The status of pending UFAs Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd has many observers wondering if Winnipeg will move or re-sign them.
With New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic’s trade request dominating the rumor mill of late, several other recent rumors went overlooked. Here’s a look at some you may have missed.
The Winnipeg Jets remain a team of interest in this season’s NHL rumor mill. The status of pending UFAs Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd has many observers wondering if they’ll move or re-sign them. They’re also considered a destination of choice for Hamonic, a Manitoba native.
Given their reputation as a budget team, the Jets could have a difficult time freeing up cap space to re-sign Byfuglien and Ladd, let alone add Hamonic. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports they’re shopping veteran D-man Tobias Enstrom in hopes of clearing his $5.75-million cap hit in order to free up space for Byfuglien.
Moving Enstrom, however, has its share of difficulty. In addition to his cap hit and contract length (signed through 2017-18), he’s carrying a full no-movement clause. Factor in his declining numbers in recent years, and he’s not as attractive a trade option as Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba or Tyler Myers.
Since the Chicago Blackhawks demoted left wing Bryan Bickell to the minors, he’s been on a tear with their AHL affiliate in Rockford. In seven games with the IceHogs, the 29-year-old tallied four goals and eight points.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson recently cited Bickell’s AHL performance, suggesting that could improve his NHL trade value. It’s well known the Blackhawks tried in vain to move him during the offseason.
Putting up good numbers in the minors is one thing, but that might not boost Bickell’s NHL value. He’s still carrying an annual cap hit of $4 million through 2016-17. Interested clubs could insist on seeing how he performs with the Blackhawks before taking a chance on him now.
Speaking of the Blackhawks, ESPN.com’s Pierre Lebrun reports they’re getting inquiries about blueliner Travis Daley, who’s struggled to adjust since joining the club in an offseason trade. With a number of teams seeking defensive depth, Lebrun feels there’s a market for the 32-year-old Daley, though he believes the ‘Hawks will patiently seek the right fit.
Lebrun suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins as a destination, but doubted they could fit his $3.3-million annual salary under their cap . With the Penguins bumping against the $71.4 million cap ceiling, they’ll have to free up salary first. Considering the ‘Hawks own cap issues, they’re not about to absorb part of Daley’s salary.
As this season progresses, it could be worthwhile keeping an eye on the status of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis. The Province’s Patrick Johnston speculates Hamhuis, who’ll turn 33 next month, could become a trade chip.
Johnson notes Hamhuis isn’t as dominant or longing tougher minutes as in his heyday a few years ago, but his defense numbers aren’t bad. He feels Hamhuis could interest a true playoff contender.
Hamhuis has a full no-trade clause and his $4.5-million cap hit isn’t easy to move right now. However, if the Canucks are out of playoff contention by the Feb. 29 trade deadline, they could see if the veteran rearguard is willing to accept a deal to a Stanley Cup contender.
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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