NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2016
Latest on the Sedin twins, Marc-Andre Fleury and the Toronto Maple Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning said he will not trade any of his players carrying no-trade/no-movement clauses unless the player requests a move.
Botchford also dismisses talk that this doesn’t matter because Daniel and Henrik Sedin cannot be moved, claiming he knows of two teams that would likely make bids for the twins at their full combined $14 million cap hit, though such a move would likely have to take place in the offseason. He believes there would be more if the Canucks agreed to pick up part of that cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sedins only have a year left on their respective contracts. That’s why a couple of clubs would be willing to pick up the full tab to land them, or those who’d pursue them if the Canucks agreed to pick up part of that $14 million cap hit.
The problem for the Canucks, however, is there’s no way they’re getting a quality return for those guys. While they’re still very talented, they’re also now 36 and well past their best-before dates. I agree with Botchford that moving the Sedins, if they decide to request a trade, is something that happens in the offseason.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Pittsburgh Penguins have not received any trade offer yet for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, though he believes general manager Jim Rutherford has to listen when they do come his way. Bob McKenzie believes if Fleury moves, he’ll only want to do it once, preferring to go to a team where he can finish his current contract (which expires in 2019) and possibly his career.
Pierre LeBrun reports the Los Angeles Kings are among several teams monitoring goalie Karri Ramo, who signed a professional tryout offer with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, the farm club of the Maple Leafs. Ramo remains an unrestricted free agent and can sign anywhere, but LeBrun believes the Leafs have the inside track.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury has a limited no-trade clause listing 18 preferred trade destinations. He’ll want to go to a club where he’ll be the clear-cut starter. The Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets are possible options, provided they’re on Fleury’s list and if any of them can move one of their current netminders to make room for him.
TSN: Darren Dreger yesterday told Leafs Lunch that neither he or other media insiders claimed the Toronto Maple Leafs put left wing James van Riemsdyk or promising forward William Nylander on the trade block.
TORONTO STAR: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin McGran cast doubt upon the possibility of the Leafs swapping van Riemsdyk for Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton, suggesting JVR is too old (27) for their core. He believes the winger would be a better fit with Montreal, Pittsburgh, “maybe the Islanders”, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Vancouver and possibly Minnesota.
McGran also believes the Leafs could be reluctant to acquire a top-four defenseman this season, as that would mean protecting four blueliners in the expansion draft in June. Right now, the three to protect are Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner and Connor Carrick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Dreger pointed out, neither he or any notable media insiders claimed the Leafs were shopping JVR or Nylander. All any of them suggested was that, if the Leafs were to shop a forward for a top-four defenseman, JVR might be the prime candidate. At no point did any of them proclaim this was actually happening now.
As McGran observes, they won’t be a lack of suitors if the Leafs do one day put van Riemsdyk on the trade block, though I think the Flames would listen if the Leafs came calling. Interesting take by McGran about the Leafs and the expansion draft. That would provide further motivation for management to wait until after that draft to go shopping for blueline help.