As the dust settles from the opening weekend of the NHL’s annual unrestricted free-agent frenzy, teams that missed out on the best UFA talent could turn to the trade market. For several clubs, that means pursuing a top-pairing defenseman.
After the Edmonton Oilers acquired Adam Larsson last week, GM Peter Chiarelli said he was pleased with his current D-corps. However, that hasn’t stopped speculation he could still be in the market for a skilled puck-moving rearguard.
Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic insists he intends to re-sign restricted free agent blueliner Tyson Barrie. However, the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples suggests until Barrie and Avs coach Patrick Roy declare things are fine between them, the Oilers could still pursue the 24-year-old defenseman. TSN’s Bob McKenzie also shares this view.
It appears Barrie is heading to salary arbitration. Before that happens, the Avs could be willing to move him for the right offer.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was a fixture in the trade-rumor mill throughout last season. However, the recent depature of forwards David Backes and Troy Brouwer to free agency could change where he fits into their plans and under their salary-cap payroll beyond 2016-17.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports it appears the 27-year-old blueliner will return with the Blues this season. GM Doug Armstrong apparently hopes to re-sign Shattenkirk, who’s eligible next summer for free agency.
Shattenkirk’s cap hit is $4.25 million, though in actual salary he’ll earn $5.2 million in 2016-17. Without big contracts for Backes and Brouwer eating up valuable cap space, Armstrong could have more room to keep Shattenkirk in the fold.
Haggerty notes the Bruins were keen to land Shattenkirk and could now fix their attention upon Colorado’s Barrie or the Anaheim Ducks’ Cam Fowler. If Shattenkirk is off the trade block and Barrie re-signs with the Avalanche, the 24-year-old Fowler’s trade value will surely increase this summer.
The Bruins won’t be the only club with interest in the Ducks defenseman. Late last month, trade chatter linked Fowler to the Oilers, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres.
Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News believes Sabres GM Tim Murray will still try to pry Fowler away from the Ducks. Harrington suggests offering up the Sabres first-round selection in the 2017 NHL draft as trade bait.
The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James reports the Red Wings will look outside free agency to bolster their blueline. Noting the recent conjecture linking the Wings to Fowler, she believes it could take either Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist plus a high second-round pick to get him.
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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