Rumor Roundup: Would trading Nash open up Stamkos possibility for Rangers?

Rick Nash (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Could the New York Rangers trade left winger Rick Nash this summer? Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests it’s possible. He thinks the Rangers have been asked about the 31-year-old forward, speculating they could move him under the right circumstances.

Friedman points out Nash’s $7.8-million cap hit over the next two seasons and partial no-trade clause as potential stumbling blocks. He also notes the Blueshirts defended the struggling winger this season, who played through injury.

This isn’t the first time Nash has surfaced up in the rumor mill this month. On May 1, the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard suggested the Rangers used the big winger as trade bait to pry defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk away from the St. Louis Blues. However, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks doubts the Blues will look at Nash as the missing piece to their championship puzzle. Read more

Rumor Roundup: If Avalanche make Tyson Barrie available, Rangers could be a good trade partner

Tyson Barrie. (Getty Images)

During a recent appearance on Edmonton’s 630 CHED radio, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman created some buzz by suggesting Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie could be in play this summer.

Barrie, 24, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Coming off two seasons with 53 and 49 points respectively, he’ll want a substantial raise over his current annual average salary of $2.6 million. He could fetch a deal comparable to that of teammate Erik Johnson (seven-years, $42 million), which might not fly with Avs management.

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Rumor Roundup: Thomas Greiss’ success means Jaroslav Halak could hit the trade market

Thomas Greiss.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Goaltender Thomas Greiss’ solid performance filling in for sidelined starter Jaroslav Halak could spell the end of the latter’s tenure with the New York Islanders. Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports Isles GM Garth Snow sang Greiss’ praises, suggesting he’s ready to be a full-time starter.

Staple notes the Islanders currently carry three netminders with Halak, Greiss and promising J-F Berube. He points out the oft-injured Halak voiced his displeasure over the setup and suggests there’s a rift between the veteran and management.

The 31-year-old Halak has two years remaining on his contract. He could hit the trade block this summer. Staple doubts he’ll fetch much of a return and would be more of a cost-cutting deal for other roster moves.

Halak also lacks a no-trade clause and there are clubs (Calgary, Carolina, Toronto) in need of goaltending depth. However, his injury history and $4.5-million annual cap hit could adversely affect his trade value.

WHAT IS PANTHERS LONG-TERM PLAN WITH GUDBRANSON?

The Florida Panthers recent re-signing of defenseman Erik Gudbranson to a one-year, $3.5-million contract extension raised some eyebrows. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa notes the 24-year-old Gudbranson is of the age where high-end blueliners like himself get multiyear deals. Shinzawa speculates Panthers management might not be enamoured with him.

Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel claims the move was made to provide the Panthers with salary-cap flexibility for next season to re-sign rising center Vincent Trocheck. He also reports they’re among the clubs interested in former NHL winger Alexander Radulov, who spent the last four seasons in the KHL.

Gudbranson already has five seasons under his belt with the Panthers. Despite missing time this season to a concussion, he was among their leaders in hits (150), blocked shots (73) and ice time (20:06). He also averaged over 26 minutes of ice time per game in the post-season.

Gudbranson’s ongoing improvement as a shutdown defenseman should keep him part of the Panthers’ long-term plans. If not, he’ll attract considerable interest via free agency next summer.

EXPECT ONLY MINOR CHANGES TO CAPITALS IN OFF-SEASON

Don’t expect the Washington Capitals’ early playoff exit to result in a significant roster overhaul.

Earlier this week, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan addressed the media for the first time since his club’s elimination by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshuyan reports MacLellan is “pretty content” with his core. He’ll look at bolstering the third line, specifically his ninth or tenth forwards.

MacLellan also intends to get restricted free agents Marcus Johansson, Dmitry Orlov, Tom Wilson and Michael Latta re-signed. His plans to tweak his third line could mean cutting loose unrestricted free agents Mike Richards and Jason Chimera. The 37-year-old Chimera, however, tells Khurshudyan he hopes to return with the Capitals next season.

Adding speed and scoring to the third line is crucial. The Penguins third line of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel did the most damage to the Capitals in their second-round series. MacLellan will likely attempt to emulate that model.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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Rumor Roundup: Trading core player could help Oilers land top-pairing defenseman

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers need for a top-pairing defenseman remains a hot topic among the media. With their depth in young scoring forwards, it’s assumed one of them will be dealt to address the Oilers’ blueline needs.

Appearing last Friday on 630 CHED radio, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman discussed with host Bob Stauffer what it might take for the Carolina Hurricanes to pry center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of Edmonton. Stauffer feels it’ll take more than defenseman Justin Faulk while Friedman countered it could take more than Nugent-Hopkins to land Faulk.

If the Oilers and Hurricanes are discussing Faulk, the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson points out Hurricanes assistant GM Rick Olczyk used to hold a similar position with the Oilers. He could help GM Ron Francis assess Oilers right winger Jordan Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Canucks, Oilers set to have busy off-seasons in search of winger, blueliner

Loui Eriksson (Getty Images)

It’s been nearly a month since the Vancouver Canucks’ season came to an end. That hasn’t stopped the local media from speculating about the club’s off-season roster plans.

The Vancouver Sun’s Ben Kuzma lists five things he believes the Canucks should and shouldn’t do this summer. Among those they should do is look into the trade status of Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin, though Kuzma expects the asking price could be the Canucks first-round pick (fifth overall) in this year’s draft plus a roster player.

He also recommends pursuing Boston Bruins right winger Loui Eriksson or the New York Islanders’ Kyle Okposo via free agency to skate on the Sedin line. That would buy time for younger players, such as Jake Virtanen, to develop. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Islanders, Oilers could be perfect off-season partners

Travis Hamonic battles with Matt Hendricks (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the New York Islanders eliminated from the second round of the 2016 playoffs, they head into the offseason facing the possibility of some significant roster changes.

Newsday’s Steve Zipay reports pending unrestricted free agents Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin face uncertain futures with the Isles. Of the trio, the 28-year-old Okposo stands to cash in the most. He’s completing a five-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $2.8 million, though he earned $4.5 million this season in actual salary.

Since last summer, contract talks between Okposo and the Isles have been almost non-existent. It’s assumed he won’t be back, meaning the Isles need a suitable replacement at right wing.

Citing defenseman Travis Hamonic’s request last year to be dealt to a Western-Canadian team, Newsday’s Mark Herrman suggests shipping the 25-year-old blueliner to the Edmonton Oilers for one of their good young wingers. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance recommends acquiring Jordan Eberle to replace Okposo. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Expansion draft could create a dilemma for the Penguins

Marc-Andre Fleury (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL and NHLPA recently agreed upon the rules for a potential expansion draft that could be held following the end of the 2016-17 campaign. Though these rules haven’t been officially released, TSN’s Gary Lawless reported sources claim players carrying no-movement clauses must be protected from the draft, while those with no-trade clauses won’t be exempt and can be exposed.

NBC Sports Ryan Dadoun notes that could create an interesting dilemma for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Should an expansion draft be held, existing NHL teams can only protect one goaltender. With rookie netminder Matt Murray filling in very well for sidelined starter Marc-Andre Fleury in the 2016 playoffs, Penguins management could face a difficult decision over which one to protect.

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Rumor Roundup: Expect Maple Leafs to keep No. 1 pick, and still pursue Stamkos

Steven Stamkos  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs winning the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery generated considerable excitement among their long-suffering fans. It’s also sparked speculation over what the Leafs might do with that pick.

It’s assumed the Leafs will retain it and select American center Auston Matthews first overall at next month’s draft. TSN’s Frank Seravalli doesn’t expect the Leafs will shop the pick in hopes of landing a return than can accelerate their rebuilding process. He does anticipate some teams might at least inquire into the possibility.

Throughout this season, some in the media floated the notion of the Arizona Coyotes pursuing the top pick if they didn’t win the draft lottery in order to select local boy Mattews. Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc last month dismissed talk of his club offering up top defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in an effort to land that pick.

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