The Boston Bruins search for skilled blueline depth continues in the aftermath of the opening-day NHL free-agent frenzy. CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins were “kicking the tires” on free-agent shot-blocker Kris Russell.
Haggerty also speculates the Bruins could continue their search in the trade market. He suggests forwards David Krejci or Ryan Spooner could be dangled as trade bait.
With the Bruins signing free-agent center David Backes to a five-year, $30-million contract, Haggerty believes the 30-year-old Krejci has the most value to bring back a quality defenseman. He proposes the St. Louis Blues (Backes' former club), Anaheim Ducks or Minnesota Wild as possible trade destinations, as they have the type of puck-moving rearguards the Bruins need.
Since 2009-10, Krejci's acheived 60-plus points five times with the Bruins. His playmaking ability would certainly attract interest around the league.
However, Krejci is also entering the second season of a six-year, $43.5 million contract with an annual average salary of $7.25 million He also carries a full no-movement clause through 2018-19.
The Blues have over $8.7 million in salary cap space, while the Wild carry just over $6.9 million. Unless they can free up cap space, it's unlikely they're keen to take on a high-salaried center such as Krejci this summer. While the Ducks have over $14 million, they're a budget club and need depth on the wing, not center.
SABRES MAY LOOK TO DEAL KANE AS TROUBLE FINDS WINGER AGAIN
Buffalo Sabres left winger Evander Kane is under investigation for a late-June incident in a Buffalo bar involving two women. Earlier this year, the 24-year-old was cleared of wrongdoing following an investigation involving a sexual encounter last December.
Sabres GM Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma are understandably displeased over this recent episode. Factor in Kane's disappointing, injury-hampered performance last season with the Sabres (20 goals, 35 points in 65 games) and there's grist for the trade-rumor mill.
Last Thursday, former NHL player turned radio host Georges Laraque told WGR 550 an agent informed him the Sabres were trying to trade Kane. Given the winger's troubles, Laraque doubted the Sabres could even give him away at this point.
Injuries, immaturity and questionable off-ice behavior have hampered Kane's on-ice development. When healthy and focused, he has the skills to be a worthwhile power forward.
Last season was the second time in his seven NHL campaigns he reached the 20-goal mark. He also has three 40-plus point seasons. That includes a career-best 30-goal, 57-point performance in 2011-12.
It's doubtful the Sabres will find any takers for Kane while he's still under police investigation. Depending on its outcome, they could be stuck with the winger for at least the start of 2016-17.
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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