In Saturday’s edition of Rumor Roundup, Lyle Richardson looks at the situation surrounding Buffalo Sabres’ defenseman Tyler Myers and whether or not he could be suiting up for the Stars this season. Also, the Oilers need to make a decision about 2014 first-rounder Leon Draisaitl.
The Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers is enjoying an early resurgence, tied for second on the team in shots with winger Matt Moulson and ranking fifth overall in ice time among NHL players this season as of Friday. His play is also garnering attention in the rumor mill.
Vogl cites recent reports by TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger linking Myers to the Detroit Red Wings. They claim the 6-foot-8 blueliner could be on the move if the Sabres lower their asking price, which is currently said to include Red Wings prospect Dylan Larkin.
While Myers admits he’s bothered by the Sabres lack of success this season, he wants to be part of the club’s turnaround. He also said the rumors aren’t troubling him.
So far there’s no word from Sabres GM Tim Murray regarding Myers’ future, though he’s unlikely to publicly comment about his trade plans. Myers’ solid performance this season could increase his trade value, but it could also make Murray less willing to part with the big blueliner.
Though Myers is only 24 and a former Calder Trophy winner, he’s currently in his sixth NHL season. He could satisfy both Murray’s intention to rebuild with skilled youth whilst maintaining a veteran presence on his blueline. If Murray remains willing to entertain offers for Myers, the blueliner’s improvement will keep the asking price high.
The Dallas Stars are among the clubs linked to Myers in recent trade rumors. He’s a right-handed shot, which the Stars lack on their blueline. They were also rumored to be interested in Johnny Boychuk before the Boston Bruins dealt him to the New York Islanders.
Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News recently responded to reader e-mails on this topic, claiming the Stars are always looking to improve and are open to the right deal. However, Heika believes GM Jim Nill wants to be patient with his young defense corps before making any decisions regarding a blueline upgrade.
Nill also has just over $2.512 million in cap space, making it difficult to add a salaried defenseman like Myers ($5.5-million cap hit). Such a move also means giving up at least one good young player in return.
Heika believes the Stars are open to adding “a defenseman or two”, but Nill wants to ensure he makes “solid, long-term decisions”. He also points out Nill could have over $18 million in cap space to work with next summer, by which time he should know which of his current young rearguards are worth retaining and which could become trade bait.
SHOULD DRAISAITL STAY OR GO
The time is fast approaching for the Edmonton Oilers to reach a decision regarding 18-year-old center Leon Draisaitl.
He’ll play his ninth NHL game this season on October 27 against the Montreal Canadiens, after which management must decide to keep him for the remainder of this season or return him to his junior club in Prince Albert. If they keep the young center, the first year of his entry-level contract officially kicks in on the tenth game of this season.
As Sportsnet’s Mark Spector observes, the problem is compounded by the Oilers lack of depth at center. Returning Draisaitl to junior creates a bigger hole at center the Oilers will desperately need to fill.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jason Gregor believes Draisaitl’s development will be helped by returning him to junior for the remainder of this season. To replace the youngster, he recommends either calling up Anton Lander from their AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City or trading for an experienced center.
Should the Oilers go the trade route, Gregor suggests the Minnesota Wild’s Kyle Brodziak as a trade candidate. He notes the 30-year-old Brodziak’s been a healthy scratch, but feels he’d make a fine third-line center in Edmonton.
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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