Could Nazem Kadri’s days as a Leaf still be numbered? Are the Stars in a cap crunch? And more.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri and defenseman Jake Gardiner were subjects of trade speculation throughout last season. In a recent interview with the Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger, Leafs GM Dave Nonis claims he never actively shopped the pair.
Nonis did say if the right deal came along for a player like Kadri he would trade him. “But there’s a big difference between being willing to trade a player and trying to trade a player. We were never trying to trade Jake or Naz,” he said. Nonis said the Leafs re-signed Gardiner to a long-term deal this summer because they believe in him, and Nonis expects Kadri will also be a special player.
Given the rumors flying around last season about Kadri and Gardiner, Nonis was probably getting calls from rival clubs expressing interest in the pair. If the Leafs struggle again this season, or if Kadri and/or Gardiner fail to improve as projected, the speculation could resurface, but Nonis made it very clear last season he expected to get a comparable young player in return for either guy.
STARS SURVIVING THE SALARY CAP SQUEEZE
After the Dallas Stars re-signed restricted free agents Cody Eakin and Brenden Dillon, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports they are now scheduled to pay $61.4 million in actual salary this season. Heika also reports Stars GM Jim Nill isn’t looking to make any trades, but has the wiggle room if needed.
CapGeek.com indicates the Stars currently have more than $68.4 million of cap payroll invested in 24 players, leaving them about $568,000 in cap space. Heika notes, however, the Stars can get cap relief by placing center Rich Peverley (heart condition) on long-term injured reserve. Nill could also wait until the March 2 trade deadline, when he’ll have more than $2.6 million in cap space.
If Nill makes a significant trade this season it will likely be for a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. Currently the Stars defense corps consists solely of left-handed shooters.
RED WINGS WANT RIGHTIES FOR THEIR BLUELINE
The Detroit Red Wings are another club in need of a top-four right-handed blueliner. General manager Ken Holland shopped around for one during the off-season without success. TSN’s Darren Dreger claims the search continues, while Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Greg Brady reports the Wings are shopping defenseman Jakub Kindl, though no deal appears imminent.
Edmonton Oilers blueliner Jeff Petry could be of interest to the Stars and Red Wings. He’s a right-handed shot under a one-year, $3.08-million deal and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Dreger reports Petry’s name has surfaced in the rumor mill, though the Oilers aren’t actively shopping him, as they first want to assess young blueliners Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse.
The Oilers are lacking depth at center, which the Red Wings have in abundance, so perhaps there’s a fit there.
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 Bleacher Report, Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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