The Stars and Lightning are reported to have entered the Jacob Trouba sweepstakes. Here’s a look at who has a legitimate shot at landing the defenseman.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman weighed in on holdout defenseman Jacob Trouba’s trade request from the Winnipeg Jets. He believes the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers are interested in the 23-year-old. He also speculates the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning could be lurking.
Since Trouba made his request over two weeks ago, other pundits have also linked the blueliner to the Coyotes, Sabres, Bruins, Avs, Wings and Rangers. Friedman’s the first to suggest the Stars and Lightning as possible suitors.
The Jets reportedly seek a left-handed defenseman around the same age, experience and skill level of Trouba. That rules out the Stars, who have Johnny Oduya, Jordie Benn and off-season acquisition Dan Hamhuis patrolling the left side of their blueline. The Lightning would probably love to land Trouba, but they lack sufficient cap space both this season and next to re-sign him.
Friedman also reports two sources dismiss speculation the Montreal Canadiens could pursue Trouba. Citing the Florida Panthers summer moves, he doubts they’ll get into the bidding.
Given the Jets’ high asking price, Friedman said some of the teams lacking the assets to land Trouba are trying to get third parties involved in the deal. Noting the Anaheim Ducks’ need to shed salary once they re-sign defenseman Hampus Lindholm and forward Rickard Rakell, he wonders if they might be interested in a three-way deal, perhaps involving blueliner Cam Fowler.
Three-way deals are rare, and salary-cap constraints for many of those teams could make such a move complicated. Teams pursuing Trouba could be content to remain patient in hopes the Jets lower their asking price in the coming weeks.
KUCHEROV DEAL GIVES LIGHTNING SOME CAP RELIEF
Prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning re-signing right winger Nikita Kucherov, GM Steve Yzerman was expected to shed salary to clear salary-cap space for the 23-year-old’s new contract.
Center Valtteri Filppula ($5 million annual average salary) and defenseman Jason Garrison ($4.6 million) were mentioned as trade candidates.
But with Kucherov inked to a very affordable three-year, $14.3-million contract, Yzerman is no longer under pressure to clear cap room for this season. The winger’s surprisingly low annual cap hit ($4.76 million) gives the Lightning $1.73 million of cap room. Yzerman has sufficient wiggle room if required to address other short-term roster needs as they arise this season without having to shed another contract.
Yzerman still must also plan ahead for next summer, when forwards Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin become restricted free agents. All will seek substantial raises, especially if they have strong performances this season. Goaltender Ben Bishop and center Brian Boyle are eligible for unrestricted free agency. Bishop, 29, isn’t expected to be re-signed and there might not be sufficient room to retain Boyle.
RANGERS SHOPPING McILRATH
The New York Rangers could move a defenseman soon. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports they’re believed trying to find a trade partner for blueliner Dylan McIlrath.
McIlrath, 24, showed some promise through 34 games last season. However, Brooks claims he had a poor training camp. The addition of Adam Clendening pushed McIlrath down their blueline depth chart. Brooks said the Rangers don’t want to put McIlrath on waivers, so they could defer a decision on his long-term future.
Teams seeking depth for their third defense pairing might kick the tires on McIlrath. He could probably be had for a lower-round draft pick or a prospect.
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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