The Sabres are still seeking a top-four defenseman in any deal for Evander Kane, and it seems they won’t get it from the Canucks.
Speculation over left winger Evander Kane’s future with the Buffalo Sabres remains a notable topic in the NHL rumor mill.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Sabres aren’t close to trading the 25-year-old Kane, but they’re open to the idea. He believes they could move the winger if they get “the right defenseman” in return.
Kane’s been linked to the Vancouver Canucks since late-July, but McKenzie claims they shut down their talks with the Sabres last week. He said the New York Islanders also looked into Kane’s availability, but nothing came of it.
Earlier in the week, Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News speculated the Sabres may have had interest in Canucks defensemen Chris Tanev or Ben Hutton. Tanev, 26 and the 23-year-old Hutton are mobile top-four blueliners, so that should provide some hint as to the “right type” of D-men the Sabres seek.
The Canucks obviously won’t part with them. Tanev is a key part of their blueline, while Hutton was re-signed on Thursday to a two-year, $5.6 million contract extension.
THREE TEAMS EYEING HURRICANES’ MURPHY
TSN’s Darren Dreger recently provided an update on Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy, who was recently demoted to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte for a two-week conditioning stint.
Appearing on TSN 1040 in Vancouver, Dreger said at least three teams are interested in the 23-year-old. He claims one of them is a Western Conference club. When asked if that club was the Canucks, he said he didn’t know.
A first-round pick (12th overall) in the 2011 NHL draft, Murphy’s been hampered by injuries and inconsistency. Still, he’s young enough and has the puck-moving skills – as well as a right-handed shot – to interest clubs seeking affordable blueline depth.
Given the Sabres and Maple Leafs interest in bolstering their defense, one might wonder if they’re among those two Eastern clubs looking at Murphy. However, the Sabres apparently seek an established, young top-four rearguard. He also lacks the shutdown capabilities the Leafs desperately need.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens are in the market for a defenseman. Given the limited cap space of those three clubs, Murphy’s $787,000 cap hit could be an affordable fit with one of them.
MAPLE LEAFS LOOKING FOR SHUTDOWN ‘D’
The Toronto Maple Leafs are also in the market for a defenseman. Darren Dreger reports GM Lou Lamoriello seeks a shutdown blueliner. He also adds Lamoriello is attempting to move little-used center Peter Holland.
It’s understandable why Lamoriello wants to improve his defense. Despite the Leafs notable offensive improvement this season, they’re still allowing too many shots-against (33.2) per game. They’ve also given up the fourth-most goals-against per game (3.25).
Finding a skilled stay-at-home blueliner, however, isn’t easy at this time of year. Holland certainly won’t fetch that type of return. Lamoriello could be forced to wait until the off-season to address that need.
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.).
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.