Seven more days of digging up trade rumours makes one weak.
Next Monday you’ll be glued to the ol’ Twitter box, being extra careful to not retweet phony insiders (@FakeKypreos, @DevonDreger, @ChrisSwanston, @BoobMcGillicutty, @Fridge, et al.) as you scrounge for the latest real trades.
Until then, we still have a few days to look at the possible.
Don Cherry changes his tune on Steven Stamkos, the asking price for Montreal’s Dale Weise leaks, and some implications of the Roman Polak trade… all rounded up in today’s NHL Rumours.
This time of year is so stressful #Anxious
— Taylor Winnik (@taytayruness) February 22, 2016
Don Cherry changes tune on Stamkos, makes case to keep Reimer
“If I was betting, I’d say [Stamkos] signs in Tampa. He loves the weather. He seems to do good there, and he’s playing a lot of hockey,” Cherry told me in December.
Well, the Coach’s Corner icon has changed his mind. Cherry now bets Stamkos does not re-sign, pointing to the Lightning captain’s low-key reaction upon scoring the game-winner in a rare shootout appearance last week, his deployment on the wing, and his reduced minutes in the 2015 playoffs.
“How could you be happy? Here’s your Rocket Richard guy. He’s got 300 goals, and he doesn’t even get to the shootout?” Cherry told Dean Blundell & Co. on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Monday. “Let him play goal if he wants. Just let him play.”
To be fair, Stamkos still leads all Lightning forwards in ice-time by nearly a minute and all Lightning players in power-play time by an average of 19 seconds per game.
“Why make the guy look bad? I just don’t get it. Does [coach Jon Cooper] think he’s going to be afraid to leave?” Cherry said. “I can never understand the way he’s been treated the last two years.
“You never jerk around your superstar.”
Cherry also offered up some deadline thoughts Monday on a pair of Toronto Maple Leafs on expiring contracts. Grapes is confident Nazem Kadri stays (“They won’t trade him; he’s got the magic hands”) and feels strongly the Maple Leafs should also hang on to 27-year-old goaltender James Reimer, an impending UFA.
“The guy I hear they might trade is Reimer. If they trade him, they’re nuts. I made a bet with John Shannon that they won’t trade him. He thinks they’re going to trade him. The only reason they’re in the games is on account of Reimer,” Cherry said. “He’s young enough that he’ll be in when they get better in two or three years… This is a No. 1 goaltender in the league.”
Implications of Polak trade
Those who rush to award a winner immediately following a trade, didn’t exactly sing the praises of San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson on Monday, when he bought Leafs rentals Nick Spaling and Roman Polak for second-round draft choices in 2017 and 2018.
“It gives us ample time to replenish those picks,” Wilson explained on a conference call. “Our existing group of players has battled hard, and they have earned the right to have every chance to succeed this season.”
San Jose has stepped on the gas, now holds a seven-point lead (plus a game in hand) over Arizona for the third seed in the Pacific Division and is on track for a first-round date versus an interstate rival, either Anaheim or Los Angeles (uh-oh).
The Sharks would like to upgrade their backup goaltending position from Alex Stalock, but Monday’s deal leaves them with just $794,624 in cap space on deadline day.
That Wilson seemingly overpaid for Polak has made a few pundits wonder if the NHL’s third-longest-tenured GM is on the hot seat. He cut ties with head coach Todd McLellan last summer and memorably butted heads with future Hall of Famer Joe Thornton. Seems like he started swinging for the fences July 1, when he got more aggressive than normal in hunting Joel Ward, Martin Jones and Paul Martin.
If San Jose can’t get out of the first round this spring, it will be tough to blame coach Peter DeBoer. Will Wilson still be drafting for San Jose when Toronto uses his 2017 and ’18 second-rounders?
Vancouver’s Jim Benning and Calgary’s Brad Treliving should send Lou Lamoriello thank-you telegrams. If Polak is worth at least a second-rounder, surely that ups the going rate for a Dan Hamhuis or Kris Russell.
What the Habs want for Dale Weise
With the blip of a P.K. Subban trade rumour already in the past, forward Dale Weise is realistically Montreal’s most valuable trade chip.
How much does GM Marc Bergevin want for his 25-point winger? Citing one general manager, ESPN’s Craig Custance reports the asking is a second-rounder plus a third-rounder. That should come down.
Flyers get realistic, give up the ghost (lowercase)
CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio reports that Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall is not dipping into the rental market. Smart move. The Flyers are five points out of the race and their captain, Claude Giroux, is injured.
Panthers waiting on Jagr
One impending UFA who won’t be dealt at this year’s deadline is 44-year-old Jaromir Jagr.
Panthers GM Dale Tallon told The Canadian Press he’d happily welcome Jagr back for 2016-17, but the sides have not opened negotiations.
“Jaromir will let me know. He’s a proud guy and he knows [what he wants]. We don’t have to worry about that [yet],” Tallon said. “He’ll come to me and say ‘I want to stay here’ or ‘I want to talk about a new deal.’ He’ll let us know.”
New Jersey not shopping Stempniak, Schlemko
New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero is reportedly not shopping impending UFAs Lee Stempniak and David Schlemko, two players who are overachieving based on their modest salaries. Shero did say he would listen to offers on those value players, though, as the Devils sit three points out of a wild card spot.
“Obviously, I’d love to stay here,” Schlemko said. “I think if we stay in the hunt here and we’re a playoff team, hopefully, we won’t see anybody go. That’s the goal.”
Ducks hunting for winger
Anaheim is said to be looking for a winger with Chris Stewart sidelined.
“Tampa Bay winger Alex Killorn is an upcoming restricted free agent and the Lightning need to sign star Steven Stamkos and scoring winger Nikita Kucherov,” notes Stephens. Killorn, a natural centre, found another level to his game in the Bolts’ long playoff run last spring, putting up 18 points in 26 games.
Clubs calling on Kreider?
The 24-year-old left winger is having an underwhelming season — 11 goals and 17 assists in 56 games — when he was expected to take another step forward. Still, we’d be surprised to see the New York Rangers deal him away, even if his trade value is high.