Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 22, 2018
Latest on Artemi Panarin plus updates on the San Jose Sharks and New Jersey Devils in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SHOULD THE BRUINS PURSUE PANARIN?
BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont suggests Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin would be a dream fit on the Bruins’ second line alongside center David Krejci. He believes Panarin, who appears reluctant to sign a contract extension with the Blue Jackets, could return to Chicago or “or maybe LA or somewhere in the Ranger-Islander-Devil metro-NY area”, a big city with a “large, vibrant Russian population”. However, he points out Boston is “a world-class city with a perennial playoff contender” that can accommodate his salary.
Dupont speculates the Blue Jackets will be forced to move Panarin before the February 2019 trade deadline for a player, a draft pick and a prospect, rather than lose him to free agency for nothing next summer. It’s also possible the Jackets will try to move the winger now and allow teams to negotiate a new contract. If the Bruins were to pursue Panarin, Dupont believes the asking price from Columbus would be “two young plug-in, ready-to play roster players” such as winger Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dupont is just engaging in spit-balling and isn’t saying the Bruins are getting into the bidding for Panarin. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney could be among the clubs that made inquiries. However, we don’t know that for certain, let alone if he’s willing to part with a couple of his promising youngsters.
WILL THE SHARKS MAKE A BIG MOVE THIS SUMMER?
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien thinks the San Jose Sharks could still make a big move despite losing out to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the bidding for free-agent center John Tavares. While the Sharks have just over $4 million in salary-cap space, he believes they should “swing for the fences” while they still can.
O’Brien feels the Sharks’ championship window is closing. While they lack a first-round pick in 2019, they carry two second-rounders in 2019 that could perhaps be packaged for someone like Carolina’s Jeff Skinner or Montreal’s Max Pacioretty. He also points out the lack of talent remaining in this summer’s free agent pool. While Skinner and Pacioretty will be UFAs next summer, perhaps they would play well enough to earn a contract extension. One of them could also serve as a suitable replacement for Joe Pavelski if he departs via free agency next summer.
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz also weighed in the Sharks relatively quiet offseason since June. He feels their current roster is a good one but remains one or two pieces short of Stanley Cup contender status. He noted that Sharks GM Doug Wilson said he won’t make a move simply for the sake of doing so. However, Pacific Division rivals like the LA Kings, Calgary Flames, Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes made some significant and potentially roster-boosting moves in recent weeks. Perhaps that could prompt Wilson to keep shopping.
Noting how much the St. Louis Blues gave up to acquire Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres (two veteran forwards, a promising young player and two draft picks), Kurz feels the Sharks will have to give up something comparable to land someone like Panarin, Pacioretty, Skinner or Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson. He also noted the Sharks lack a first-round pick in the 2019 draft and it could also cost them promising Timo Meier to pursue one of those players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson is probably keeping an eye on the trade market but he doesn’t have to pull the trigger this summer. He’s unafraid to make bold moves but tends to wait for a deal that will be more favorable to him.
The Sharks’ current roster is a playoff contender, buying time for Wilson to wait and see how the trade market shakes out over the course of the season. If those aforementioned players are too expensive, he could wait and see if the price drops on one of them,. He could also look for other options to become available before the February trade deadline.
LATEST ON THE DEVILS
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan believes there are still ways for New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero to improve his roster before the puck drops on the new season on Oct. 3. He suggested Shero could get involved as a third-party in a possible Erik Karlsson trade by taking one or two contracts from clubs hoping to acquire the Senators defenseman. Another option is pursuing a trade with the Minnesota Wild for a veteran forward (such as Jason Zucker or Nino Niederreiter) if GM Paul Fenton is in the mood to shake up his roster.
Ryan also suggested trading for Montreal’s Max Pacioretty or Pittsburgh’s Phil Kessel, or perhaps signing a free agent such as winger Rick Nash (if he decides to return next season) or defenseman Dan Hamhuis.
THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak recently suggested making professional tryout offers to free agent forwards such as Lee Stempniak, Drew Stafford, Jason Chimera, Jannik Hansen or Joel Ward, or defenseman like Paul Martin, Dan Hamhuis or Brooks Orpik.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over the last two years, Shero’s proven willing to swing big trades to improve his lineup. Maybe he will become part of a three-play deal involving Karlsson if the return also benefits him. Targeting a team carrying a pending UFA is possible, provided he can re-sign that player to an extension.
I can see him going the professional tryout route, though those moves probably won’t significantly improve the Devils. I wouldn’t be surprised if Shero stays patient throughout this summer or waits for the season to begin to find the right deal.