We’re down to single digits, folks.
So with the NHL’s trade deadline just nine days away, we gather up the latest trade chatter surrounding the New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and more for your gossipy pleasure.
The Blues’ asking price for Shattenkirk
As the crown jewel of 2017 rental players, defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk leads all impending unrestricted free agents in scoring with 42 points.
GM Doug Armstrong’s asking price for the 28-year-old power-play quarterback?
“A high-end prospect, a first-round pick and another piece,” reports Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
Shattenkirk is on target to become this summer’s most wanted UFA and is asking for $7 million per season, according to Garrioch.
The trade value of Shattenkirk is so high partly because of the number of suitors and partly because Armstrong may be better off keeping the D-man for the playoffs even though he’ll be a goner this summer.
St. Louis has responded well under new coach Mike Yeo and currently holds the Central Division’s third seed. This is a playoff team.
Time for the Flyers to listen on offers for Giroux?
So what if Philadelphia awoke two points out of a wild-card spot?
Philly.com’s Sam Carchidi says it’s time for GM Ron Hextall to sell his wares.
Anthony Stolarz is positioned to be the goalie of the future in Philly, so Hextall must make a move at some point in order to protect the prospect from the expansion draft.
The writer goes so far as to argue that Hextall listen to offers on his core players, namely captain Claude Giroux.
“Maybe Giroux is playing injured, though he denies it. Maybe past injures, including a concussion, have just taken a toll. Maybe he just needs big wingers by his side – he was at his best when he played between Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr – to give him more skating room,” writes Carchidi of the slumping centre.
That’s a heckuva deal to pull off, considering the 29-year-old Giroux’s contract doesn’t expire until 2022 and carries a $8.275 million cap hit as well as a no-move clause.
If the Flyers do make the playoffs, they’ll be in tough to survive Round 1 as the Metropolitan is loaded with legit contenders like the Capitals, Penguins, Rangers and Blue Jackets.
Hextall has major decisions to make this summer on his goaltending and blue line with so many UFAs. You wonder if his forward core comes under question, too. Philly’s expensive offence ranks just 23rd overall.
Could injuries force Ottawa’s hand?
Just when the Ottawa Senators appeared poised to take a run at Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead, the nation’s capital got hammered with injuries.
Bobby Ryan is nursing an injured finger, and Sunday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets brought three more casualties.
“At some point it felt like there was nobody on the bench,” coach Guy Boucher told reporters. “Right now, we could be losing quite a few guys… It looks like a disaster.”
The gravity of these injuries is unknown, but with three of the Sens’ top six goal scorers out of the lineup, GM Pierre Dorion could become even more keen to trade for that top-six forward he’s been hunting.
“It doesn’t look good,” Boucher said. “We have to wait until tomorrow to be clear and precise but right now we could be losing quite a few guys.”
At this rate, Panthers will be buyers
While the Metropolitan Division is becoming a case of the haves and have-nots, the Atlantic Division race couldn’t be more open.
Dale Tallon announced that the Cats plan to be buyers.
“We’re not going to give up much off our roster to chase something,” Tallon told Hockey Central at Noon Monday.
That means impending UFAs Jaromir Jagr, Shawn Thornton and Jakub Kindl should be safe.
Florida will consider moving a pick (it holds an extra third-rounder) or a prospect if it can provide a short-term spark, specifically on the power play.
“We prefer to be buying,” Tallon said, “and I think that’s what’s going to happen.”
Have Islanders gone from seller to buyer?
The way the New York Islanders have responded under interim coach Doug Weight, who also holds an assistant GM title, has been remarkable enough that the club may look to add rather than subtract next week.
“We’re in a position where we can really do something,” Weight told Newsday.
“We had a couple meetings, I talk to [GM Garth Snow] every day, and Claude [Loiselle, hockey operations consultant], we have our eye on the ball of what we can do and I think there’s about 20 teams in our boat right now. Like any coach would say, I want to get as high as we can. Not putting pressure on anybody, but we could do something that could make our team better.”
Having already fired his coach, surely there’s pressure on Snow — ditto Marc Bergevin and Don Sweeney — to turn this ship around fast. The Isles are just one point out of a wild-card spot, and there should be plenty of wingers available for bidding on March 1.
Radulov wants a six-year contract
That doesn’t mean he’ll get it.
If that kind of term — which would take Radulov to his 37th birthday — doesn’t fly with GM Bergevin, Kypreos reports the top-line winger could look for as much $7 million per year for three seasons.
A high price, to be sure, but Radulov (42 points through 57 games) will be right up with Washington’s T.J. Oshie and Detroit’s Thomas Vanek as the most-desired forwards on this summer’s open market.
Remember: Radulov was reportedly asking for as much as $7.5 million last summer as a free agent and “settled” for a one-year, $5.75-million pact with the Habs.
It’s been a smart fit for both sides. Six years is a heavy commitment.
Fleury faces tough questions
Marc-Andre Fleury, who is available for the right price, likely played his last home game for the Pittsburgh Penguins before the trade deadline Thursday, and turned in a beauty versus Winnipeg.
A 44-save overtime win.
The goaltender looked emotional afterward as he answered some heavy questions from reporters. Do you think that was your last game in Pittsburgh?
“You don’t know what’s coming,” a candid Fleury said. “It was a nice feeling.”
Our take: Unless the offer for Fleury is overwhelming (say, a solid No. 2 goalie plus a first-round draft pick), Penguins GM Jim Rutherford would be wise to keep the good soldier for depth during what should be another long playoff run and worry about a trade after the playoffs are over.
Would anyone consider Richards?
This one’s a long shot, but interesting nonetheless.
Free agent Mike Richards, the pride of Kenora, Ont., is only 32. He’s lost a step, but he’s a proven winner who would come cheap.
The depth centre played 39 games during Washington’s stretch run last year, averaging 12:10 minutes of ice time and putting up five points in a checking role. He won 49.5 per cent of his faceoffs.
“He’s cut. He’s ready to play if somebody wants to make that phone call. He’s working out,” Ron MacLean said Friday.
“He could play. I think he’s in great spirits.”