Possible destinations for Henrik Lundqvist and Bobby Ryan plus the latest on Patrik Laine, Darcy Kuemper, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHERE COULD LUNDQVIST AND RYAN LAND AS FREE AGENTS?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks looked at potential landing spots for Henrik Lundqvist. The 38-year-old goaltender was bought out of the final year of his contract yesterday by the New York Rangers. Brooks suggests the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights (if they trade Marc-Andre Fleury), Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks (if Jacob Markstrom departs via free agency) as options.
SPORTSNET: The Canucks make Mike Johnston’s list, which includes the Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars (if they fail to re-sign Anton Khudubin), and Chicago Blackhawks if they move on from Corey Crawford.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests Lundqvist could provide affordable goaltending insurance to contenders like the Capitals, Stars, Blues and Golden Knights, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Winnipeg Jets. He also suggested some playoff hopefuls that could provide him more playing time like the Oilers and Canucks, along with the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks.
Where could former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist land following his contract buyout? (NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears there are a number of clubs that could be destinations for Lundqvist but this is all mere media speculation right now. But how many of those clubs will be serious suitors and how many of them is he willing to consider as acceptable destinations? His affordability, experience and leadership would be invaluable, but finding the right fit and the right role will be crucial factors.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Joe Fordyce reports Bobby Ryan said the Philadelphia Flyers would be high on his list of destinations if they made him a contract offer or extended an invitation to training camp. The 33-year-old winger was recently bought out by the Ottawa Senators.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt cites The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz recently reporting the San Jose Sharks are one of “many teams” believed interested in Ryan. “They could certainly use a right wing,” said Kurz.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the Flyers are among the clubs interested in Ryan. Whoever signs him will likely do a short-term deal (one-to-two years) for probably between $2 -$3 million per season. Some clubs could try him in a second-line role while others could see him as a third liner.
Speaking of the Sharks, they also reportedly talked to the Minnesota Wild about goaltender Devan Dubnyk and winger Ryan Donato. Kurz suggests this could have some legs as a possible package deal.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS
SPORTSNET: In his latest 31 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman expects Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois to “think unconventionally” in the offseason. He believes teams will ask if defenseman Mikhail Sergachev wants a bigger role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sergachev should get an opportunity for a bigger role with the Lightning. Kevin Shattenkirk, Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn and Jan Rutta are unrestricted free agents. All of them could depart on Oct 9. Granted, they’re also right-side defensemen and Sergachev plays the left side, but I can see the Bolts trying to convert him to the right side.
Friedman expects the Dallas Stars will try to move a big salary, although trade protection is a concern. He expects Anton Khudobin has priced himself out of Dallas. Ben Bishop’s full no-trade becomes a partial, but his actual salary drops to three years at $3.5 million, which is manageable for the Stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly lists Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Joe Pavelski as the three highest-paid players with each carrying full no-movement clauses, followed by Alexander Radulov with a 15-team no-trade list. Trying to move any one of them will be difficult.
Friedman thinks the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes had a discussion about Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but he doesn’t see if a deal is possible.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It isn’t unless the Canucks move some salary to take on Ekman-Larsson’s $8.25 million AAV and he agrees to be traded to Vancouver.
If the Jets decide to trade Laine, Friedman wonders if there’s a match with the Columbus Blue Jackets or Carolina Hurricanes. He believes the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers could do it but isn’t sure they would. He also wondered about the New York Islanders but mentioned their salary-cap issues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will set a big asking price if they put Laine on the trade block. They need a second-line center and a top-four, right-shot defenseman. There’s also the fact he’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights and will be in the market for a big raise over his current $6.75-million AAV.
The high volume of goalies available in the UFA market could affect the trade market, making it difficult for a club like Pittsburgh to trade a netminder. Friedman suggests that’s why the Arizona Coyotes’ preference is to retain goalie Darcy Kuemper. He believes the Calgary Flames talking with the Columbus Blue Jackets about one of their goalies but that talk has cooled.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams that fail to address their goalie needs via free agency could return to the trade market, but their numbers will be depleted after the best UFA goalies are signed. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch also cited sources claiming the Coyotes could retain Kuemper, but he thinks that could change if GM Bill Armstrong gets a first-round pick and another piece he’s seeking in the deal.
Speaking of the Flames, Friedman thinks they could revamp their blueline depending on who’s available. Noah Hanifin’s name was mentioned when the Flames were talking with the New Jersey Devils about Taylor Hall last month.
Speaking of the Coyotes, Friedman wonders if they’ll test the market on forward Clayton Keller.
The Washington Capitals are trying to shed some salary to re-sign defenseman Brenden Dillon.
The New Jersey Devils are willing to move the 18th and 20th picks in this year’s draft but Friedman doesn’t see them shopping the seventh-overall selection. The Anaheim Ducks aren’t averse to moving down a few spots from sixth overall.