NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2017
Updates on Jaromir Jagr, Drew Stafford, Jason Demers and more in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s appearance on the NHL Network on Monday discussing various topics. Among them was the status of unrestricted free agents Jaromir Jagr and Drew Stafford.
Friedman believes the Calgary Flames are among the clubs that “kind of looked at” the possibility of signing Jagr, noting Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan is one of Jagr’s former coaches. He also said he checked into speculation the Anaheim Ducks also had interest in the 45-year-old winger but found that’s not the case.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flames are looking at Jagr, perhaps it’ll be in a second or third line role at right wing. I expect Michael Frolik will skate on the first line at that position, which would leave Jagr jockeying with Troy Brouwer for the second-line spot. Of course, for now we don’t know for sure if the Flames intend on signing him.
Friedman said he’d heard a couple of teams had interest in Stafford around July 1. He notes there’s been some conversations with the Stafford camp over the past week and they’re hopeful of getting something done. Friedman added he’s surprised the winger hasn’t been signed at this point.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman points out, Stafford is never going to be a big scorer but he has the skills to chip in as a depth forward. The 31-year-old has reached the 20-goal, 40-point plateau four times in his 11 NHL seasons. With the right club, perhaps he could hit those numbers again in 2017-18.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Demers declined to comment on rumors earlier this summer he spiked a trade to the Vancouver Canucks. He carries an eight-team no-trade clause and was left unprotected by the Panthers in June’s expansion draft. “That’s between my agent and me and Dale, but I’m going to camp right now a Panther,” Demers said, adding he’s going to be with the club for four more years. He also acknowledged he and the team have to improve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t sound as though Demers will be going anywhere for the time being. If he and the Panthers have better performances this season, it’ll further dampen any trade speculation about the 29-year-old blueliner. But if he or the club struggle again, his name could resurface in the rumor mill.
WGR 550: Agent Brian Bartlett, who represents free-agent defenseman Will Butcher, said it could take another week for his client to reach a decision over where he’ll sign.
Alex Kerfoot expected to make a decision on NHL future soon. As many as 10 teams expressed interest. Van, NYR, SJ, NYI and Col in final 5.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) August 23, 2017
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) August 23, 2017