Rumor Roundup: Bruins need to look to free agents for blueline help

Kris Russell (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins efforts to bolster their defense via the trade market hasn’t panned out so far. The asking prices for available blueliners such as St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba and Anaheim’s Cam Fowler are rumored to be expensive.

It could be time for Bruins GM Don Sweeney to consider his options via free agency. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty lists Kris Russell, James Wisniewski and Luke Schenn as possible blueline targets.

Russell, 29, is a top-four defenseman and shotblocking specialist. The 33-year-old Wisniewski missed all but one game last season to a knee injury. When healthy, he’s a good puckmoving blueliner. Schenn, 26, has a booming shot and plays a physical style.

This trio won’t address the Bruins long-term defensive needs. However, one of them could be a decent, affordable short-term option while Sweeney awaits for the trade market to improve.

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Mikkel Boedker signing tells us Sharks don’t plan to be one-year wonders

Matt Larkin
Mikkel Boedker. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mikkel Boedker had plenty of suitors as he hit unrestricted free agency. At 26, he was among the youngest top-six forwards available. He’s one of the faster players in the game. And, while his career highs of 19 goals and 51 points are modest, he never played with top-end talent before the Arizona Coyotes traded him to the Colorado Avalanche at this year’s deadline.

Still, of all the teams seeking help on the wings…the San Jose Sharks? They already have one of the deepest forward corps in the league. The first line of Joe Thornton between Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski is dominant. Logan Couture, the second-line center, led the 2016 playoffs in scoring. Joel Ward brings thunder and clutch scoring from the third line. Patrick Marleau serves as a swingman who can play in the top six or center the third unit. Youngsters Chris Tierney and Melker Karlsson have shown flashes. First-round picks Nikolay Goldobin and Timo Meier should get their chances eventually.

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Rumor Roundup: Patrick Marleau’s future in San Jose still uncertain

Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton celebrate a goal for the San Jose Sharks

Following the end of the 2016 Stanley Cup final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks, it didn’t take long for speculation to begin over the Cup finalists’ off-season plans.

ESPN.com’s Craig Custance suggests the Penguins trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. With Matt Murray taking over as the starter during the playoffs and the Penguins carrying limited salary-cap room, they could consider moving the 31-year-old’s $5.75-million cap hit.

Custance believes Fleury could be “a great fit” with the Calgary Flames or Carolina Hurricanes. Both clubs need depth between the pipes and have depth in young talent and prospects to entice the Penguins.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari notes the Penguins could also move Fleury this summer in order to protect Murray in a possible expansion draft next June. He also speculates the veteran netminder could request a trade.

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Is putting another hockey team in the desert really a good idea?

Ken Campbell
Gary Bettman (left) and Bill Foley  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

It appears that expansion is simply a board of governors vote away after news surfaced that the NHL’s all-powerful executive committee will recommend the league grant a team to Las Vegas for the 2017-18 season. The owners will happily accept Bill Foley’s $500 million and the NHL will now be known as The Original 31.

Approval from the board of governors is usually a rubber-stamp process. But when deputy commissioner Bill Daly talked about it prior to the Stanley Cup final, he said he would never pre-suppose the results of a board vote, particularly on a file as contentious as this one. Which is code for saying that not everybody thinks this is a great idea.

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Sharks’ Hertl suffered right knee injury in Game 2, but will avoid surgery

Jared Clinton
Tomas Hertl (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Tomas Hertl’s injury became one of the Stanley Cup final’s storylines as the 22-year-old was suddenly out of the lineup come Game 3 and was continuously said to be day-to-day by San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. But with the post-season over, there’s finally some clarity when it comes to Hertl’s injury situation.

It was announced Monday that Hertl sustained an injury to his right knee, which is the same knee that was injured in a knee-on-knee collision with the Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown in December 2013.

The injury in the Stanley Cup final came when Hertl was hit along the left wing boards midway through the third period of Game 2 by Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist. Immediately after he was hit, Hertl left the ice and when the NBCSN cameras showed the Sharks winger on the bench, he was flexing his knee and grimacing in pain: Read more

Will speed demon Penguins spawn a legion of NHL copycats?

Sidney Crosby (Getty Images)

SAN JOSE – Aside from the players themselves, there are a good number of 18-year-old kids who were thrilled to see the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup this spring.

Unless you follow the prospect world, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of the likes of Will Bitten, Clayton Keller, Vitali Abramov, Alex DeBrincat and Rasmus Apslund yet. But you will. And depending on how many NHL teams try to copy the blueprint provided by this year’s Stanley Cup-winning Penguins, they might have a better chance to make the NHL than they ever have.

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