Rumored interest in suspended defenseman Slava Voynov plus updates on the Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.
A report out of Russia claims defenseman Slava Voynov hopes to return to the NHL.
COULD VOYNOV RETURN TO THE NHL?
SPORT-EXPRESS.RU: A source claims defenseman Slava Voynov won’t be re-signing with SKA St. Petersburg and he’s hoping to return to the NHL. He returned to Russia in 2015 rather than face deportation after serving a 90-day jail sentence for domestic violence and receiving three years of probation.
Five teams – Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets – are rumored to be interested in Voynov. The Los Angeles Kings, Voynov’s former team, still hold his NHL rights but reportedly aren’t interested in bringing him back. They terminated his contract following his departure to Russia. He was also suspended indefinitely by the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though the Kings terminated Voynov’s contract, they hold his rights until July 1, 2019. Before he can return the NHL must first lift his suspension. That will require a hearing with league commissioner Gary Bettman. Any NHL club interested in Voynov must trade for his rights.
No word from the Panthers on this, though we shouldn’t assume their silence as confirmation that they’re looking at acquiring his rights. Judging by the denials of the other clubs linked to Voynov, it doesn’t sound as though anyone’s really keen to bring him back.
COYOTES COULD BE BUSY AT THE DRAFT
AZCENTRAL.COM: Richard Morin reports Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka said he’ll “definitely be active” attempting to make trades during the NHL Draft weekend (June 22-23) in Dallas. ” I think that’s an opportunity to make some moves and it’s an opportunity for us to improve our group. … Ultimately, you need someone to say ‘yes.” He said he and his staff will be busy preparing for possible scenarios. “We know we’re going to be picking in the top 10 — but at the same time, you can move up, you can move down. … It becomes my job to make sure we’re getting the best player we can and moving up or down and making sure that we zero in on that guy.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t help but wonder if any of those scenarios involve moving an active player on his roster. It won’t be Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who has expressed a willingness to sign a contract extension. Maybe he’ll consider packaging one of his young players (other than Calder Trophy nominee Clayton Keller) with his own first-round pick in hopes of landing the first-overall pick.
POSSIBLE BACKUP OPTIONS FOR THE OILERS
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently examined possible backup goaltending options for the Edmonton Oilers. Though they acquired Al Montoya late in the season, he might be unable to handle the workload expected of the Oilers’ No. 2 next season. Carter Hutton, Anton Khudobin and Jonathan Bernier are possible free-agent options, but the Oilers could look toward European goaltenders such as SKA St. Petersburg’s Mikko Koskinen or former NHL goalie Jhonas Enroth. They could also look toward the AHL for someone such as Michael Hutchinson of the Manitoba Moose.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever the Oilers bring in must be able to spell off overworked starter Cam Talbot on a regular basis. Perhaps they’ll also look at someone capable of pushing Talbot a little.
UPDATE ON THE RED WINGS
MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan was asked if the Detroit Red Wings might sign some useful veterans to one-year contracts and then flip them at the 2019 trade deadline for draft picks. Though the Wings did so with Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott in 2016, Khan doesn’t see them going that route again this year. He also expects they’ll sign a free-agent goaltender to either compete with starter Jimmy Howard or serve as their backup next season. They would also like to re-sign defenseman Mike Green.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Free-agent goalie options include St. Louis’ Carter Hutton, Boston’s Anton Khudobin or Colorado’s Jonathan Bernier. As for Green, they could have a difficult time re-signing him as he could get interest from playoff contenders (Toronto, perhaps?) seeking an experienced top-four blueliner.