Today's rumor roundup features the latest from the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Following the Boston Bruins' playoff elimination by the Montreal Canadiens, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told the Boston media, “I'm not gonna gut the team just because players didn't play well.” The Boston Herald's Steve Conroy reports Chiarelli admits he will tweak the roster this summer.
The Canadiens exploited the Bruins' lack of speed, which Chiarelli acknowledges he will consider addressing this summer. Conroy also notes the Bruins' GM admitted the NHL game is trending away from fighting, which could be bad news for free agent enforcer Shawn Thornton.
Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe believes the Bruins need more speed and puck-handling skills on the blueline, suggesting Phoenix's Keith Yandle and Vancouver's Alex Edler “are two who fit the profile”. He feels landing such a defenseman would “require big returns”, suggesting feisty second-line winger Brad Marchand or physical, hard-shooting defenseman Johnny Boychuk (who is one year away from unrestricted free agency) as trade chips.
Though the Canucks need scoring depth, Marchand's contentious history with them since the 2011 Stanley Cup Final makes it unlikely he'll end up in Vancouver. Edler has a full no-trade clause, and given the Canucks' bitter rivalry with the Bruins, he could be unwilling to waive it to go to Boston.
Yandle, a Boston native who lacks a no-trade clause, would be a better fit, but carries an annual cap hit of $5.25 million. Even if the Bruins could move out Marchand and his $4.5-million annual cap hit (provided he waives his modified no-trade clause), they'll be taking on additional salary, making Yandle a tight fit for the cap-strapped Bruins.
Chiarelli must also decide if he can re-sign right wing Jarome Iginla, who's coming off a one-year, bonus-laden contract, much of which carries over against their 2014-15 salary cap. WEEI.com's DJ Bean believes Iginla must accept a similar deal if he hopes to return with the Bruins.
Boyle and Havlat out in San Jose
San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson last week announced defenseman Dan Boyle and winger Martin Havlat aren't returning next season. Boyle is an unrestricted free agent, while Havlat has one season remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $5 million, but worth $6 million in actual salary.
The San Jose Mercury News' David Pollak reports the Sharks could buy out Havlat, but Wilson said there could be other options. A trade is possible, but Havlat's salary and long injury history makes it difficult to find any suitors for the 33-year-old. The Sharks have never gone the buyout route before, but could do so if they fail to trade Havlat before the buyout period deadline on June 30. They have two compliance buyouts and could use one of them on Havlat.
Boyle told Pollak he was “devastated” by Wilson's decision. Despite his age (37), Boyle remains a skilled, respected defenseman and shouldn't have much difficulty signing with another NHL club.
Pollak speculates the Sharks could shop Boyle's rights before July 1 if a rival club expressed strong interest in the blueliner. He also guesses the New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning (Boyle's former team) could be interested. The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa considers the Detroit Red Wings a possible destination.
Umberger unhappy with Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets and winger R.J. Umberger could part ways this summer. The Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline cites sources claiming the 32-year-old winger requested a trade during his exit interview earlier this month.
From 2008-09 through 2011-12 Umberger averaged over 20 goals and 40 points, but his numbers slipped a bit in recent years. This season he tallied 18 goals and 34 points in 74 games. Portzline reports Umberger was “angered and hurt” over being a healthy scratch for four late-season games. During their division semifinal series against Pittsburgh he saw action in four games, collecting one assist.
Umberger has two seasons left on his contract worth $4.6 million annually. He also carries a full no-trade clause until June 15th, after which Portzline reports it becomes a modified one by which he lists 10 teams which he would not accept being dealt to. Portzline suggests Umberger could be of interest to teams teams facing big changes this summer, such as San Jose, Pittsburgh, Washington and Vancouver.
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.