NHL Rumor Mill – September 21, 2018
Updates on Sergei Bobrovsky and Justin Faulk in your NHL rumor mill.
COULD THE ISLANDERS EYE BOBROVSKY?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Ottawa’s TSN 1200 he believes the New York Islanders could be “keenly interested” in Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He notes the Islanders “have been searching for a goaltender that can be a difference-maker for quite some time.”
Dreger feels new general manager Lou Lamoriello knows he’s going to have to bring in that type of goalie at some point. “Whether there’s a deal to be made, whether or not it’s the Islanders or another team that jumps in on Bobrovsky as a free agent, there’ll be no shortage of suitors,” he said.
Dreger acknowledged the Blue Jackets currently have no interest in trading Bobrovsky or fellow pending UFA Artemi Panarin. However, he notes a lot can change between now and the trade deadline. If they can’t get them under contract before then, the Jackets could face making some difficult decisions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne are the top goalies potentially available in next summer’s UFA market. While Rinne’s the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Bobrovsky will likely attract more interest. Despite his woeful playoff record, he’s five years younger than the 35-year-old Rinne and has two Vezinas on his resume.
I agree with Dreger that Bobrovsky won’t lack for suitors if hebecomes available before the trade deadline or hits the open market in July. If current Islanders goalies Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss fail to significantly improve this season, I expect Lamoriello will be among the bidders for Bobrovsky.
COULD THE LEAFS TARGET FAULK?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites NHL insider Pierre LeBrun discussing Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk on Toronto’s TSN 1050 yesterday and the Leafs’ apparent interest in him this summer. “I was told this summer that to some degree Carolina and Toronto did talk about him, but it didn’t go anywhere. And that might just be that Kyle Dubas was calling around the league to start getting a foundation for what’s out there over the next 12 months, who knows,” he said.
LeBrun thinks Faulk, a right-handed shot under contract through 2019-20 with an affordable $4.83-million annual salary-cap hit, could be an obvious fit for the Leafs, who are in need of a top-four, right-shot blueliner. He feels Faulk hasn’t been moved yet because the Hurricanes will likely set a big price, which the Leafs aren’t ready to do at this point. Faulk also has a modified no-trade clause, submitting a 15-team trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Faulk certainly seems like an obvious choice for the Leafs, who still lack skilled, experienced blueline depth. But after giving away Jeff Skinner this summer to the Buffalo Sabres, the Hurricanes will expect a better return for Faulk.
It’s also possible the Leafs might not be on his list of preferred trade destinations. Sure, he can agree to expand that list but it’s not a certainty.