NHL Rumor Mill – August 15, 2019
The latest on the Sharks, Flames and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL THORNTON AND MARLEAU RETURN TO THE SHARKS?
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz expects Joe Thornton will return for another season with the San Jose Sharks. The delay in signing the 40-year-old center could be because the Sharks haven’t finished shaping their roster for the upcoming season. They still need depth at right wing and perhaps a more reliable backup goaltender.
Kurz is less assured about a possible reunion with Patrick Marleau. The former Shark agreed in June to be traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Carolina Hurricanes, who bought out the final year of his contract.
Kurz believes there’s isn’t a “handshake-type agreement” between the Sharks and Marleau as there is with Thornton. Marleau isn’t a right winger and general manager Doug Wilson doesn’t like to add veteran players who would take away playing time from younger ones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $4 million in salary-cap room, the Sharks have enough to bring back Thornton and Marleau on affordable one-year, bonus-heavy contracts.
Thornton’s return is assured. If Wilson finds a younger, cost-effective right wing via trade or free agency, that’ll put an end to any talk of a Marleau reunion.
UPDATE ON THE FLAMES DEFENSE
SPORTSNET: Eric Francis reports Juuso Valimaki’s knee injury changes Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving’s plans for T.J. Brodie. Treliving was shopping Brodie and nearly shipped the defenseman to Toronto for center Nazem Kadri but the latter refused to waive his no-trade clause. Kadri was later traded to the Colorado Avalanche.
With Treliving now seeking a replacement for Valimaki, Francis considers it likely “trade talk involving Brodie will now cease.” He expects Oliver Kylington should easily slide in Valimaki’s spot on the Flames blueline. Instead of moving Brodie to free up salary-cap space to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk, the focus could instead shift to trading winger Michael Frolik ($4.3 million).
THE HOCKEY NEWS: If Treliving opts to shop around for blueline depth, Jared Clinton suggests unrestricted free agents such as Ben Hutton or Joe Morrow. He also proposed contacting the St. Louis Blues about Joel Edmundson or Carl Gunnarsson, or shipping Frolik to the Los Angeles Kings for Derek Forbort.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Failing to trade Brodie this summer may be a blessing in disguise following Valimaki’s injury. Treliving doesn’t seem too concerned about finding a suitable replacement. If he seeks a more experienced and affordable option, he shouldn’t encounter much difficulty finding one via trade or free agency. He could also wait until after training camp or pre-season play to go that route.
LATEST ON THE WINGS DEFENSE
THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently reported changes will be ongoing this season for the Red Wings defense corps. They’re waiting to see if veteran Niklas Kronwall will return or retire. Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson, and Mike Green are all a year away from unrestricted free agent status. Kulfan doubts they have a future with the Wings. If they stay healthy, he expects they’ll likely be moved by the trade deadline if the Wings are out of playoff contention by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings blueline was a work in progress before Steve Yzerman took over this spring as general manager. That work will continue throughout this season and into next summer. Don’t expect the Wings to get much back in return for Daley, Ericsson, or Green.