Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler could be an affordable option for the Bruins, who open the season with a couple key injuries on the blueline.
With the 2016-17 season underway, the Boston Bruins still lack experienced blueline depth. The problem is exacerbated by veteran defensemen Adam McQuaid (middle-body injury) and Kevan Miller (bruised knee) opening the season on injured reserve.
Throughout the off-season, the Bruins were linked to Winnipeg Jets blueliner Jacob Trouba, who recently requested a trade. While the 23-year-old Trouba could interest the Bruins, the Jets asking price (believed to be a left-handed shot with comparable age and skill) could be difficult to meet.
Anaheim Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler could be a more affordable option for the Bruins. Throughout the summer, there was speculation the Ducks could trade the 24-year-old Fowler and his $4-million annual cap hit to free up room to re-sign restricted free agent Hampus Lindholm.
Contract talks between Anaheim GM Bob Murray and Lindholm's represemtatives remain stalled. It could cost the cash-strapped Ducks over $5 million to re-sign Lindholm. Moving Fowler would not only clear cap space, but also free up some room on the Ducks' crowded blueline.
The Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont believes Fowler is “the perfect trade fit” for the Bruins. Unlike the unsigned Trouba, Fowler is under contract through 2017-18. Depending on what Trouba seeks for a new contract, Fowler's annual cap hit could be more affordable.
Dupont suggests a trade package of promising young forward Danton Heinen and defenseman Brandon Carlo might do the trick. Heinen, 21, and the 19-year-old Carlo are both on affordable entry-level contracts worth a combined annual average value of $1.6 million. As the Ducks can't afford to take back much salary if they opt to move Fowler, a package like this from the Bruins could be enticing.
Fowler is a skilled puck-moving defenseman with a left-handed shot. The right-shooting Trouba has more all-around potential. Still, if the opportunity exists to land Fowler, the Bruins probably won't quibble over which side he shoots from.
JETS AND STARS COULD LOOK AT GOALIE SWAP
The Winnipeg Jets raised some eyebrows this week by demoting veteran goaltender Ondrej Pavelec to their AHL affiliate. They opened the season with the tandem of Michael Hutchinson and Connor Hellebuyck.
Pavelec's demotion is a clear indication the 29-year-old no longer has a future in Winnipeg. He's slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. By sending him to the minors, the Jets only shed $950k of his $3.9-million cap hit from their books.
TSN's Frank Seravalli speculates Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill might look toward the Jets for goaltending help if his current duo of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi fail to improve this season. Seravalli thinks Nill could be interested in Hutchinson or Hellebuyck, as the Jets could lose one of them to next June's NHL expansion draft.
Much will depend, of course, upon how Hutchinson and Hellebuyck perform over the course of this season. One of them could be traded or demoted while Pavelec could be recalled from the minors. The Jets could also shop Pavelec to clubs seeking early-season goaltending help.
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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