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Rumor Roundup: Blackhawks looking to shed salary

The cap-strapped Chicago Blackhawks are expected to make a cost-cutting move or two soon, with center Artem Anisimov a prime candidate to be dealt; Coyotes' Smith on the trade block.

With the Stanley Cup playoffs over and the expansion draft and NHL draft weekend fast approaching, business is expected to pick up in the trade market.

A roster freeze goes into effect at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 17 for all but the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, making it a sort of mini-trade deadline for the other 30 clubs. The freeze will be lifted at 8 a.m. ET on June 22.

The cap-strapped Chicago Blackhawks are expected to make a cost-cutting move or two soon. TSN's Frank Seravalli recently reported the Hawks were in discussions over a possible deal with the Golden Knights. The deal would apparently see Vegas select defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk on the condition they also acquire center Marcus Kruger via trade.

Reports out of Chicago over the weekend, however, suggest the Blackhawks could be considering a bigger move. NBC Sports' Adam Gretz cites Jay Zawaski of Chicago's 670 The Score hearing there's a good chance they could ship out a core player (other than captain Jonathan Toews) to clear salary-cap room and perhaps restock their prospects. The Athletic's Scott Powers added neither Brent Seabrook or Artem Anisimov were asked to waive their no-movement clauses.

Gretz believes it unlikely Toews, Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford will be moved. TSN's Pierre LeBrun thinks there's “zero chance” the 32-year-old Seabrook is moved, as the Hawks value his leadership.

That leaves Anisimov as a trade candidate, provided he waives his NMC. The 29-year-old is a versatile two-way center coming off consecutive 40-plus point seasons. He's entering the second year of a five-year deal with an average cap hit of $4.5 million.

Such a bold step, however, could depend upon how much the salary-cap ceiling rises for 2017-18. It's currently at $73 million and the Hawks have over $77.5 million invested in 22 players. (A marginal increase could force them to consider a significant move such as shedding Anisimov's cap hit.


The lack of quality starting goaltenders in this summer's trade and free-agent markets gave rise to talks suggesting the Arizona Coyotes could part with veteran Mike Smith. Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos recently said a lot of teams were inquiring into the 35-year-old's trade status.

Kypreos said Smith wants to win now, while the rebuilding Coyotes look to shed salary and go younger in goal. The netminder has two seasons left on his contract with an annual average salary of $5.6 million and an eight-team no-trade list. TSN's Frank Seravalli believes the Golden Knights, Calgary Flames, Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets appear the only clubs in need of an experienced starter.

If the Coyotes are shopping Smith, that's news to GM John Chayak. Arizona Sports' Craig Morgan reported Chayka denied trying to move the goaltender, citing his high value to the Coyotes.

If Chayka puts Smith on the market, he could go shopping for an affordable replacement. Backup Louis Domingue isn't ready yet to take over as the Coyotes' full-time starter and there's no one in their system capable of filling that role.


The Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline took note of the Blue Jackets opting not to ask left winger Scott Hartnell to waive his no-movement clause and make himself eligible for the expansion draft. He suggests it could be because they already have a deal in place with the Golden Knights that ensures a promising young player, such a winger Josh Anderson, won't be selected if left exposed in the draft.

That deal could include all-but-retired winger David Clarkson, whose $5.25-million annual average salary still counts against the Jackets' cap payroll. He's apparently willing to waive his NMC to allow his rights to be dealt. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wonders if the Jackets might bundle Clarkson with a first-round pick and perhaps a prospect or two.

Hartnell's future with the Jackets remains uncertain. Portzline cites sources saying the veteran was told at season's end he was unlikely to return to the club. A contract buyout is possible.


Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev is attracting interest around the league. During a June 7th appearance on Buffalo's WGR 550, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said several clubs have asked about him. He assumed the Sabres are among them, along with perhaps the Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, Friedman speculated the Canucks won't part easily with the 27-year-old. He felt it could take a scoring winger to pique their interest.




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