The NHL ‘s offseason rumor mill is starting to percolate with the expansion draft a little more than two weeks away.
On June 21st, the Vegas Golden Knights will select one player from each team. Some teams will be losing key cogs on their roster which should lead to some interesting arrangements.
One big name player on the Vegas radar is Pittsburgh’s, Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has a no movement clause but has indicated he’d be willing to waive it. The 32-year-old goaltender has seen his playing time cut dramatically since the emergence of Matt Murray in last year’s Stanley Cup playoff run.
The Vegas Golden Knights have been connected to the Fleury rumor mill since early March.
“A lot of people, speaking of goaltenders, believe that George McPhee [GM in Las Vegas] is targeting Marc-Andre Fleury,” said Kypreos on Hockey Night in Canada back on March 2nd. “Let’s face it he’s the best goalie out there that is available, he can be a franchise type of player and might be the guy that ends up being the face of that franchise in the very near future.”
If Fleury refuses to waive his no-move clause prior to the expansion draft, the Penguins will certainly make trading him elsewhere a major offseason priority.
Parting ways makes too much sense with Fleury wanting a starting role and Pittsburgh needed some cap relief.
The Bruins are shopping their #18 pick in the first round
Don Sweeney met with several members of the media on Friday to discuss his offseason plans and mentioned he would be willing to trade his first-round pick in the right deal.
We already know that Ryan Spooner has been on the block since early May. At the time, Spooner was rumored to be shopped to three potential suitors. The Golden Knights, Canucks and Devils were named as those suitors but nothing has come to fruition at this time.
With Boston, in search of a Top 6 left winger and/or a Top 4 left-side blueliner, a package deal could be developing behind the scenes.
McKenzie on Duchene: “I would vote him as the player most likely to be traded this summer.” #Avs
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) June 2, 2017
Colorado and Boston already spent a lot of time discussing trades this past season and could pick up where discussions left off.
Are the Capitals really going to trade Alex Ovechkin?
The idea of the Capitals trading Ovechkin seemed pretty far-fetched up until Washington’s general manager, Brian MacLellan slightly cracked open the door on the idea.
“People are looking for a major solution to what we have going on,” MacLellan said, via Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post. “I think part of it is they watch certain things in his game, and then it shows up and they say that’s not acceptable. But he’s a big part of our franchise, a big part of our history. He’s been a big part of where we’re at as an organization and just to casually say, ‘Let’s trade him?’ For what? For who? I don’t think it makes sense from an organizational point of view. Maybe at some point, if there’s a legitimate hockey deal that came available, but I don’t know if that’s where we’re at right now. I just think he’s got a history here. He’s a big part of this franchise, and he’ll continue to be going forward.”
The Russian sniper is still owed four years and $40 million with a whopping $9.538 MM annual cap hit. He also has a limited no-trade clause that includes ten teams of his choosing each year. Both are considered major obstacles to moving the Capitals captain.
Still, Washington has quite a few players hitting free agency and not enough cap space to sign them all. Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, Karl Alzner, Justin Williams, Brett Connolly, and Kevin Shattenkirk are all either restricted or unrestricted free agents. The Caps only have $22 million in cap space and can’t afford to sign them all.
Shattenkirk is sure to be lost in free agency. Connolly and Williams shouldn’t be major priorities but the remaining four players are important to the Caps success. Signing all four would easily exceed the cap space Washington has available.
One potential suitor to keep an eye on is the Dallas Stars. Dallas isn’t expected to lose anyone significant in the expansion draft and still has $16.6 million in cap space after inking Ben Bishop to a six-year deal.
The Stars also have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft. The 2017 draft isn’t considered to be deep on talent but Dallas and Washington may be able to find a package that works with salary, picks and players swapping sides.
It is still a long shot and the idea of Ovie and Seguin’s past off -ice shenanigans might ultimately scare Ken Hitchcock and company away. It’s fun to imagine the possibility of two offensive dynamos forming a potent duo.
Dallas has also been linked to talks with the Vancouver Canucks that may involve their #3 pick in the first round. Talks haven’t extended past the kicking the tires stage to this point.