Rumor Roundup: Ducks' struggles could lead to coaching change, or trades
Frederik Andersen (Getty Images)
After coming to within one game of reaching the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, the Anaheim Ducks are off to one of their worst starts in franchise history. With a record of 1-5-2 following a 1-0 loss on Monday to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Ducks managed only six goals in those eight games. During that stretch, usually reliable scoring stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry combined for only two assists.
As the Ducks’ struggles continue, there’s growing speculation head coach Bruce Boudreau is in danger of losing his job. Trade rumors have also sprung up. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, speaking with Edmonton’s 630 CHED radio on Friday, raised the possibility of Ducks GM Bob Murray shopping goaltender Frederik Andersen.
Friedman believes they have to give promising John Gibson playing time at some point. Unlike Gibson, Andersen isn’t under a long-term contract. The 26-year-old netminder becomes a restricted free agent in July with arbitration rights. He’ll undoubtedly seek a substantial raise over his current $1.3 million salary.
Following the loss to the Blackhawks, Andersen was winless in six games. However, he also posted up a .940 save percentage and 1.71 goals-against average. Clearly, he’s not the reason behind the Ducks’ slump.
While there are undoubtedly teams with goaltending issues who’d love to land Andersen (hello there, Calgary Flames), trading him would be an extreme measure by the Ducks this early in the season. A coaching change seems a more likely course of action.
The recent speculation linking Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos to the Calgary Flames serves as a reminder of his uncertain future. While Lightning GM Steve Yzerman claimed last June that re-signing the 25-year-old Stamkos was his top priority, the expense of doing so could have long-term repercussions for their payroll.
One reason behind the delay could be due to Yzerman attempting to clear salary-cap room for Stamkos’ hefty raise. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Lightning GM is believed to be shopping defenseman Matt Carle, who carries a $5.5-million annual cap hit through 2017-18.
Carle had no points through his first nine games, but ranked second among Lightning defenders in blocked shots and fourth in average ice time (18:12). His cap hit is difficult to move at this point in the season, while his modified no-trade clause limits potential trade destinations.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins are reportedly in the market for a top-four defenseman. Given their limited cap space, however, Carle is beyond their price range. The Lightning must either take back a salaried player or absorb part of Carle’s cap hit, which defeats the purpose of moving him in the first place.
Speaking of the Bruins, their 0-3-0 record in the first week of this season stirred up rumors claiming they were gauging the trade value of key players like defenseman Zdeno Chara and pesky winger Brad Marchand. But after going 3-0-1 during their latest road trip, the speculation has subsided.
Management had been silent about the Chara and Marchand rumor chatter. However, team president Cam Neely recently told a Boston radio station there’s no truth to the speculation.
Trading the 39-year-old Chara, who has two more season remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $6.917 million, is a pipe dream during the season. Even if the Bruins were trying to move him and found a club willing to take on his cap hit, the big blueliner carries a full no-movement clause.
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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