Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 11, 2017
Updates on the Blackhawks, Rangers and Lightning plus the latest on Dion Phaneuf, Keith Yandle, Sami Vatanen and more in your NHL rumor mill.
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz reports trade rumblings about the Chicago Blackhawks are growing louder. On Friday, Jay Zawatski of Chicago’s 670 The Score reported hearing there’s a good chance the Blackhawks could move a core player other than Jonathan Toews. He believes the move won’t help the club in the short term, as it could be to cut salary or restock their prospect cupboard.
On Saturday, The Athletic’s Scott Powers said neither Artem Anisimov and Brent Seabrook were asked to waive their NMCs. Gretz doubts the Blackhawks will move Toews, Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Hawks aren’t willing to part with those players listed by Gretz, the only real options are Anisimov and Seabrook. Of the two, Anisimov would be easiest to move. He carries an annual cap hit of $4.55 million through 2020-21 while Seabrook’s is $6.875 million through 2023-24. Unless the Hawks are willing to pick up, say, $2 million of Seabrook’s annual cap hit, I doubt there will be much interest in his contract around the league.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports it appears the Columbus Blue Jackets and Vegas Golden Knights could be working on something. He said there’s a possibility the two sides are discussing David Clarkson and also noted the Blue Jackets have the 24th pick in this year’s draft “and some young forwards at the AHL level who might be part of this,” though Friedman said it’s been difficult for him to pin this down. He points out any trades Vegas makes won’t be official until June 21.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clarkson is all but retired due to a back injury and is reportedly willing to waive his no-movement clause to allow the Jackets to move him.
Friedman also reports the word is the Ottawa Senators asked defenseman Dion Phaneuf to waive his no-movement clause in order to expose him in the upcoming expansion draft. Ditto the Florida Panthers with Keith Yandle. Both blueliners have yet to decide if they’ll do so. Friedman thinks there would be a ton of interest if the Golden Knights selected Yandle and then flipped him to another team.
Nick Kypreos claims Vegas’ pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins will be Marc-Andre Fleury. Friedman suggests he could also be a “flip candidate.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Exposing Phaneuf in the draft would allow the Sens the flexibility to protect seven forwards and three defensemen. It’s doubtful the Golden Knights select Phaneuf, but the Sens could swing a deal with Vegas to ensure they bypass him and select someone else.
Yandle’s situation is much more interesting as the Panthers paid big bucks to sign him last summer and supposedly consider him part of their core talent. This could also be another scenario in which the Panthers ask Vegas to overlook Yandle and instead select another player.
Friedman doubts the Anaheim Ducks are interested in Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane. With considerable interest in Sami Vatanen, he doesn’t think the Ducks want to take back much salary. While he thinks shipping Vatanen to Tampa Bay for Jonathan Drouin, he doubts they can afford a new contract for the young winger.
If the Lightning can’t swing a deal for Vatanan, Friedman wonders if they’ll try to pry a blueliner (Jonas Brodin? Matt Dumba?) away from the Minnesota Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wild acquired Drouin, they could also face salary-cap concerns. Moving Dumba or Brodin would clear some cap room and they could free up more if another salaried player departs via the expansion draft. However, in addition to re-signing Drouin, they also have to re-up RFAs Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund. That could be an expensive trio.
Regarding recent trade speculations over Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett, a league executive said they’re reluctant to plug one hole by opening another. If they do move Bennett, the return will be expensive.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While anything’s possible, I don’t see the Flames parting with Bennett. They still have high hopes for this kid.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers have spoken with clubs with player protection problems on defense or those that might be willing to move a legitimate top-pairing blueliner with a right-handed shot. Colorado’s Tyson Barrie and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba are players of interest but there’s nothing doing on those fronts for the time being.
Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is a player the Rangers and many others “would be willing to move just about anyone to acquire, but the problem is Colorado general manager Joe Sakic is asking for just about everyone.”
Contract talks continue between the Rangers and defenseman Brendan Smith. The Blueshirts also haven’t asked Dan Girardi and Marc Staal to waive their no-movement clauses for the purpose of exposure in the expansion draft.
The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets are believed among the clubs with interest in making a pre-expansion draft trade involving Rangers backup goalie Antti Raanta. The Blueshirts aren’t yet committed to moving him nor have they received a convincing offer.
Brooks also dismissed a report out of Russia claiming the Rangers could be out of the bidding for Ilya Kovalchuk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if the Avalanche trade away MacKinnon. Still believe Matt Duchene is their likely trade candidate. I wouldn’t rule out a Barrie trade for the right offer.
Maybe the Blueshirts intend to buy out Staal or Girardi later this week.That would explain why they haven’t yet been asked to waive their NMCs.
The Rangers risk losing Raanta to the Golden Knights for nothing in the expansion draft. But if they trade him, they risk losing another player they could prefer to protect in that draft.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has spoken with Vegas GM George McPhee but isn’t sure if he can work out a side deal that controls which unprotected Lightning player gets chosen in the upcoming draft. Smith speculates on the possibility of Yzerman swinging a deal with teams that have a glut on defense, such as Anaheim or Minnesota.
In his mailbag segment, he feels it would be more likely for Yzerman to trade Alex Killorn rather than lose him in the expansion draft, but given Killorn’s value to the Bolts, he thinks it’s crazy that a player the Bolts GM called part of the club’s core last summer gets moved.
He also wouldn’t be surprised if Drouin got moved but it would take an impressive return for the Lightning to part with him. He wonders if the Avs would part with Tyson Barrie. He also lists Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen or Minnesota’s Matt Dumba as trade options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a widespread belief Yzerman will make a significant move this summer to land a top-four defenseman. Drouin or Killorn could fetch that return, though Drouin would obviously attract better offers. I also believe it’s possible Yzerman could put Tyler Johnson on the block.