THE 2018 NHL DRAFT.
NATIONAL POST: Looking at possible moves leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft, Mark Traikos suggests the Vegas Golden Knights as a potential destination for Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, “with a package including centre Cody Glass (sixth overall, 2017) and defenceman Erik Brannstrom (15th overall, 2017), as well as a roster player such as Tomas Tatar.” He also thinks it’s “not unrealistic” to assume the New York Rangers could offer up one of the first-round picks they got from Tampa Bay or Boston for Senators winger Mike Hoffman.
Traikos also speculates the Montreal Canadiens could move left wing Max Pacioretty if it’ll address their needs at center. “Nashville is reportedly gauging interest on P.K. Subban, while Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot might be available”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights were linked to Karlsson leading up to the February trade deadline. They’ve got the cap space and depth in young talent and prospects to tempt the Senators. It was reported Vegas’ unwillingness to part with Glass was the sticking point in their previous efforts to land the Ottawa captain and that could remain a deal breaker.
As for the rebuilding Rangers, I don’t think they need Hoffman’s personal baggage. While his offensive skills could help them, they need a veteran leader to mentor their younger players.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Pacioretty gets moved for a center. There’s talk the Canadiens are looking at Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly and apparently had interest in Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle and Florida’s Nick Bjugstad before the trade deadline.
Predators general manager David Poile has dismissed the Subban trade speculation. Unless the Oilers’ intend on replacing Talbot with a better goaltender I don’t believe they’ll move him.
LATEST ON THE OILERS
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector takes note of the ongoing trade rumors swirling about the Edmonton Oilers’ Milan Lucic, pointing out the left winger and his agent haven’t done anything to quash the speculation. Spector considers moving the winger’s hefty contract as next to impossible. “This isn’t Nathan Horton, where a team simply takes on cap space. Lucic will arrive at your camp in the fall expecting to play.” He expects Lucic will be trying to revive his career in Edmonton and the Oilers could quietly attempt to move him next year.
Regarding trade chatter about defenseman Oscar Klefbom, Spector feels GM Peter Chiarelli is comfortable retaining the blueliner if a suitable deal cannot be found. In theory, he could swap Klefbom for Boston’s Torey Krug, Colorado’s Tyson Barrie or Carolina’s Justin Faulk, “depending on the ancillary parts required to make the deal happen.”
Spector also considers the Cam Talbot trade rumors “ridiculous.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with “Cousin Mark” regarding Lucic and Talbot. I’m not sure the Oilers could get a defenseman-plus for Klefbom, who has considerable talent but also a history of injuries and inconsistent play. A one-for-one swap might be the best they can do. I do agree that Chiarelli will be comfortable hanging onto Klefbom if he doesn’t receive a suitable trade offer.