James O'Brien

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22:  Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning attends the 2016 NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty

Sounds like there’s at least a chance Lightning might trade Bishop

8 Comments

The Anaheim Ducks decided that two good goalies made a crowd, sending Frederik Andersen to Toronto. Could the Tampa Bay Lightning follow a similar path with Ben Bishop?

That’s certainly not a sure thing, but Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told reporters including ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that he has had some conversations with goalie-hungry teams about possibly moving the big goalie.

Such an event could happen soon, too, since a 2016 first-round pick could be part of an attractive deal for Bishop.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith passes along an especially interesting quote that puts Bishop on trade watch.

Well, isn’t that interesting.

The threat of losing a goalie to a Las Vegas expansion team isn’t the only reason to split up Bishop from Andrei Vasilevskiy. Bishop carries almost a $6 million cap hit that expires after 2016-17, so moving him could save money this summer and avoid a possible raise for his next contract.

Naturally, the downside is that Bishop has been a rock for the Lightning, serving as a Vezina finalist in 2013-14 and 2015-16. It’s true that Vasilevskiy boasts first-round pedigree and was impressive during the postseason, yet Bishop’s list of accomplishments keeps growing.

And, if anything, we’ve seen plenty of examples of teams benefiting from having two strong goalies in case one gets injured.

Cap realities and that expansion threat loom large for the Lightning, as Tampa Bay could face challenges even if Steven Stamkos leaves town. Victor Hedman is in line for a big raise, and that’s just the biggest harbinger of a costly future.

In other words, place Bishop high on the list of valuable players to watch in the trade rumor mill.

Bergevin: Habs aren’t shopping Subban, but they’re getting trade calls

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21:  P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens speaks with the media during a press availability on June 21, 2016 at the Encore Ballroom in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2016 NHL Award Ceremony will by held on June 22 at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty
7 Comments

Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin downplayed the swirling rumors about a possible P.K. Subban trade, although some wonder if he’s still leaving the door open just a bit.

Bergevin said that he isn’t shopping Subban, yet he is receiving phone calls inquiring about the star defenseman.

NHL GMs are prone to playing coy, so maybe the most important bit of phrasing is that Bergevin doesn’t think a Subban trade would be “realistic.”

For some, it’s not quite enough, as on one hand there’s phrasing that seems dismissive:

… Yet there are nagging phrases such as “never say never.”

For some observers, any GM would be silly not to listen to offers or “take calls.”

Others wonder if Bergevin could do more to really put the rumors to rest, however:

Bergevin’s press conference cools down that hot stove to “warm,” but it probably doesn’t turn off the Subban talk altogether.

Montreal’s franchise blueliner will see a no-trade clause kick in on July 1, so it’s possible that rumors will continue to trickle in for the next week-and-change.

Maybe they’ll slow down merely by process of elimination?

Report: Eriksson, Bruins aren’t close to deal, will try once more

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 28:  Loui Eriksson #21 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning  at TD Garden on February 28, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Getty
9 Comments

The Boston Bruins and Loui Eriksson aren’t close to a new deal, so the forward is expected to hit the free agent market, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

Lavoie reports that the Bruins and Eriksson can’t see eye-to-eye on the length of the contract.

A few days ago, Eriksson’s agent admitted that he was still waiting on a new offer from the Bruins. It looks like the two sides are far apart, whether an updated proposal came or not.

The 30-year-old forward would likely draw considerable interest as an unrestricted free agent, with teams like the Vancouver Canucks reportedly interested.

Concussion issues were a key component in Eriksson’s early struggles with Boston, limiting him to 61 games played in 2013-14. He really came into his own with the Bruins in 2015-16, generating 30 goals and 63 points.

That production and Boston’s hopeful drive toward a playoff spot forced Bruins management to be picky about a potential trade, and nothing worked out.

Whether fans feel like it was a mistake in keeping him through the trade deadline or not, it sounds like Eriksson’s time with the Bruins will soon come to an end.

The B’s, for their part, seem more concerned about bolstering their defense.

GM Don Sweeney will speak with the media shortly, so PHT will note if anything changes (or if he confirms that Eriksson will become a UFA).

Update: The Bruins will give it another try, for what it’s worth:

In other free agent news:

P.K. Subban trade rumors are going pretty wild right now

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21:  P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens speaks with the media during a press availability on June 21, 2016 at the Encore Ballroom in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2016 NHL Award Ceremony will by held on June 22 at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty
9 Comments

Prepare your grains of salt, rumor fans: there are a lot of murmurs about teams trying to trade for P.K. Subban, with the Edmonton Oilers being mentioned most often in the latest wave of speculation.

The Edmonton Journal is really revving up the talk, in part because Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin maybe hasn’t stomped out rumors emphatically enough?

Again, Bergevin could have come right out and said Subban is untouchable because he’s a No. 1 defenceman and there are so few of them, but the GM hasn’t done that. So the door is open, at least a crack, for the Oilers to keep trying to acquire the former Norris Trophy winner.

That’s not the only place where the argument seems to be that “the silence is deafening.”

TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun go into detail about Subban rumors in Insider Trading, noting that possible deals with high draft picks kick up the intensity of talks even more.

This isn’t just about generating rumors around draft time. Subban’s no-trade clause kicks in on July 1, so if teams want to make a push for P.K., this is indeed the moment to do so.

As usual, hypothetical trades are being thrown around, too:

Blame it on the rabid hockey market or any other number of factors, but things often seem a little weird with P.K. in Montreal. Even his massive charitable donations seem to birth some strange moments.

The Oilers really climbed up the rumor mill ranks, yet other trade-hungry teams have been mentioned too.

It’s tough to believe that the Habs would actually move P.K., and it sounds like Bergevin will shed some light on the situation in short order:

Let’s be clear: it’s very hard to believe that the Canadiens would trade Subban. These rumblings only add credence to the feeling that this could be an awfully interesting off-season and that draft weekend could continue to provide fascinating fodder.

Hey, Evgeni Malkin‘s name was out there – only for the Penguins to flatly deny rumors – so it’s an odd time. At least this isn’t boring …

Related: Edmonton’s blueline search is on

Blue Jackets sign William Karlsson, need time for Seth Jones deal

CALGARY, AB - FEBRUARY 5: William Karlsson #25 of the Columbus Blue Jackets in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on February 5, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Getty
2 Comments

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed would-be RFA William Karlsson to a two-year contract on Thursday.

While the team didn’t explicitly state that it’s a $2 million deal in their release, they re-tweeted Rob Mixer of their website stating that it’s worth $1 million for each of the next two seasons.

The Swede generated 20 points in 81 games during 2015-16, his first full season with the Blue Jackets. As the 53rd pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, there’s some potential for growth going forward.

Really, though, it’s all an excuse to watch this strangely transfixing GIF:

In less positive news, the Blue Jackets aren’t quite there yet with Seth Jones: