New York Rangers winger Rick Nash finds himself in the off-season rumor mill, and if the Blueshirts move the veteran scorer, it could open up the possibility of the Rangers entering the bidding war for Steven Stamkos. Meanwhile, the Canucks’ off-season could see Vancouver listen to offers for goaltender Ryan Miller.
Could the New York Rangers trade left winger Rick Nash this summer? Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests it’s possible. He thinks the Rangers have been asked about the 31-year-old forward, speculating they could move him under the right circumstances.
Friedman points out Nash’s $7.8-million cap hit over the next two seasons and partial no-trade clause as potential stumbling blocks. He also notes the Blueshirts defended the struggling winger this season, who played through injury.
This isn’t the first time Nash has surfaced up in the rumor mill this month. On May 1, the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard suggested the Rangers used the big winger as trade bait to pry defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk away from the St. Louis Blues. However, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks doubts the Blues will look at Nash as the missing piece to their championship puzzle.
If the Colorado Avalanche struggle to re-sign Tyson Barrie, Leonard proposes the Rangers pursue the blueliner. He thinks it could cost them Nash or winger Chris Kreider.
The Rangers, of course, kept silent on the Nash conjecture. This probably won’t be the last time he’ll be mentioned in trade scenarios leading up to the draft in Buffalo on June 24-25.
One factor to consider is Nash’s age. He’ll turn 32 in June and enter the period when a player’s skills deteriorate. That could affect his value if he hits the trade block, even if the Rangers are agreeable to picking up part of his salary-cap hit.
NEW YORK A DESTINATION FOR STAMKOS?
They might not be the only New York club interested in the 26-year-old Lightning captain. Friedman wonders if the New York Islanders might take a run at Stamkos. He notes right wing Kyle Okposo seems likely to depart via free agency and they haven’t had any talks yet with pending UFA center Frans Nielsen.
Though Stamkos is a center, he can play on the wing. Friedman doesn’t rule out having him play “multiple positions” at forward. He also cites the club’s new ownership, salary-cap room (over $26 million) and Stamkos’ friendship with John Tavares as factors that could work in the Islanders’ favor.
Such a move, however, would be expensive, likely around $10-million annually on a seven-year deal. It would also complicate things when Tavares is due to be re-signed in 2018. He could seek as much, perhaps more, than Stamkos. That’s a lot of money to tie up in just two players. Teams that have done this in the recent past (hello there, Chicago Blackhawks) usually find themselves squeezed for cap space and forced to shed valuable depth to remain cap compliant.
That’s also assuming Stamkos would be interested in joining the Islanders. If he attracts a wide number of suitors this summer, the Isles could find it difficult to win a bidding war for his services.
MILLER COULD BE A POTENTIAL FIX FOR STARS
Since the Vancouver Canucks season ended last month, there’s been some musing in the local press over which players they might pursue via free agency. Of late, the talk has turned to possible moves in the off-season trade market.
The Province’s Jason Botchford lists goaltender Ryan Miller and forwards Jared McCann and Jannik Hansen as possible trade chips. He suggests the 21-year-old McCann could be their best trade chip while Hansen could be moved later next season.
Taking note of the Dallas Stars’ struggles in goal this season, Botchford wonders if they might be interested in Miller if the Canucks agreed to pick up part of his $6 million cap hit for 2016-17. Nevertheless, he expects the Canucks will open the season with Miller and Jacob Markstrom as their tandem.
If the Canucks are out of the playoff chase by next year’s trade deadline, perhaps they could try peddling Miller to the Stars if they’re still having adventures in goal with Kari Lehtonen and Annti Niemi. Maybe a swap could be made with Lehtonen or Niemi heading to Vancouver.
Such a move, however, depends upon Miller, Lehtoen or Niemi agreeing to being dealt by that point in the season. All three have no-trade clauses in their contracts.
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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