If the Flames defenseman is still on the trade block, there might be a fit with the Rangers; Are the Bruins shopping Ryan Spooner?
Engaging in some Black Friday shopping, USA Today's Kevin Allen came up with some trade scenarios for several NHL clubs. Topping the list was his suggestion that the New York Rangers pursue Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
Allen believes Hamilton could address the Rangers' need for a mobile, right-shot blueliner. While the 23-year-old is struggling with the Flames, Allen feels he could improve under the right system. Taking on Hamilton's $5.75-million annual cap hit could be a problem for the Blueshirts, but he proposes they make it work by shipping veteran rearguard Kevin Klein ($2.9 million) to the Flames or another team.
As Allen pointed out, the Flames need scoring. They have the fifth-lowest goals-for per game (2.29) and miss the production of sidelined left winger Johnny Gaudreau. While Klein might bring a measure of stability to the Flames blueline, he can't help their offense. Unless the Rangers give up a scoring forward, they won't land Hamilton.
Allen also suggests the New York Islanders ship a defenseman (perhaps Thomas Hickey or Calvin de Haan) to the Buffalo Sabres for left winger Evander Kane. He notes the Sabres are looking for a blueliner and thinks Kane, 25, could provide the Isles with a much-needed offensive spark.
Acquiring Kane, however, would be a desperate move by the Isles. He's done little to improve the Sabres. Since returning from cracked ribs, he's managed only two points in 10 games. Kane's also carrying a $5.25-million cap hit through 2017-18. Having invested heavily in free-agent bust (and former Kane teammate) Andrew Ladd, the last thing the Isles need is another expensive gamble that could quickly go sour.
STRUGGLING SPOONER A TRADE CANDIDATE
After a promising 49-point performance in 2015-16, Boston Bruins left winger Ryan Spooner has only eight points this season in 21 games. The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa believes there's something wrong with the 24-year-old forward, as his play has fallen short of expectations.
Once considered a top-six forward, Spooner has seen playing time on the Bruins' fourth line. As he's a restricted free agent next summer, this season is a crucial one. If Spooner's play fails to improve, Shinzawa believes it could adversely hurt his efforts to secure a significant raise and perhaps put his chances of re-signing with the Bruins at risk.
Spooner's name surfaced earlier this month in the rumor mill. If his struggles continue, he could become a frequent topic for trade chatter.
CANADIENS LOOKING FOR DEFENSE DEPTH
The Montreal Canadiens enter this week with a league-leading 34 points in 22 games. However, their blueline depth remains an area of concern.
Last Friday, Stu Cowen of the Montreal Gazette reported the Canadiens need to find a No. 6 defenseman that coach Michel Therrien has confidence in putting on the ice. He noted call-up Joel Hanley saw little ice time in two recent games against Toronto and Ottawa before giving way to Mark Barbiero. Cowen also pointed out Greg Pateryn was a healthy scratch in seven games this season.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is reportedly seeking help for his defense corps. One option could be Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Ryan Murphy, who's apparently on the trade block.