NHL Rumor Mill – October 21, 2016

NHL Rumor Mill – October 21, 2016

Matt Murray's re-signing doesn't mean the Penguins will trade Marc-Andre Fleury this season.

Matt Murray’s re-signing doesn’t mean the Penguins will trade Marc-Andre Fleury this season.

Latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Miller, Cam Fowler and Dylan McIlrath in your NHL rumor mill. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Sam Werner reports Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford dismissed the notion his club’s re-signing goaltender Matt Murray to a three-year, $11.25 million contract means it’s another step in the eventual departure of veteran Marc-Andre Fleury. Rutherford said he wants to see how things play out and cautions against the presumption Fleury is automatically out.

Werner observes the looming expansion draft means Rutherford can only protect one goalie. Fleury has a no-movement clause, meaning he has to waive it to agree to be left unprotected in the draft or traded before the end of the season if Rutherford hopes to protect Murray. Fleury’s also carrying a $5.75 million cap hit. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford doesn’t have to trade Fleury this season. He can wait until the days leading up to the June expansion draft to do that. Remember, Fleury has an 18-team list of acceptable trade destinations, so that gives Rutherford some room to work with here. If he can’t trade Fleury, he could also cut a deal with Las Vegas GM George McPhee to ensure an unprotected Murray isn’t selected in the expansion draft. 

THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford dismisses the notion the Vancouver Canucks might trade veteran goalie Ryan Miller to the Los Angeles Kings, who are in need of a short-term replacement for the sidelined Jonathan Quick. Botchford said Canucks GM Jim Benning doesn’t want to trade Miller. Botchford believes that move won’t happen unless the Canucks surrender the season. He doubts the Canucks would get more than a third-round pick for Miller at this point in the season. The Kings also lack the cap space to take on Miller’s $6 million cap hit, plus the Canucks don’t have a third goalie in their system to replace Miller this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are also off to a surprisingly strong start (4-0-0) on this season. There’s no reason to move Miller right now. As Botchford suggests, if that move comes, it’ll be later in the season if the Canucks are out of playoff contention. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS:  Helene St. James reports the Detroit Red Wings brass recently scouted Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler. However, the last asking price was said to include promising forward Anthony Mantha. The Wings are also loath to part with young forward Evgeny Svechnikov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks really can’t afford to take back much salary if they move Fowler and his $4 million cap hit to clear cap space for Hampus Lindholm’s eventual re-signing. However, they don’t want to just give Fowler away. It’s understandable that they’ll want one or two top prospects as part of the return. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the return from injury of Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein leaves the Rangers trying to figure out what to do with little-used defenseman Dylan McIlrath. “General manager Jeff Gorton would love to hear someone calling with an offer of a third-round pick, but that call hasn’t even come close to happening yet.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rival clubs could be waiting for the Rangers to place McIlrath on waivers in hopes of scooping him up that way, rather than part with an asset via trade to get him. 

NHL Rumor Mill – October 20, 2016

NHL Rumor Mill – October 20, 2016

If San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns becomes a UFA, the Edmonton Oilers could pursue him.

If San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns becomes a UFA, the Edmonton Oilers could pursue him.

Latest on Brent Burns, Jacob Trouba, Martin Hanzal and Dylan McIlrath in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer speculating the Edmonton Oilers could pursue San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burn if he decides to test next summer’s unrestricted free agent market. Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, however, doubts the Sharks will let their top defenseman go. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers bench boss Todd McLellan coached Burns during his tenure with the Sharks. so there is a connection there. However, the Oilers won’t be the only club willing to open the vault for Burns’ services. I also don’t see the Sharks letting Burns go, but it remains to be seen if the two sides can get a deal done before July 1. 

NBC SPORTS:  Jason Brough recently cited agent Kurt Overhardt, who represents Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, saying his camp isn’t concerned about the Dec. 1 deadline for re-signing restricted free agents. If Trouba isn’t signed by then, he becomes ineligible to play the remainder of this season. Having requested a trade, the blueliner is currently withholding his services and is back home in Michigan. Overhardt believes there’s plenty of time to work out a transaction that’s mutually beneficial to both sides. 

TODAY’S SLAPSHOT: Appearing yesterday on TSN 1050, Bob McKenzie doesn’t get the sense that Trouba is close to being dealt. Complicating things is the issue of a new contract for the 22-year-old rearguard. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see things picking up on the Trouba front until mid-November. With the Dec. 1 deadline looming by that point, both sides will feel the tension. Much will depend upon the Jets performance by that point. If they’re playing poorly, management could feel pressured to use Trouba as a trade chip to bolster their lineup. If they’re playing well, Trouba could be forced to return to the Jets or miss the remainder of the season. 

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan recently reported Coyotes center Martin Hanzal could put his contract talks on ice until the end of this season. He said he wants to put his focus on playing hockey. Hanzal is eligible for UFA status next summer. Coyotes GM John Chayka said he remains hopeful of re-signing the veteran center. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Coyotes are out of playoff contention by February, Chayka could start fielding trade offers for Hanzal. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently reported Rangers GM Jeff Gorton is likely listening to any trade offers for defenseman Dylan McIlrath. However, the 6’5″, 220-pounder needs to prove he’s an everyday NHL blueliner if he’s to attract interest from rival clubs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McIlrath’s only played one game this season. That won’t enhance his trade value. 

Latest on the Lightning, Rangers and Oilers – October 11, 2016

Latest on the Lightning, Rangers and Oilers – October 11, 2016

Nikita Kucherov reportedly on the verge of re-signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Nikita Kucherov reportedly on the verge of re-signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Updates on Nikita Kucherov, potential waiver-wire players of interest for the Edmonton Oilers and the Rangers could shop defenseman Dylan McIlrath.

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning restricted free agent winger Nikita Kucherov flew from Russia to Tampa Bay yesterday as he nears a deal with the Lightning. It’s speculated Kucherov could sign a short-term bridge deal by as early as today.

The Lightning only have around $5.5 million in salary-cap space. It was expected Kucherov would seek a long-term deal worth over $6 million annually. He could accept a two- or three-year deal for a lesser annual cap hit with the promise of a much more lucrative deal down the road. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Kucherov’s new deal will be. He could become the third player this year (Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman being the others) general manager Steve Yzerman convinces to accept less than market value to remain with the Lightning. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers are believed seeking a trade partner to take defenseman Dylan McIlrath off their hands. McIlrath, 26, had a poor training camp, but the Rangers prefer not to put him on waivers. Even if he remains with the club, he won’t be part of the Blueshirts’ top-six defensemen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McIlrath is on a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K. He could be an affordable pickup for a team seeking blueline depth in the upcoming season. The asking price certainly won’t be expensive. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Bruce McCurdy lists wingers PA Parenteau, Teemu Pulkkinen and center Mark McNeil as right-shooting forwards on the waiver wire of possible interest for the Edmonton Oilers. He wonders if the club might claim one of them. All are on affordable one-year contracts, with Parenteau’s the most expensive at $1.25 million.

Jim Matheson reports former Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba, who was with the club on a professional tryout offer, left the Oilers after they signed blueliner Kris Russell over the weekend. His agent claims two other NHL teams expressed interest in auditioning Gryba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Calgary Flames are one of those two clubs interested in Gryba. They reportedly wanted to bring back Russell before he signed with the Oilers.