Rumor Roundup: Canucks GM criticized for holding on to Hamhuis
In the aftermath of one of the worst NHL trade deadline in years, much of the focus wasn’t on the players who were dealt, but those who weren’t. Boston Bruins right winger Loui Eriksson, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis and Tampa Bay Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin were among the biggest names believed available leading up to deadline day. However, all remain with their current clubs for at least the remainder of this season.
Canucks GM Jim Benning was roundly criticized by Vancouver pundits and fans for failing to move the 33-year-old Hamhuis at the deadline. His efforts weren’t helped by the blueliner’s no-trade clause, which he was only willing to waive for a handful of teams like Chicago and Dallas.
The Vancouver Province’s Ed Willes cites a highly-placed Dallas Stars source claiming his club had a deal in place with the Canucks for Hamhuis. The source also said their offer was somewhat similar to the one they eventually sent to the Calgary Flames for blueliner Kris Russell, but it fell through because Canucks ownership wanted more.
Willes reports Jim Benning denied the story, claiming they were working on the framework of a deal when the Stars opted instead for Russell. Whatever the reason, the fact they didn’t move Hamhuis for something at the deadline provides more ammunition for Benning’s growing chorus of critics.
In Eriksson’s case, the Bruins simply weren’t able to get a suitable return. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claims the asking price was “at least a first-rounder and another strong player/prospect.” CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports GM Don Sweeney was never offered the young top-four defenseman he was believed seeking for the 30-year-old winger, who’s eligible in July for unrestricted free agency.
Retaining Eriksson, who’s among the Bruins’ top forwards, certainly helps their chances of clinching a playoff berth this season. However, that’s cold comfort if he opts to test the UFA market.
The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa believes Sweeney will continue his hunt for that elusive young blueliner near the NHL draft in June. He points out the Bruins have two first-round picks in this year’s draft and depth in prospects to draw upon as trade bait.
As for Drouin, the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith reports a number of teams were interested in the suspended 20-year-old winger. Among them were the Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks, Canucks, Minnesota Wild and Montreal Canadiens. Ultimately, GM Steve Yzerman didn’t receive an offer he felt worthy enough to move Drouin.
It’s believed Yzerman seeks draft picks and prospects for Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft. He’ll likely have better luck finding the right deal during the off-season, perhaps around this year’s draft In Buffalo. He could still trade Drouin after the deadline, but it means the youngster will be ineligible for the playoffs.
Yzerman also claims the door remains open for Drouin to return with the Lightning’s AHL farm team this season. However, TSN’s Frank Seravalli is doubtful about that possibility.
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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