Rumors

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

Lyle Richardson
By:

Kris Russell (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

Rumors

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

Lyle Richardson
By:

With the asking price in trades too high it could be time for Bruins GM Don Sweeney to consider his defense options via free agency.

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.

SHARKS NEED TO CLEAR CAP SPACE

The San Jose Sharks recent free-agent additions of left winger Mikkel Boedker and defenseman David Schlemko leaves them with just over $1.7 million in salary-cap space for 2016-17.

CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz speculates one or two current members of the roster could be shipped out to free up some cap space. He lists defensemen Brenden Dillon and Mirco Mueller and forwards Patrick Marleau, Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto as possible trade candidates.

Moving the 36-year-old Marleau and his $6.66-million cap hit would certainly address that need. However, he carries a full no-movement clause. Last season, he was reportedly willing to waive it for the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.

Those clubs lacked the cap space to take on Marleau last season. That hasn't changed now. Dillon, Mueller, Wingels or Nieto are more likely to move.

MAPLE LEAFS SEEK EXPERIENCED BACKUP

Having dealt Jonathan Bernier last week to the Anaheim Ducks, the Toronto Maple Leafs require a backup goaltender. TSN's Kristen Shilton cites Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello and coach Mike Babcock stressing the need for an experienced netminder behind starter Frederik Andersen.

Among the notable free agents available to the Leafs, Shilton lists Jhonas Enroth and Karri Ramo as possibilities. Of the two, the 28-year-old Enroth could be the best bet. He had a 2.17 goals-against average and .922 save percentage backing up Los Angeles Kings starter Jonathan Quick last season. Ramo, 29, was plagued by inconsistency and injury last season with the Flames.

Shilton also suggests New Jersey's Keith Kinkaid, Florida's Reto Berra and the New York Islanders' Thomas Greiss as trade targets. Of these, Berra is most likely to be available. The Panthers acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche on June 23, but his role is uncertain following their signing of James Reimer to a long-term deal.

The Devils have little reason to part with Kinkaid, while Greiss could take over the starter's role with the Isles from Jaroslav Halak.

OILERS, SENATORS LOOKING TO MAKE A DEAL

A recent rumor making the rounds suggests the Edmonton Oilers could ship center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Cody Ceci. The Edmonton Journal's David Staples, however, doubts this will happen.

Staples observes Ceci has promise, but not enough to convince Oilers management to part with Nugent-Hopkins for him.

It's a move that won't work for either club. While the Senators would gain depth at center, Ceci's absence would leave a big gap on their defense. Ceci, a restricted free agent who's filed for salary arbitration, isn't the experienced puck-moving blueliner the Oilers need.

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.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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