NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2019
Latest on the Predators, Red Wings, and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan notes Nashville Predators general manager David Poile is expected to make changes this summer. He examines several possible trade scenarios. Defenseman P.K. Subban could fetch an elite forward but Vingan feels that move should be made only if the return makes the Predators better.
Center Kyle Turris has surfaced in trade speculation but he carries a big salary and is coming off a down year. Vingan points out Poile has never retained salary in a trade but would have to in this case to move Turris.
Vingan doubts Poile puts defenseman Ryan Ellis on the block after re-signing him a year ago to an eight-year contract extension. Shopping checking-line center Nick Bonino won’t land a big return but would provide salary-cap flexibility for other moves. Unless captain Roman Josi’s contract-extension negotiations break down, Vingan considers it unlikely he’ll be shopped.
John Glennon wonders if the Predators will pursue Matt Duchene if he tests this summer’s free-agent market. He points out Poile previously had interest in the Columbus Blue Jackets center when he was on the trade block. The Predators would have to shed salary first as they lack sufficient salary-cap space to sign him. Duchene could seek between $8.5 – $10 million per season on the open market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators’ biggest need is scoring depth at forward and that’ll require a cost-cutting move to pull it off. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $76.8 million tied up in 22 players.
It’ll be interesting to see what Poile has in mind. He could do a dollar-for-dollar swap involving Subban or Ellis. Turris’s trade value is low right now. His $6 million annual average value through 2023-24 is a deal breaker unless Poile picks up a big chunk of his cap hit and includes a sweetener like a prospect or pick in the deal. Maybe he moves Bonino’s $4.1 million annual average value for a secondary scorer carrying a comparable cap hit.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently mused over whether shopping Anthony Mantha or Andreas Athanasiou could bring a quality defenseman to the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings are deep in young forwards but short on talented young blueliners.
Steve Yzerman, the Wings new general manager, established a reputation for making bold moves during his tenure as Tampa Bay Lightning GM. Kulfan suggested clubs deep in defensemen, such as the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks, and Nashville Predators, as possible trade partners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman could draw upon his depth in promising young forwards as trade bait to bolster his blueline corps. With over $71.1 million invested in 18 players, he could forego the free-agent market to address his defense needs via trade.
Then again, maybe Yzerman takes a season to fully evaluate his roster before opting to swing a big trade. We’ll find out starting next month what he has in mind and if those plans involve Mantha or Athanasiou.
TVA SPORTS: Left-side defensemen such as Toronto’s Jake Gardiner, Vancouver’s Alex Edler, Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere, and Los Angeles’ Alec Martinez could interest the Montreal Canadiens.
Gardiner and Edler are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. There could be considerable interest around the league in the 28-year-old Gardiner. Edler’s age (33) and desire for a no-movement clause in his next contract could be cause for concern.
The asking price for Gostisbehere could be a first-round pick, which would likely be too high for the Canadiens. It remains to be seen if the rebuilding Kings part with Martinez after trading Jake Muzzin this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have over $68.3 million committed to 20 players. They’ll have plenty of cap space to add a top-four left-side rearguard. I expect GM Marc Bergevin will attempt to address that issue this summer.
Gardiner could command over $6 million annually on a long-term deal. Unless Edler agrees to a three-year deal, the Habs could pass.
Martinez might not become available until next season’s trade deadline, if at all. Gostisbehere would be the best option but the Flyers won’t give him away. They’ll likely want more than just a first-round draft pick. I’m guessing they’ll want a top-six forward.