With the start of the upcoming NHL season less than two weeks away, interest is growing over the potential moves by Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to free up cap space. It's been speculated for weeks Chiarelli could move one of his nine NHL-ready defensemen, creating additional room to re-sign restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
Trading Johnny Boychuk ($3.37 million cap hit), who's an unrestricted free agent in July, would easily remedy the situation, but Chiarelli seems reluctant to move him. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports of speculation the Bruins could re-sign Boychuk, but an extension hasn't been discussed.
During a recent live chat, ESPN's Katie Strang stated her belief the New York Islanders could be a logical trade partner for the Bruins, claiming the Isles would like to upgrade their defense via trade. Her colleague Craig Custance, however, suggests it might make more sense for the Isles to evaluate their young blueline core and compliment it closer to the trade deadline with an experienced defenseman.
Sports Illustrated Allan Muir feels Adam McQuaid could be a trade option. Muir suggests a swap with the Detroit Red Wings, who need a top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot. He also believes McQuaid's reasonable cap hit ($1.57 million), size (6-foot-5, 209 pounds) and physical presence would be attractive to the Wings. While Chiarelli might prefer shipping McQuaid to a different division, the Wings could tempt him with their prospect depth.
McQuaid could also be of interest to the Islanders, but the Bruins aren't the only team that could move a defenseman for cap reasons. The Chicago Blackhawks must shed more than $2.2 million to become cap compliant. Johnny Oduya ($3.38-million cap hit) and Nick Leddy ($2.7 million) are often mentioned as trade candidates.
Oduya would provide the Isles defense with experience and leadership, but he has a limited no-trade clause and could refuse a trade to Long Island. Leddy doesn't have Oduya's experience, but he lacks a trade clause.
JOHANSEN A TOUGH FIT OUTSIDE OF COLUMBUS
Contract negotiations between Ryan Johansen and the Columbus Blue Jackets remain stalled with no indication of a resolution before the start of the season. The standoff is generating some speculation among Internet rumormongers about a possible trade or offer sheet.
Johansen is undoubtedly a tempting target for an offer sheet. It also wouldn't be surprising if the Blue Jackets have received calls from rival clubs interested in swinging a trade for the promising young center.
But, as the New York Post's Larry Brooks observes, Johansen has no market value because none exists outside Columbus. Brooks believes no team with cap space will send the center an offer sheet, especially when part of the compensation is a first-round pick in 2015, the same draft in which Connor McDavid is the top prospect.
It appears the only leverage Johansen has is to continue holding out through the start of the season and hope a poor start by the Blue Jackets will force management to meet his asking price.
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 Bleacher Report, Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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