The Kevin Shattenkirk trade speculation that surfaced during the recent NHL draft gained momentum during the opening day of free agency. Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the defenseman's agent denied claims his client was being shopped, but it did little to quell the rumors.
It remains to be seen how the speculation will be affected by the Blues recent trade of winger T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals. If they're still fielding inquiries about Shattenkirk, Rutherford suggests the 26-year-old blueliner's contract could be the issue. Shattenkirk has two years left on his deal at an average cap hit of $4.25 million. The Blues already have considerable long-term contracts invested in blueliners Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester. Rutherford notes they won't part with Pietrangelo, while Bouwmeester's struggles last season could hurt his trade value.
CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty cites a league source claiming the Blues discussed Shattenkirk with the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. Haggerty claims the Boston Bruins had previous interest in the Blues defenseman, but isn't aware if they're in on him now.
Any deal involving Shattenkirk going to the Rangers, Flyers or Bruins must involve one or two salaried players heading to St. Louis. Those clubs have limited cap space and can't afford to shoehorn Shattenkirk's cap hit under their current payrolls.
FLYERS STILL SHOPPING LECAVALIER
If the Philadelphia Flyers are trying to acquire Shattenkirk, or any other notable players, they must find a way to shed more salary. Despite shipping out over $8 million in combined cap salary by dealing defenseman Nicklas Grossmann and the rights to Chris Pronger to Arizona, the Flyers still have over $66.9 million in cap payroll invested in their roster for 2015-16.
Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall will continue his efforts to trade fading star Vincent Lecavalier. The 35-year-old center has three years left on his contract at a cap hit of $4.5 million.
Donnellon speculates Hextall will target teams carrying considerable cap space, just as he did in the Grossmann-Pronger deal with the Coyotes. Given Lecavalier's ongoing decline, however, Hextall could remain frustrated in his efforts to move him.
BOZAK STILL ON THE MARKET
The Toronto Maple Leafs shipping Phil Kessel to the Pittsburgh Penguins overshadowed all the free agent activity that took place on July 1. It's possible the Leafs aren't done dealing forwards this summer.
Sportsnet’s John Shannon believes there are “plenty of moves to be made” by the Leafs. He expects center Tyler Bozak could be gone this summer. The 29-year-old center has three years remaining on his contract at an average cap hit of $4.2 million.
Bozak tallied 23 goals and 49 points in 82 games last season. Despite those numbers, he attracted little interest during the recent NHL draft. Though the asking price was reportedly a second-round pic, the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons claims the Leafs didn't get any calls on Bozak.
With almost all the best players in what is a very thin free agent market now gone, interest in Bozak could pick up in the coming weeks. On July 1, TSN's Darren Dreger reported the Arizona Coyotes were interested in the Leafs center. Their subsequent signing of Antoine Vermette, however, likely means they're no longer a potential destination for Bozak.
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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