The Boston Bruins signing unrestricted free agent center Dominic Moore to a one-year, $900K contract raised some eyebrows in the local media. Citing the club's depth at center, Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy considers it an odd move.
In addition to Moore, Conroy points out the Bruins also have Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, David Backes, Ryan Spooner and Noel Acciari at the center position. He observes they could shift Backes or Spooner to the wing, and wonders if they have confidence in Acciari.
Conroy also notes GM Don Sweeney's search this summer for a top-four defenseman. He suggests Spooner's upside and affordable $950K salary could make the 24-year-old an attractive trade chip.
While Spooner enjoyed a 49-point performance last season, Sweeney might have to package him with a draft pick or prospect to land a transitional blueliner. Given his youth and versatility, Sweeney could prefer retaining him. Spooner and David Pastrnak are the only Bruins forwards under 26.
Sweeney will likely head into training camp with his current roster and evaluate their performance before deciding what to do about finding that elusive top-four defenseman. Perhaps he'll consider parting with Spooner in a package deal if a good young blueliner, such as the Anaheim Ducks' Cam Fowler, becomes available before the start of the season.
The Dallas Stars could end up moving a depth defenseman at some point this season. In a recent live chat with his readers, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News suggests Jamie Oleksiak or Patrik Nemeth as possible trade options if the Stars promote Julius Honka. He doesn't believe the Stars want to part with the 20-year-old Honka, who's put in two solid seasons in the AHL.
Asked if the Stars could pursue St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, Heika doesn't see them going that route. He feels the Stars have to put their trust in their young blueliners at some point.
Goaltending remains a hot-button issue for Stars followers. The current tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi backstopped the club into the 2016 playoffs, but both struggled as the Stars were bounced in the second round by the Blues.
Should they pursue an upgrade between the pipes later this season, Heika speculates teams with goalies to spare could ask for a young forward such as Valeri Nichushkin, Brett Ritchie or Jason Dickinson.
Nichushkin has more NHL action under his belt than Ritchie and Dickinson. However, the 20-year-old winger missed most of 2014-15 to hip surgery and struggled through 79 games last season.
With the World Cup of Hockey and the start of NHL training camps fast approaching, the Arizona Coyotes remain stuck in a contract impasse with restricted free agent left winger Tobias Rieder. Arizona Sports' Craig Morgan reports the 23 year old has taken out extra insurance in order to participate in the World Cup tournament this month.
The two sides are apparently agreeable regarding a two-year term, but dollars are the sticking point. Rieder's camp seeks $2.75-million annually, while the Coyotes countered with between $2.2-$2.3 million.
Rieder's status has generated speculation the Coyotes could put him on the trade block. Morgan, however, cites league sources claiming there's no chance they'll trade him. Rieder faces either re-signing with the 'Yotes, playing in Europe or skipping the season. Given those options, he'll likely ink a new deal with the Coyotes before the end of this month.
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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