Tyson Barrie. (Getty Images)
There will be a lot of interest in 24-year-old Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie if the Avs can’t re-sign him.
As the Matt Duchene trade speculation wanes, teammate Tyson Barrie popped up in the rumor mill. Barrie was mentioned by Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman during Saturday's Hockey Night in Canada telecast, noting the blueliner is a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights.
Friedman claimed teams are keeping an eye on Barrie's status, speculating there will be a lot of interest in the 24-year-old defenseman if the Avs can't re-sign him. He subsequently reported having “zero evidence” Barrie's on the trade block, believing the Avalanche “would love to sign him.”
With all the hype last week about Duchene, any mention of the contract status of one of his teammates was bound to stir up speculation over which players GM Joe Sakic might shop this season. Considering he let Paul Stastny depart in 2014 via free agency and dealt away Ryan O'Reilly last summer to Buffalo, some Avs fans are understandably concerned that their club's frugal ways could cost them another key player.
It's understandable why rival teams could be monitoring Barrie's contract status. He's earning $3.2 million in actual salary for 2015-16 ($2.6-million cap hit). He also netted 53 points in 80 games in 2014-15 and is on pace for almost 60 points this season.
To keep Barrie away from arbitration, the Avs will have to pony up big bucks. They'll likely want to keep his cap hit below Erik Johnson's annual average salary of $6 million, but they could end up forking out over $5.7-million per season on a long-term deal.
Friedman also claimed the Avs were in talks last year with the Ottawa Senators regarding blueliner Patrick Wiercioch. However, it doesn't appear they've revisited that interest in the 25-year-old Wiercioch, who's struggling this season.
He reports the Avs also spoke with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season regarding defenseman Jake Gardiner as part of a deal involving Ryan O'Reilly before he was dealt to Buffalo. He doesn't know if they will follow up on Gardiner.
As the Philadelphia Flyers continue to struggle, there's anticipation over potential moves by GM Ron Hextall. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports the Flyers were trying to move veteran defenseman Mark Streit before his recent pelvic surgery. The 37-year-old will be sidelined for at least six weeks.
NJ.com's Randy Miller recently took to Twitter speculating the Flyers could make deal soon. He believes winger Matt Read could be the first to go.
Streit is signed through next season earning $5.25 million in annual average salary. Read, 29, is signed through 2017-18 at a cap hit of $3.625 million. At this point in the season and with so many teams carrying limited cap room, Hextall will face considerable difficulty finding takers for those contracts.
When Streit returns to action, he might attract interest near the Feb. 29 trade deadline. However, he also carries a limited no-trade clause, giving him some control over possible destinations. Read lacks a movement clause, but he's on pace for the lowest point totals (23) of his career. If he doesn't improve, teams will have little interest in pursuing him.
Hextall would undoubtedly love to make a trade, but everyone knows he's still in salary-cap hell this season. His best early period to shed salary is the trade deadline. Beyond that, he'll have to wait until this summer, when several players (like UFAs Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn) come off the books.
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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