NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2018
The 2018 NHL Draft begins tonight. Check out the latest trade rumors involving Erik Karlsson, John Tavares, Ryan O’Reilly, Jeff Skinner and more.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s considerable interest in Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson entering the draft weekend. The Vegas Golden Knights, who attempted to acquire the blueliner at the February trade deadline, are believed among the teams looking at Karlsson. The Senators are expected to set a huge asking price for Karlsson. Bob McKenzie noted the Senators wanted the Golden Knights to take winger Bobby Ryan and his $7.5 million salary-cap hit as part of the deal in February. While the Golden Knights have the cap space to do that now, McKenzie believes they’re not going to send as many players or draft picks back in return.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun wonders if Senators general manager Pierre Dorion believes now is the best time to trade Karlsson or wait until next season when his value might be higher. LeBrun feels the Senators need this resolved now, either by trading or re-signing him. As of Wednesday, Karlsson had not be asked to supply a list of preferred trade destinations.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Golden Knights aren’t the only club talking to the Senators about Karlsson, as the Carolina Hurricanes are believed to have spoken to them. He notes the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning were interested back in February. Bobby Ryan, Zack Smith and Jean-Gabriel Pageau are also being mentioned, though Garrioch notes the Sens didn’t show any interest in moving Pageau in February and he now has a chance to play an expanded role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this season there were reports the Senators requested trade lists from several players, including Karlsson. That’s probably the list they’re still operating on if they are fielding trade offers.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports new New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz has had some communication with captain John Tavares. The hiring of Trotz could make a difference in the club’s contract talks with Tavares, though there are other factors (goaltending, roster stability) to consider.
Pierre LeBrun reports Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has ruled out a “sign-and-trade” option for Tavares. “So either Tavares stays put or goes, but it will be a traditional transaction either way,” said LeBrun, who adds Lamoriello hopes Tavares stays.
Bob McKenzie reports the Islanders are among the clubs with interest in Washington Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks are also believed in the mix. The Capitals are thought to be seeking at least a first-round pick for Grubauer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Islanders entering this weekend. I expect they’ll be making a move or two to bolster their goaltending and their blueline. There’s growing chatter that they’re also getting closer to a deal with Tavares but we might not hear anything new on that until after this weekend.
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Montreal Canadiens have had some interest in Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly. The Sabres covet the Canadiens’ first-round pick (third overall) in this year’s draft but McKenzie believes they’re unwilling to part with that selection and are trying to find another way to land O’Reilly. He adds the Sabres aren’t committed to trading O’Reilly and won’t move him unless they get the right pieces coming back.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels said multiple reports have surfaced claiming Canadiens GM Marc Bergervin has spoken with Sabres GM Jason Botterill discussion the possibility of swapping left wing Max Pacioretty for O’Reilly. Bergevin also said the chances he’ll trade his first-round pick are very, very slim. Friedman suggests the possibility of the Canadiens taking back a bad contract, such as Matt Moulson’s, as part of the return for O’Reilly.
Pacioretty has one year remaining on his contract and could seek a long-term extension worth over $7 million. The Canadiens could be reluctant to pay that much for a winger who’ll turn 31 in 2019. The Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes have been linked to Pacioretty, and Engels also suggests the New York Islanders could also be a possibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens really need improvement at center so it’s no surprise they’re interesting in O’Reilly. Based on the latest reports, it seems increasingly unlikely Bergevin will part with the third-overall pick to address that issue. I think he’s looking more at moving Pacioretty with a package of other picks (he has four in their second round) and a prospect to get it done.
LATEST ON THE HURRICANES
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Los Angeles Kings are among the teams talking to the Carolina Hurricanes about left wing Jeff Skinner. The Kings are also talking to free-agent left wing Ilya Kovalchuk and if they sign him it could take them out of the bidding for Skinner. The Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues have also shown interest in the Hurricanes’ forward.
LeBrun also reports the Hurricanes are willing to pay restricted free agent center Elias Lindholm just north of $4 million annually but the Lindholm camp seeks over $5 million. The center’s representatives are slated to meet with Hurricanes GM Don Waddell today. LeBrun believes they could shop Lindholm if a deal cannot be hashed out, saying the Calgary Flames are among the clubs who’ve expressed interest.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock reports the Hurricanes are among five or six clubs with interest in Washington Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The Hurricanes have a second-round pick to offer up but the Islanders (with two first-round picks) are considered the front-runners. They’ve also inquired about Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker. DeCock also said the Hurricanes are only seriously considering moving a player or two, starting with those with impending contract issues such as Jeff Skinner. Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin could also fall into the category depending upon how their current contract negotiations go.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are coming up a lot in recent trade chatter. I expect Skinner is the most likely to be dealt. Lindholm could be next but I wouldn’t be surprised if Waddell and the center’s agent find an agreeable midpoint in the annual salary. I still feel they’ll move Justin Faulk before Hanifin, who still has plenty of upside.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Los Angeles Kings are believed to have made a contract offer to free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk. The San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights and Boston Bruins are thought to have interest in the 35-year-old Kovalchuk.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney have held discussions with the Kovalchuk camp. Sweeney said there’s no face-to-face meetings set up yet with the winger but his interest remains high. Kovalchuk is rumored seeking a two-year deal worth $6 million per season.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Chicago Blackhawks are talking to teams in hopes of finding one that’ll take the contract of all-but-retired winger Marian Hossa off their hands. Hossa’s cap hit is $5.275 million though in actual salary he’ll get $1 million for 2018-19. It’s believed they’ve spoken with the Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators but LeBrun doubts they have any interest in acquiring Hossa’s contract.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports a league source claims the Blackhawks have been talking with several teams about ways to upgrade their defense, “particularly Carolina and Justin Faulk.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes used to be willing dumping ground for teams to offload bad contracts. With a roster of budding young talent, however, it’s understandable why they’re reluctant to do so now. They’ll need cap space going forward to re-sign those youngsters. Remember, they’re not a cap-ceiling team.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports sources say Minnesota Wild forwards Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter remain in the mix of persistent trade chatter. The trio failed to tally a point in the Wild’s five-game opening-round playoff elimination against the Winnipeg Jets. New GM Paul Fenton is considering shaking up his core. Before the Arizona Coyotes dealt Max Domi to Montreal, it’s believed Fenton spoke to them about a possible swap of Niederreiter and Zucker for Domi and another forward believed to be Christian Dvorak.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it’s believed the Wild have asked teams with interest in Coyle, Niederreiter or Zucker to take forward Tyler Ennis as part of a package.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ennis has one year remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $4.6 million, though his actual salary is $3.65 million for 2018-19. Still, that could prove a tough sell for clubs more interested in Coyle, Niederreiter or Zucker.
BLUES BEING ASKED ABOUT PARAYKO
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there’s word a number of teams are calling the St. Louis Blues to ask if they might consider trading defenseman Colton Parayko. The Edmonton Oilers, who hold the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft, could be among them. He thinks the asking price would be “enormous”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if the Blues trade Parayko. Yes, they need to bolster their scoring but it shouldn’t come at the expense of one of their best defensemen.