NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2018
A look at the Islanders “Plan B” if they fail to resign John Tavares, the free-agent goalie search plus updates on Milan Lucic, Artemi Panarin and more in your NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON THE ISLANDERS
NEWSDAY: As free-agent center John Tavares takes some time to consider his future, Andrew Gross looks at possible moves by the New York Islanders should Tavares move on. They could promote NHL rookie-of-the-year Mathew Barzal to the first-line center position, perhaps pursue center Paul Stastny via free agency or attempt to acquire Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres.
They also need a starting goaltender and help on the blueline. Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson has requested a trade while free-agent options include Cam Ward and Carter Hutton.
TSN: Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch reports the Islanders are among the team to “kick tires” on Anderson, whose age (37) and contract creates a limited market for his services. Moving Anderson would create a big hole in net for the Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Islanders are obviously hoping Tavares will stay I don’t doubt GM Lou Lamoriello has contingency plans should he sign elsewhere. Wouldn’t surprise me if Lamoriello quickly gets into the bidding for O’Reilly. He has the cap space to take on the center’s $7.5-million cap hit and the depth in young assets to tempt the Sabres. As for Anderson, unless the Senators move quickly to find a suitable replacement I don’t think he’ll be traded this summer.
UPDATES ON LUCIC AND PANARIN
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the agent for Oilers winger Milan Lucic yesterday denied a report claiming the club had a trade in place for his client. “Milan didn’t ask for a trade and Peter (GM Chiarelli) 100 per cent, has not come to us about moving Milan. If he wants to get out from under the contract, he has to talk to us,” said Gerry Johannson. He added Lucic is “coming back to play for the Edmonton Oilers.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lucic was frequently mentioned earlier this month as a possible trade candidate but that speculation faded over the past couple of weeks. If there was any attempt by the Oilers to move Lucic it appears it’s come to naught.
TVA SPORTS: L.A. Lariviere reports the agent for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin confirmed his client will be talking with Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen next month in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dan Milstein said it’s merely a courtesy call by Kekalainen and not a formal meeting, something the Jackets GM also did last August.
Panarin is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent. The Jackets wish to open contract extension talks but he’s not interested in doing so at this time. Milstein also said rumors his client wants out of Columbus are unfounded, as are reports his girlfriend wants to revive her modeling career in a more cosmopolitan city. “He is not in a hurry to sign a new agreement. He wants to take his time and know the intentions of the organization,” said Milstein.
Milstein also said another client, New York Rangers center Vladislav Namestnikov has received a qualifying offer but has yet to decide if he’ll accept it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are reports the Jackets have received trade offers for Panarin but none of them will bring the club immediate help to offset the winger’s absence. Much could depend upon Kekalainen’s roster moves this summer, which includes re-signing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
SEVERAL FREE-AGENT GOALIES DRAWING INTEREST
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports long-time Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has been contacted by five teams interested in his services. His agent, Rick Curran, said the Chicago Blackhawks were among three clubs that have had extensive interviews with his client. There’s speculation Ward could ink a one-year, $3-million deal with the Blackhawks on July 1.
BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter reports the Bruins can forget about wooing Carter Hutton, as he’s only interested in signing where he has a chance to be a starting goalie. The Buffalo Sabres have reportedly zeroed in on Hutton.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Detroit Red Wings are leaning toward signing Jonathan Bernier as their new backup on perhaps a three-year deal. They’re also interested in bringing back former Wings Valtteri Filppula and Thomas Vanek and have had productive discussions with free agent defenseman Mike Green, who could re-sign a two-year deal by Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings reportedly met with former Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner earlier this week but Khan reports he’s no longer a possibility. Not sure if they felt Bernier was a better option or if another club (perhaps the Islanders?) have pitched him a better proposal.
THE LATEST PENGUINS, BRUINS, RANGERS, CANADIENS AND FLAMES UPDATES
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: In the wake of the Penguins’ recent moves (including shipping Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick to Buffalo for a conditional 2019 draft pick), Jason Mackey believes they’re not done making moves. He reports they’ve met with free-agent winger Michael Grabner, though the Penguins already have considerable depth at right wing.
If they wish to pursue someone like Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner, they’ll have to move winger Carl Hagelin to clear cap space and perhaps goaltender Tristan Jarry as a key piece of a trade that another, such as the Hurricanes, might want.
Mackey suggests pursuing more affordable free-agent options such as Tobias Rieder, Antoine Roussel or Patrick Maroon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are considered by some as the favorite to land Skinner. Cap Friendly indicates they have a projected $8.1 million in cap space but his $5.725 million cap hit will eat up most of it. The Hurricanes will have to take a salaried player back or pick up part of that cap hit.
BOSTON HERALD: As the Bruins also await John Tavare’s decision, Steve Conroy reports they’ve “kicked tires” on free-agent wingers James van Reimsdyk and Michael Grabner.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers are interested in Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves, who due to become a UFA on July 1. They apparently want to bring more grit and toughness to their lineup.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger report the Montreal Canadiens have interest in Tobias Rieder and former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Xavier Ouellet. Frank Seravalli reports Carolina Hurricanes pending UFA center Derek Ryan was expected to meet with the Calgary Flames yesterday.