NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2017
Latest on Kevin Shattenkirk and Steve Mason plus updates on the Leafs and Lightning in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: On Jan. 6, Chris Nichols cited NHL analyst Darren Dreger appearing on Toronto’s TSN 1050 speculating about potential destinations this summer for St. Louis Blues pending free-agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Noting Shattenkirk’s preference to play on the American eastern seaboard, Dreger suggests the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers as possible landing spots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the free-agent destination talk about Shattenkirk has the Bruins and Rangers as the likely destinations. Given the Flyers depth in good young defensemen, I doubt they’ll want to saddle themselves with an expensive blueliner. Depending on the play of Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth, they could be in the market for a starting goalie this summer.
Nichols also cited analyst Elliotte Friedman appearing on Toronto’s Sportsnet 590 and discussing the possibility of the Toronto Maple Leafs pursuing a defenseman before the trade deadline. While it’s no secret the Leafs need another key blueliner, Friedman points out the market for such players is very expensive right now. If the Leafs trade winger James van Riemsdyk, they would be hoping to land a defenseman. Friedman notes Arizona Coyotes blueliner Michael Stone could be a good rental player, but he’s not sure the Leafs would pay the price because they’re looking at the long-term picture.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Leafs keeping an eye on the trade market near the deadline for an affordable rental player, someone who won’t cost them either quality player, high draft pick or top prospect. They won’t overpay for someone like Stone.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: On Saturday, Joe Smith reported Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is looking for help for his struggling team. Smith notes the roster needs a shakeup and badly needs another top-four defenseman. Yzerman is finding it challenging, noting the high number of teams with limited salary-cap space, the limited number of sellers and June’s expansion draft is affecting the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All it takes is for one significant deal to take place and the market should open up. Problem is, that might not happen until late-January or early-February. That could be too late to help the struggling Lightning.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi speculates a strong second-half performance by goaltender Steve Mason could earn him a new contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. He speculates Mason could get a short-term contract to bridge the gap until their promising goalie prospects are ready to move up.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Should Mason and Michal Neuvirth struggle over the rest of the season, neither will be re-signed. Both are UFAs in July. Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Ben Bishop could be available by then.