NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2018

Latest on the Wild and Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.

LAST CHANCE FOR WILD’S CORE GROUP?

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sarah McLellan recently reported the Minnesota Wild’s veteran core (Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, Jared Spurgeon, Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, Eric Staal, Devan Dubnyk, Nino Niederreiter and Matt Dumba) all realize changes could be coming if they once again fall short in the playoffs.

The Minnesota Wild’s veteran core, including Eric Staal, could be shaken up if they fall short in the playoffs this season. (Photo via NHL Images)

The Wild made the postseason in each of the past six seasons but advanced beyond the opening round just twice. Paul Fenton took over this spring as general manager. He has no timetable to start tinkering with the lineup, in part because he hasn’t made a final assessment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fenton did the right thing by not coming in and making a clean sweep of things this summer. Best to evaluate what you’ve got before deciding what changes must be made.

Two games into this season, the Wild haven’t had much jump or urgency in their game. There’s plenty of time, of course, to correct that problem. If it persists, to the point where their playoff hopes are in jeopardy, Fenton could be forced to make moves earlier than expected.

If Fenton does shake things up, either this season or next summer, it could involve younger players such as Brodin, Dumba, Zucker, Coyle or Niederreiter. All were mentioned in trade speculation last season.

Dumba and Zucker were re-signed by Fenton this summer so they’re less likely to move than the others. Still, it’s possible Fenton could entertain offers for either guy if a big shakeup is required. 

Staal is due to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. If he and Fenton cannot hammer out a new contract before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline, he could become a useful bargaining chip. 

Parise and Suter are well into their 30s and carry lengthy, expensive contracts that will be tough to move. Koivu has another year left on his deal but age (35) and declining production could hurt his trade value. Dubnyk has three years left on his deal. Given the lack of quality starting goalies available and his affordable $4.33-million cap hit I doubt he gets moved. 

BRUINS HAVE A HOLE AT CENTER

BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports the Boston Bruins will move David Backes into their third-line center position as they attempt to address the offseason departure of Riley Nash. They’ve tried youngsters such as Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson but they weren’t yet ready for that role. They also tried Sean Kuraly in that spot but he seems better suited on the fourth line. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a trade rumor but it is a situation that could bear watching. If Backes is a short-term solution and their younger centers aren’t yet ready for the role, GM Don Sweeney could be forced to test the trade market for help. He’ll also likely keep his eye on the waiver wire. Free-agent options are pretty slim

 











NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2018

Could the Bruins attempt to bring back Tyler Seguin? Why didn’t the Wild shake up their core this summer? Find out in your NHL rumor mill.

COULD SEGUIN RETURN TO THE BRUINS?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty took note of the fact the Dallas Stars had yet to re-sign Tyler Seguin to a contract extension. Considering they were among the teams attempting to woo John Tavares earlier this summer, Haggerty wonders if that suggests they might not end up re-signing Seguin, who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Could there be a reunion between Tyler Seguin and the Boston Bruins? (Photo via NHL Images)

Should Seguin become available via trade or free agency, Haggerty ponders the possibility of a reunion with the Boston Bruins, whose previous management shipped the talented forward to Dallas back in 2013. While Seguin’s offensive skills and production are enticing, there’s also concerns about paying too much money for “a very-good player on a bad team” who puts up big stats “until the ice gets difficult to fight for and product.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Seguin trade was one of the worst moves in Bruins history and has paid continuing dividends for the Stars. Last month, Dallas general manager Jim Nill said he’s had continuing dialogue with the Seguin camp regarding an extension and advised Stars fans not to panic if the high-scoring forward wasn’t under contract when the season opens in October. There’s still plenty of time for the two sides to work out an agreement. 

While one shouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility of Seguin returning to Boston, especially with the changes in the Bruins’ front office and behind the bench over the past five years, I don’t believe that reunion takes place unless they intend to part company with Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci in the near future. That’s a scenario I don’t see happening anytime soon.

Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have over $62 million invested in 16 players for 2019-20. Young defenseman Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo and forward Danton Heinen are restricted free agents next summer who could seek substantial raises. They’ll also have to re-sign or replace UFAs Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid.

Boston pundits believe one of the Bruins’ biggest needs is adding a physical scoring winger. If they go into the free-agent market next summer to address that issue, it could be to pursue someone such as Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, who would be a more affordable signing than Seguin.

ARE ANY CHANGES COMING FOR THE WILD’S CORE THIS SUMMER?

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Michael Russo was asked why Paul Fenton, the Minnesota Wild’s new general manager, failed to shake up the roster core or add a top-six forward this summer. He said it wasn’t for a lack of trying but Fenton didn’t receive any offers to his liking. The Wild’s biggest needs are for a right-shot top-six forward and a promising goaltender. 

Russo said there had been some trade talk regarding Jason Zucker (who recently re-signed with the Wild), Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle and also believes Eric Staal, Jared Spurgeon and Matt Dumba (who also re-signed this summer) were among others who may have come up in discussion. 

Russo thinks the reason Niederreiter and Coyle weren’t moved was because of their low trade value. He also feels they didn’t want to move defenseman Jonas Brodin due to concern over the health of Ryan Suter, who suffered a season-ending fracture ankle in late-March. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker, Niederreiter, Coyle and Dumba often surfaced over the past year as possible trade candidates. The recent signings of Zucker and Dumba, however, indicate Fenton feels they still have important long-term roles to play with the Wild.

Fenton didn’t rule out making a big move during his introductory press conference in May. However he and team owner Craig Leipold stressed their intent to tweak the lineup rather than make wholesale changes. I think Fenton wants to evaluate his roster in the coming season before making any major shakeups. Niederreiter or Coyle could be part of those changes if the Wild fail to improve. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2018

The 2018 NHL Draft begins tonight. Check out the latest trade rumors involving Erik Karlsson, John Tavares, Ryan O’Reilly, Jeff Skinner and more.

KARLSSON

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s considerable interest in Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson entering the draft weekend. The Vegas Golden Knights, who attempted to acquire the blueliner at the February trade deadline, are believed among the teams looking at Karlsson. The Senators are expected to set a huge asking price for Karlsson. Bob McKenzie noted the Senators wanted the Golden Knights to take winger Bobby Ryan and his $7.5 million salary-cap hit as part of the deal in February. While the Golden Knights have the cap space to do that now, McKenzie believes they’re not going to send as many players or draft picks back in return.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun wonders if Senators general manager Pierre Dorion believes now is the best time to trade Karlsson or wait until next season when his value might be higher. LeBrun feels the Senators need this resolved now, either by trading or re-signing him. As of Wednesday, Karlsson had not be asked to supply a list of preferred trade destinations.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Golden Knights aren’t the only club talking to the Senators about Karlsson, as the Carolina Hurricanes are believed to have spoken to them. He notes the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning were interested back in February. Bobby Ryan, Zack Smith and Jean-Gabriel Pageau are also being mentioned, though Garrioch notes the Sens didn’t show any interest in moving Pageau in February and he now has a chance to play an expanded role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this season there were reports the Senators requested trade lists from several players, including Karlsson. That’s probably the list they’re still operating on if they are fielding trade offers. 

Could the hiring of Barry Trotz as head coach push John Tavares closer to re-signing with the New York Islanders? (Photo via NHL Images)

ISLANDERS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports new New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz has had some communication with captain John Tavares. The hiring of Trotz could make a difference in the club’s contract talks with Tavares, though there are other factors (goaltending, roster stability) to consider.

Pierre LeBrun reports Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has ruled out a “sign-and-trade” option for Tavares. “So either Tavares stays put or goes, but it will be a traditional transaction either way,” said LeBrun, who adds Lamoriello hopes Tavares stays.

Bob McKenzie reports the Islanders are among the clubs with interest in Washington Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks are also believed in the mix. The Capitals are thought to be seeking at least a first-round pick for Grubauer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Islanders entering this weekend. I expect they’ll be making a move or two to bolster their goaltending and their blueline. There’s growing chatter that they’re also getting closer to a deal with Tavares but we might not hear anything new on that until after this weekend. 

CANADIENS

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Montreal Canadiens have had some interest in Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly. The Sabres covet the Canadiens’ first-round pick (third overall) in this year’s draft but McKenzie believes they’re unwilling to part with that selection and are trying to find another way to land O’Reilly. He adds the Sabres aren’t committed to trading O’Reilly and won’t move him unless they get the right pieces coming back.

SPORTSNET:  Eric Engels said multiple reports have surfaced claiming Canadiens GM Marc Bergervin has spoken with Sabres GM Jason Botterill discussion the possibility of swapping left wing Max Pacioretty for O’Reilly. Bergevin also said the chances he’ll trade his first-round pick are very, very slim. Friedman suggests the possibility of the Canadiens taking back a bad contract, such as Matt Moulson’s, as part of the return for O’Reilly.

Pacioretty has one year remaining on his contract and could seek a long-term extension worth over $7 million. The Canadiens could be reluctant to pay that much for a winger who’ll turn 31 in 2019. The Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes have been linked to Pacioretty, and Engels also suggests the New York Islanders could also be a possibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens really need improvement at center so it’s no surprise they’re interesting in O’Reilly. Based on the latest reports, it seems increasingly unlikely Bergevin will part with the third-overall pick to address that issue. I think he’s looking more at moving Pacioretty with a package of other picks (he has four in their second round) and a prospect to get it done. 

LATEST ON THE HURRICANES

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Los Angeles Kings are among the teams talking to the Carolina Hurricanes about left wing Jeff Skinner. The Kings are also talking to free-agent left wing Ilya Kovalchuk and if they sign him it could take them out of the bidding for Skinner. The Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues have also shown interest in the Hurricanes’ forward.

LeBrun also reports the Hurricanes are willing to pay restricted free agent center Elias Lindholm just north of $4 million annually but the Lindholm camp seeks over $5 million. The center’s representatives are slated to meet with Hurricanes GM Don Waddell today. LeBrun believes they could shop Lindholm if a deal cannot be hashed out, saying the Calgary Flames are among the clubs who’ve expressed interest.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock reports the Hurricanes are among five or six clubs with interest in Washington Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The Hurricanes have a second-round pick to offer up but the Islanders (with two first-round picks) are considered the front-runners. They’ve also inquired about Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker. DeCock also said the Hurricanes are only seriously considering moving a player or two, starting with those with impending contract issues such as Jeff Skinner. Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin could also fall into the category depending upon how their current contract negotiations go.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are coming up a lot in recent trade chatter. I expect Skinner is the most likely to be dealt. Lindholm could be next but I wouldn’t be surprised if Waddell and the center’s agent find an agreeable midpoint in the annual salary. I still feel they’ll move Justin Faulk before Hanifin, who still has plenty of upside. 

KOVALCHUK

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Los Angeles Kings are believed to have made a contract offer to free-agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk. The San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights and Boston Bruins are thought to have interest in the 35-year-old Kovalchuk.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney have held discussions with the Kovalchuk camp. Sweeney said there’s no face-to-face meetings set up yet with the winger but his interest remains high. Kovalchuk is rumored seeking a two-year deal worth $6 million per season.

BLACKHAWKS

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Chicago Blackhawks are talking to teams in hopes of finding one that’ll take the contract of all-but-retired winger Marian Hossa off their hands. Hossa’s cap hit is $5.275 million though in actual salary he’ll get $1 million for 2018-19. It’s believed they’ve spoken with the Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators but LeBrun doubts they have any interest in acquiring Hossa’s contract.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports a league source claims the Blackhawks have been talking with several teams about ways to upgrade their defense, “particularly Carolina and Justin Faulk.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes used to be willing dumping ground for teams to offload bad contracts. With a roster of budding young talent, however, it’s understandable why they’re reluctant to do so now. They’ll need cap space going forward to re-sign those youngsters. Remember, they’re not a cap-ceiling team. 

WILD

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports sources say Minnesota Wild forwards Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter remain in the mix of persistent trade chatter. The trio failed to tally a point in the Wild’s five-game opening-round playoff elimination against the Winnipeg Jets. New GM Paul Fenton is considering shaking up his core. Before the Arizona Coyotes dealt Max Domi to Montreal, it’s believed Fenton spoke to them about a possible swap of Niederreiter and Zucker for Domi and another forward believed to be Christian Dvorak.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it’s believed the Wild have asked teams with interest in Coyle, Niederreiter or Zucker to take forward Tyler Ennis as part of a package.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ennis has one year remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $4.6 million, though his actual salary is $3.65 million for 2018-19. Still, that could prove a tough sell for clubs more interested in Coyle, Niederreiter or Zucker. 

BLUES BEING ASKED ABOUT PARAYKO

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there’s word a number of teams are calling the St. Louis Blues to ask if they might consider trading defenseman Colton Parayko. The Edmonton Oilers, who hold the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft, could be among them. He thinks the asking price would be “enormous”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if the Blues trade Parayko. Yes, they need to bolster their scoring but it shouldn’t come at the expense of one of their best defensemen. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2018

Latest on Mike Hoffman and Jacob Trouba plus updates on the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.

HOFFMAN TRADE VALUE PLUMMETING

TSN: In his latest update of his Trade Bait Board, Frank Seravalli reports the cyberbullying allegations levied by Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson’s wife against the fiancee of teammate Mike Hoffman has sent the latter’s trade value tumbling from No. 3 on his listing down to No. 9. He said the only reason Hoffman’s value remains that high is “because it’s a near certainty that he will be traded now. It’s just a matter of when, where, and for what.”

Seravalli cited one NHL general manager saying Hoffman would be “persona non grata” with his club until this matter was resolved one way or the other. Another said he would “never invite that kind of circus” into his dressing room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas fast approaching, Hoffman could be dealt within a matter of days. During the season, Hoffman was linked to the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks, though the latter’s recent signing of Evander Kane probably takes them out of the equation.

While some still think the Senators can get a good return for him, most observers believe the opposite.  The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently suggested Hoffman could still fetch a 2019 first-round pick and a good young player or prospect. It’ll be a significant test of GM Pierre Dorion’s skills to land that kind of return now. 

POSSIBLE CANADIENS’ TRADE TARGETS

TVA SPORTS: Lists the Minnesota Wild’s Charlie Coyle, Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Columbus Blue Jackets’ Boone Jenner, St. Louis Blues’ Robby Fabbri and the Florida Panthers’ Nick Bjugstad as five centers the Montreal Canadiens could target in the trade market. The Canadiens carry four picks in the second round of this year’s draft and perhaps at least one of those picks could be used to land one of those centers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens had interest in Coyle leading up to this year’s trade deadline and could circle back this summer. Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli insists he’s not shopping Nugent-Hopkins. Jenner can play center or wing and is a restricted free agent this year, though his offensive stats have tumbled from his 30-goal campaign two years ago.

Fabbri has considerable talent but has also undergone two knee surgeries in as many years. Bjugstad was also linked to the Canadiens as part of a rumored deal for Max Pacioretty.

If GM Marc Bergevin goes shopping for a center, he could target Coyle and Bjugstad. It’ll probably take more than a couple of second-round picks to land either guy. 

The Boston Bruins are reportedly getting calls about center David Krejci (Photo via NHL Images).

TEAMS INTERESTED IN KREJCI? 

WGR 550: TSN’s Darren Dreger said there are teams calling the Boston Bruins to express interest in center David Krejci. Dreger believes the Bruins are reluctant to make that move, “but every player has a price tag.” He thinks the Bruins would instead prefer trading David Backes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, trading Krejci would remove his $7.25-million annual cap hit from the Bruins books. On the other hand, that move would leave them scrambling to find a suitable second-line center. Krejci also has a full no-movement clause. He could waive it for the right club but it certainly limits where the Bruins could send him.

As for Backes, his age (34), declining production and $6 million cap hit could be a tough sell unless the Bruins take back a toxic contract, absorb part of Backes’ cap hit or include a good young player or prospect in the deal. 

SHOULD THE JETS TRADE TROUBA?

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Paul Wiecek asks, “what is pending restricted free agent Jacob Trouba worth? And can the Jets afford to re-sign him?” While Trouba said in his season-ending press conference that he’d like to re-sign a long-term extension with the Jets, Wiecek reminds us how contentious the defenseman’s previous contract negotiations became, leading at one point to his agent requesting a trade.

Wiecek believes the Trouba camp will seek around $7 million annually. He wonders if the Jets can afford to pay that much for a blueliner who, “while talented defensively, has yet to demonstrate much upside offensively — he scored three goals this past season and finished with 24 points — and who has had injury troubles, playing more than 65 games in a season just once in his five-year career.”

The Jets have several notable players (Connor Hellebuyck, Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor) due for new contracts between now and next summer. If something’s got to give to get those players under contract, Wiecek suggests it could be Trouba, who would fetch the Jets a big return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiecek isn’t saying Trouba will be traded, just suggesting it as an option if the blueliner’s asking price might prevent the Jets from re-signing another key player. So far, there’s no indication the Jets are considering that option. Still, if the Trouba camp sets a ridiculously high asking price, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could consider that option. It’ll be interesting to see how those contract negotiations unfold. 

 











Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 27, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 27, 2018

Reviewing Sportsnet’s list of this summer’s potential trade candidates in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

SUBBAN, KARLSSON, DOUGHTY AMONG THIS SUMMER’S POTENTIAL TRADE CANDIDATES

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen previews this summer’s potential trade candidates.

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban’s name recently surfaced in the trade-rumor mill but the speculation was shot down by management. Boylen considers trading Subban a long-shot, though with the Predators’ depth on defense, he wonders if moving him could someday become a possibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban’s not going anywhere this summer or in the foreseeable future. He’s a Norris Trophy finalist this season and a key part of their roster.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is considered among this summer’s potential trade candidates (Photo via NHL Images).

 Despite the Ottawa Senators’ intention to re-sign defenseman Erik Karlsson and the blueliner’s desire to stay, it’s believed he could be traded this summer if the two sides fail to agree on a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen noted Karlsson was linked to the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Maybe those clubs revisit their interest in him. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Karlsson trade, but the high cost of acquiring him this summer could scare off potential suitors. 

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty raised eyebrows last autumn suggesting he won’t take a hometown discount on his next contract and his wish to play for a Stanley Cup contender. In April, however, Doughty insisted he wants to remain a King.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Karlsson, Doughty’s a year away from UFA eligibility. I expect the Kings will do what they can to re-sign him this summer. Right now, I’d say there’s a low possibility of Doughty getting dealt this summer. 

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom’s struggles this season has sparked trade speculation. However, Boylen suggests he could be poised for a bounce-back season. “If anything, the Oilers could be selling low on a young, controllable asset, depending on the return.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree. If the Oilers trade Klefbom this summer they could end up regretting it, especially if they don’t get a solid return for him. 

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner and defenseman Justin Faulk have frequently surfaced of late in the rumor mill. With the Hurricanes under new management, there’s an expectation changes are coming to their roster. Boylen warns they should be wary of selling low on those two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes must bolster their offense, so trading Skinner wouldn’t make sense right now. If they’re looking for more scoring punch they could draw upon their blueline depth. I think Faulk appears the most likely to move. 

Center Ryan O’Reilly’s season-ending comments about the Buffalo Sabres’ losing culture gave rise to suggestions he could be dealt this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are a mess right now. Their rebuild has stalled and the fans are restless. There’s a big market for skilled centers and I expect the Sabres will at least listen to offers for O’Reilly this summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s traded next month.

Boylen noted Montreal Canadiens winger Alex Galchenyuk’s been the target of trade rumors for the past two years. The Canadiens need more offense, but Boylen feels there’s a risk trading Galchenyuk would be shipping out a player they actually need. Team captain Max Pacioretty also popped up in the rumor mill this season. He’s a year away from UFA status but indicated he doesn’t want to leave Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After this season’s disastrous performance the Canadiens are likely to shake things up a bit this summer. I think they will trade one of those guys but not both. There seems to be a growing consensus that Pacioretty, who lacks no-trade protection, could be on the move. 

Boylen wonders if the Toronto Maple Leafs might consider trading puck-moving defenseman Jake Gardiner for a more defensively responsible blueliner. Moving him, however, could create another depth need. Gardiner will also be a UFA next summer at a time when expensive new contracts for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner will kick in.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After his struggles against the Boston Bruins in this year’s playoffs, a lot of Leafs fans probably wouldn’t shed tears if Gardiner was traded. The Leafs, however, could prefer finding a way to bolster their defense depth without parting with him. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins could move a winger, such as Conor Sheary or Carl Hagelin, to bolster their blueline depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sheary or Hagelin could be dealt for a defenseman, or maybe one of them is moved for a pick or prospect to free up cap space to add a blueliner via a separate trade or free agency. 

If John Tavares decides to test the free-agent market, perhaps the New York Islanders will shop his rights before July 1 to recoup a draft pick or prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Isles realize they can’t re-sign Tavares I believe they will shop his rights to the highest bidder. 

Boylen wonders if the Washington Capitals might consider moving winger Andre Burakovsky to upgrade the roster. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer and has been hampered by injuries and mental frustration this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t rule out that possibility, but I think they’ll stick with Burakovsky in hopes he’ll have his much-anticipated breakthrough next season. 

With the Minnesota Wild’s recent management changes, forwards Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle and defensemen Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba have been suggested as possible trade candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Niederreiter and Coyle were hampered by injuries this season, but some observers feel they should’ve been better. Brodin and Dumba have frequently appeared in trade conjecture over the last two years. New GM Paul Fenton could shake things up a bit. I believe he’ll retain Dumba but one of the other three could be on the move this summer. 

The Calgary Flames need another scoring forward. Boylen wonders if they might consider moving a defenseman such as Dougie Hamilton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Hamilton hits the trade block I don’t doubt he’ll generate lots of interest. However, every time his name pops up as a trade candidate the notion is almost immediately dismissed by most observers. Hamilton would likely be their best trade bait to land a scoring forward, but I think they’re reluctant to part with him. 

In the wake of the Anaheim Ducks first-round playoff elimination and management’s desire to build a faster team, there was speculation suggesting veteran winger Corey Perry could be shopped. Boylen, however, believes Jakob Silfverberg could be a more realistic trade option. He’s still in his prime (27) and carries a reasonable salary-cap hit of $3.75 million, though he’s also a UFA at the end of next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been proposed that Perry, who’s been declining in recent years, might benefit from a change of scenery playing alongside faster wingers. Unless he waives his no-movement clause and the Ducks absorb half of his $8.6-million cap hit, he’s not going anywhere. Silfverberg, on the other hand, could be a more attractive trade commodity for clubs seeking an experienced two-way winger. 

Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi also popped up in trade speculation this season. Boylen suggests he could be a good “buy-low” option if the Coyotes are motivated sellers, but he also noted how well Domi finished the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While I don’t rule anything out, I think the Coyotes will stick with Domi. Sure, they could listen to offers, but I think they still envision him as a key part of their future. 

As long as the Vancouver Canucks are rebuilding, veterans such as Chris Tanev and Alexander Edler will surface in the rumor mill. Edler, however, has a full no-movement clause while Tanev has a modified no-trade. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks management repeatedly deny any intention of shopping Tanev this summer. If Edler doesn’t want to leave, there’s not much the Canucks can do about it. 

 











Latest Hurricanes and Wild Speculation – May 23, 2018

Latest Hurricanes and Wild Speculation – May 23, 2018

Could the Carolina Hurricanes trade Jeff Skinner? Are big moves in store for the Minnesota Wild under new general manager Paul Fenton? Check out the latest in your NHL rumor mill.

If the Carolina Hurricanes trade Jeff Skinner, they could end up regretting it. (Photo via NHL Images)

WILL THE HURRICANES SHOP SKINNER?

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports of growing media speculation suggesting the Carolina Hurricanes could trade winger Jeff Skinner. He also notes Skinner recently changed agents, hiring Don Meehan of Newport Sports Management. The 26-year-old has a year remaining on his contract and will earn $6 million in actual salary next season. He also carries a no-movement clause and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Meehan said he’s had no discussions with Hurricanes GM Don Waddell about Skinner and hasn’t been asked by the club if his client would waive his no-movement clause. The two are expected to meet at next week’s NHL Draft combine in Buffalo.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Hurricanes could regret moving Skinner this summer. For a club that desperately needs scoring, trading away their top sniper makes no sense.

Skinner’s shooting percentage was low last season (8.7), which could affect his trade value. O’Brien cites the low value of winger Jordan Eberle and Reilly Smith when their percentages were also low at the time they were traded. He feels the Hurricanes should wait on trading Skinner. “It’s tough to imagine Carolina enjoying the better end of a Skinner trade, especially in the immediate future,” writes O’Brien.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During his end-of-season interview, Skinner insisted he wants to stay with the Hurricanes. Unless they intend on staging a roster rebuild, it doesn’t make much sense to move their best scorer, especially as they’re unlikely to get a return of equal or greater value that will provide immediate improvement. As O’Brien pointed out, if they want to boost their offense, dealing from their position of strength (defense) would be the better way to go. 

ROSTER “TWEAKS” IN STORE FOR THE WILD?

TWINCITIES.COM: With new Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton saying he intends to “tweak” the under-achieving Minnesota Wild roster, Brian Murphy wonders what that might involve. He feels Fenton “should have no emotional attachment to Wild players ripe for the trade market such as Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker or even Jared Spurgeon.” 

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo also noted Fenton’s come in with a mandate to “tweak” the Wild’s roster. The new GM intends to think “outside the box”, looking at small trades and big trades if they make sense for the club. “I want to make hockey trades. I don’t want to make cap trades. I want to make trades that we see a guy fitting with us and maybe be able to do it quickly. But you never know. You just have to let the process play out.”

Possible trade bait could include restricted free agents such as winger Jason Zucker and defenseman Matt Dumba, though Fenton’s comments about building from the blueline suggests he could retain Dumba unless he proves too expensive to retain. Russo also speculates core players such as Nino Niederreiter, Jonas Brodin or Charlie Coyle could become trade candidates, and he expects winger Tyler Ennis could be shopped or bought out. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like the talk of “tweaks” is aimed at lowering expectation of major moves. It doesn’t mean, however, Fenton won’t shake things up if he finds a suitable deal. One or two of those aforementioned players could be dealt, or they could all return as Fenton considers other options. I agree with Russo that Ennis is likely to be dealt or bought out.