Recent reports suggested a trade of Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin could take place perhaps as early as this week. However, that might not be the case. TSN's Bob McKenzie reports the teams expressing interest in the 20-year-old winger don't get the sense that he'll be moved soon. McKenzie said the feeling is GM Steve Yzerman is either taking things slowly to ensure he gets the right deal, or he's focused on dealing with just one team.
Pierre LeBrun lists the St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild and Ottawa Senators among the interested clubs. He claims the Lightning and Senators had conversations, guessing the Bolts could target defenseman Cody Ceci. However, the Sens won't part with him.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman believes the Ducks could be worth watching. They need offense and can draw upon their blueline depth for trade bait. He also claims there's no truth to a rumor the Canadiens offered up “a roster player (not Alex Galchenyuk), a prospect (not Michael McCarron) and a conditional first rounder” for Drouin.
Friedman also points out Yzerman doesn't want to add to his current contract concerns. That explains why speculation linking Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to Drouin seems to be dying down.
Considering Drouin is still midway through an entry-level contract and holds no leverage in his trade request, Yzerman can afford to take his time evaluating offers. He has to handle this situation carefully. If he trades the young winger, he must ensure he gets a solid return.
SABRES WILL BE SELLERS
The Buffalo Sabres made modest progress in their rebuild this season. However, with the playoffs once again out of reach, they're expected to be sellers at this year's trade deadline.
LeBrun reports Sabres GM Tim Murray is once again interested in acquiring “younger assets or future assets” for some of his veterans, especially those with expiring contracts. Left wing Jamie McGinn, defenseman Mike Weber and goalie Chad Johnson could become trade candidates.
LeBrun also claims he's heard Murray could entertain offers for center Tyler Ennis. Unlike McGinn, Weber, and Johnson, the 26-year-old Ennis has three years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $4.6 million. It's also believed the Sabres have interest in Drouin, though LeBrun doesn't consider them among the front runners.
At 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Ennis isn't a big forward but he's effective, with three seasons exceeding 20 goals and 40 points. He also played well for Canada in their gold-medal performance at the 2015 World Championships.
Despite his contract, Ennis could attract attention from clubs in need of scoring depth. Injuries, however, have limited him to only 23 games this season. His trade value should improve once he returns to action.
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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