Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 16, 2019
Latest on Jacob Trouba, Kevin Hayes, James Neal, Nikita Zaitsev, and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
RANGERS, ISLANDERS AMONG POTENTIAL TROUBA SUITORS
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers and New York Islanders are among up to a dozen clubs aggressively pursuing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba. He also said the New Jersey Devils were in the hunt. He cites sources claiming the Jets haven’t given Trouba’s agent permission yet to speak with other clubs. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
Compared to the Isles and Devils, Brooks feels the Rangers could lack the expendable depth in prospects and young talent the Jets could command for Trouba. Facing a potential salary-cap crunch this summer, the Jets are believed seeking “a first-rounder and a pair of legitimate prospects or young NHLers in return.” Brooks also believes the cost of re-signing Trouba could be a seven-year deal worth up to $7.5-million annually.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in Trouba but it’s hard to see a match. He wonders if shipping Trouba to the Philadelphia Flyers for Shayne Gostisbehere would make any sense, though he notes Gostisbehere isn’t a right-handed shot. He also noted Trouba has a home in Florida but isn’t sure the Panthers want to pay the price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s an expectation Trouba will be traded by the end of the NHL Draft next weekend, if not sooner. Some fans don’t believe he’s worth a hefty return or the big contract. He’s a 25-year-old top-pairing defenseman coming off a career-high 50-point performance. The Jets will get a big return if they trade him and he will get an expensive new contract wherever he plays. The question is, which team gets him?
It’s not surprising to see the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers, and Panthers linked to Trouba. He’s also been tied to the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings. The only certainty is he won’t be traded to a Canadian franchise. When his agent requested a trade during their contract standoff in 2016, the preferred destinations were American.
UPDATES ON HAYES
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a source claiming there’s mutual interest between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes. The Flyers hold his exclusive negotiating rights until the UFA interview period opens on June 23. However, a source close to Hayes claims it’s unlikely he’ll sign with the Flyers.
The same source said the Bruins were close to acquiring him before the Rangers shipped him to Winnipeg at the trade deadline. Murphy feels pursuing Hayes would make sense if the Bruins decide to trade center David Krejci this summer.
SPORTSNET: Friedman wonders if the Philadelphia Flyers are willing to pay between $6.5 million to $7 million annually to sign Kevin Hayes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci has a full no-movement clause until July 1, when it reverts to a modified no-trade where he provides a list of half of the teams in the league he would accept being traded to. If the Bruins trade Krejci I can see them pursuing Hayes. However, I doubt Krejci will be on the move. I expect GM Don Sweeney will try to keep his core intact for one more push for the Cup next season.
RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs asking price for defenseman Nikita Zaitsev is another blueliner or a return that will help them land one. He also believes there’s plenty of options if they decide to move center Nazem Kadri, though the Winnipeg Jets are on his no-trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zaitsev’s contract ($4.5 million annually through 2023-24) is a sticking point. Kadri would attract interest but the Leafs could be reluctant to move him despite his costly postseason penalties.
The Buffalo Sabres talked to the New York Rangers regarding forward Jimmy Vesey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s interesting. The Sabres acquired Vesey’s rights from the Nashville Predators three years ago in hopes of re-signing him but he opted to join the Rangers instead. He has a year remaining on his contract worth $2.275 million and will become a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights.
The Calgary Flames tested the trade market on James Neal. He believes they kicked around the notion of swapping Neal for Milan Lucic but decided against it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Neal trade speculation seems to have faded almost as quickly as it surfaced. There’s either not much of a market for his services or the Flames could be hoping for a bounce-back performance next season.
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon acknowledged his club’s need to address their goals-against issue. A decision on goaltender Roberto Luongo is expected before the upcoming NHL Draft.
Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if the Minnesota Wild pursue New York Islanders winger Anders Lee or San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be more surprised if those two are available in the UFA market. If the Sharks re-sign Karlsson to a rumored eight-year, $88-million deal, that could make it difficult to re-sign Pavelski.
Friedman predicted Dion Phaneuf and Andrew MacDonald would be bought out. Others to watch include Carolina’s Scott Darling, Anaheim’s Corey Perry, and Dallas’ Valeri Nichushkin.
Just got out of media briefing with Steve Yzerman….says organization is confident there will be a very good prospect available at No. 6. Also….doesn’t appear #RedWings will be buying anyone out and…
— Ted Kulfan (@tkulfan) June 13, 2019
Comes as no surprise but sources tell me the Avs will not be buying out anybody.
— AJ Haefele (@AJHaefele) June 15, 2019