Hello and welcome to another Monday edition of NHL rumours! The offseason approaches with every passing day. Teams are busy preparing for the draft, targeting free agents, or filling personnel holes. Last Word on Hockey will bring the best news and analysis each day as events happen. Today’s NHL rumours feature the Minnesota Wild, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Vancouver Canucks.
Rumour: A recent episode of the Russo Hockey Show indicated that Matt Dumba could be shopped this offseason.
Analysis: Trading Dumba would be an extreme move. He is one of the team’s most talented defenders who is also young with a reasonable contract. He had a down year for offence but there is plenty of potential for Dumba to increase his role even more going into 2020-21.
However, Minnesota has one of the deepest defensive groups in the league. Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon are capable of anchoring the power play and offence. They also have Jonas Brodin leading the penalty kill unit. Trading Dumba would add an impact piece to the Wild’s roster without sacrificing too much of its current ceiling. The team could easily add blueline prospect, Calen Addison, to the 2020-21 roster after a great campaign where he scored 10 goals and 52 points in 50 games for Lethbridge in the WHL.
It’s hard to imagine what Dumba would fetch but several teams could use another right-handed defender. The Toronto Maple Leafs would be one of the strongest trade partners for Dumba’s services. The Leafs are looking at a significant blue line rebuild for next season and could use Dumba’s ability to play both directions. In return, Minnesota could seek help at the centre position. Someone like Alexander Kerfoot could excel in Minnesota’s system with its current crop of wings along with several other pieces. Dumba wouldn’t be a cheap acquisition but he would be one of the most talented defenders on the trade market this offseason.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: Joe Smith of The Athletic recently had a mailbag where he explored Kevin Shattenkirk‘s future with the organization.
Analysis: Shattenkirk has been a pleasant addition for the Lightning in 2020-21. The 31-year-old had a quiet exit from the New York Rangers but found new life with Tampa. He scored eight goals and 34 points in 70 games. That was his highest output since 2016-17 when he scored 13 goals and 56 points in 80 games.
The problem is that Tampa has several decisions to make on its blue line for next season. They have four unrestricted free agents including Shattenkirk and two restricted. One of the restricted free agents is outstanding youngster Mikhail Sergachev. That wouldn’t be an issue if the salary cap was increasing but a flat cap of $81.5 million makes things more challenging. The team already has $76.16 million committed for 2020-21 unless they start trading people under contract.
Keeping Shattenkirk would be a smart decision but it would mean that someone like Zach Bogosian or Luke Schenn is not retained. Tampa Bay could also decline to re-sign any of its veteran free agent candidates in favour of top prospect Cal Foote. Shattenkirk has been an ideal fit but the Lightning will have to make some uncomfortable decisions if they want to maintain some salary flexibility for next season.
Rumour: Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic and TSN 1040 indicated that he believes Canucks coach Travis Green will receive a contract extension this offseason.
I see a Travis Green contract extension this off-season.
Just just like the young core, he got better.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) September 5, 2020
Analysis: This would be an outstanding move for Vancouver. Green did a fine job guiding the team to a 36-27-6 regular season but they shined in the playoffs. The Canucks adapted to three strong defensive teams in Minnesota, the St. Louis Blues and Vegas Golden Knights and won the first of the two series. They also pushed a more experienced Vegas squad to a full seven games before falling late. It’s not hard to imagine a world where Vancouver maintains its core next year with a deeper postseason run.
Green helped shape a roster with multiple young stars and several established veterans into a force that nearly took down the Golden Knights in the postseason. He was able to adapt to Vegas’s gritty style and put players like Elias Pettersson into advantageous scoring situations. He led a team that was down three games to one almost back and forced a game seven. There is no need to change coaches when Vancouver is on the upswing on its competition curve.
Green has only been the coach for three seasons but the team has improved each year under his leadership. The accumulated 73 points in 2017-18 and 81 points in 2018-19. They only had 78 points in 2019-20 but would have had more if the regular season hadn’t ended prematurely. Green’s experience as a player and assistant has been a boost for a young Vancouver team that should be a serious threat in the Pacific Division next year.
That does it for the Monday edition please stay tuned for our Tuesday edition of NHL Rumours.
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