With the NHL draft and free agency fast approaching, speculation persists in the Boston media over what Bruins GM Don Sweeney will do to bolster his D-corps.
CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty reports free agency isn't Sweeney's preferred route this summer. However, he points out that puck-moving blueliners such as the New York Rangers' Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski of the Dallas Stars could be available if the Bruins GM opts to dive into the free-agent pool.
Haggerty also reports of trade rumors suggesting young defenders such as Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets, Tyson Barrie of the Colorado Avalanche and Hampus Lindholm of the Anaheim Ducks could be available. However, he worries the Bruins could lack the resources to land one of them.
Barrie could be an enticing prospect for Sweeney. Landing him however, will be costly in both return and contract. He's a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and could seek a lengthy deal worth around $6 million per season.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman suggested Trouba could be a defenseman the Avalanche target this summer. Citing sources, Haggerty claims the Avalanche is offering up center Matt Duchene for the 22-year-old Jets blueliner
Trouba certainly has promise, but he's yet to fully establish himself as a top-two NHL defenseman. Giving an established young star such as Duchene for Trouba would be an overpayment.
Haggerty also observes the Edmonton Oilers could part with left winger Taylor Hall or center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in order to land a top-two defenseman. Hall could land the top-pairing blueliner the Oilers desperately need. Given their depth at center, however, Nugent-Hopkins seems a more likely trade candidate.
As for Lindholm, the Ducks are more likely to re-sign him and instead put restricted free agent blueliner Sami Vatanen (who has arbitration rights this summer) on the block.
Veteran Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill as a trade candidate. The 34-year-old has a $4-million annual salary-cap hit and a full no-trade clause to the end of 2016.
Since returning from a knee injury that ended his 2013-14 campaign, Seidenberg's performance has declined. He's unlikely to garner much interest from rival clubs.
The Boston Herald's Stephen Harris wonders if Sweeney might buy out the remaining two years of Seidenberg's contract. He notes that will cost them $1.16-million per season for the next four years.
Harris also notes the Bruins hold two first-round picks in this year's draft. He wonders if their own (14th overall) might fetch a return to boost the blueline.
Sweeney could also have his eye on St. Louis Blues rearguard Kevin Shattenkirk. He's a year away from unrestricted free agency and could prove too expensive for the Blues to re-sign. He's frequently popped up in trade chatter this season linking him to the Bruins.
COYOTES DANGLING HANZAL AS TRADE BAIT
The Arizona Coyotes could also be in the market for a defenseman this summer, with center Martin Hanzal as potential trade bait.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman claims the Coyotes have received some calls from clubs with interest in the 29-year-old Hanzal, who's eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. If the two sides fail to work out a deal, Friedman claims they could ask him for a list of trade destinations.
Arizona-born prospect Auston Matthews is expected to be selected first-overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs. There's talk the Coyotes, who sit seventh overall in the upcoming draft, could make a pitch for that pick.
TSN's Bob McKenzie thinks the Coyotes will make a courtesy call, but doesn't believe the Leafs have any interest in parting with the pick. Even if they were willing to move it, he doubts the Coyotes will part with foundation players such as Max Domi or Dylan Strome in the deal. McKenzie doubts the Leafs are interested in the Coyotes first-round picks (seventh and 20th) or prospect Christian Dvorak.
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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