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NHL Trade Rumors and Free Agency: Are the Latest Rumors Fact or Fiction?

Mark JonesSenior Analyst IOctober 25, 2016

NHL Trade Rumors and Free Agency: Are the Latest Rumors Fact or Fiction?

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    For the last NHL teams still negotiating trades and deals, it's become a shady venture.

    After all, the elephant in the room—the soon-to-expire Collective Bargaining Agreement—casts a pretty large shadow.

    However, the typical trade talk and free-agency discussion hasn't been completely exterminated yet, and that means the occasional rumor is still seeping out from behind closed doors.

    Shane Doan remains unsigned. Keith Yandle, Bobby Ryan and Roberto Luongo remain undealt. And, of course, the salary cap remains iffy—meaning that some of the highest-paid teams (Boston, Minnesota and Vancouver all fall within $2.5 million of the cap) could soon have some scrambling to do.

    How are the final hockey-related rumors shaping up, and exactly how legitimate are they? We break down four of the most crucial on the coming slides.

Speculation: Roberto Luongo Talks Have Fallen Through

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    The Vancouver goaltending merry-go-round has fallen oddly quiet.

    Veteran playoff-choker Roberto Luongo, supposedly off-key entirely with the Canucks organization and merely days away from a trade, has retreated back into his cave. The rumors have stopped flying. The Twitter buzz has fizzled to a whisper. GM Mike Gillis has turned his mind entirely onto other things.

    Bleacher Report's Riley Kufta offers a potential explanation for the lessening trade interest:

    Take [Toronto GM] Brian Burke for example. He is likely in a situation where if the...Leafs miss the playoffs, he could lose his job. They are in desperate need of a starting goalie, and Luongo could be the best candidate to fill that gap. 

    But if there is no season, then there's no pressure. Brian Burke could hang tight and wait until next season. And with a UFA pool including Kari Lehtonen, Niklas Backstrom, Mike Smith and Jimmy Howard [in 2013], he could have the opportunity to fill the gap at a better price.

    After all, the site MyNHLTradeRumors.com, which compiles excerpts from legitimate sources into brief daily updates, posted the word "Luongo" 22 times between July 26 and August 7.

    From August 8 until today, it's been mentioned twice.

    It appears the CBA has shut down the Vancouver pipelines completely for the time being. Our ruling on this rumor?

    Verdict: Fact

    But, of course, that doesn't stop the endless Luongo-centered meddling:

    Playing NHL '12 on Superstar mode, and @pecks24 blows a slapper clear by Luongo.Game is more realistic than I originally thought.

    — Jeff Chapman (@OilOnWhyte) August 16, 2012

Rumor: Red Wings Close to Landing Keith Yandle

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    A recent report by Gregg Krupa of the Detroit Free Press dismissed the possibility of the Wings acquiring Jay Bouwmeester, but practically put the nail in the coffin of a Keith Yandle-to-Detroit trade:

    As much as the Red Wings need help, it is doubtful they would trade prized scoring and playmaking, a developing young defenseman and more, for Bouwmeester.

    A far more attractive acquisition through a big trade is Keith Yandle, the young mainstay for the Coyotes, who is signed through 2016. Yandle combines developing defensive skills with advanced scoring and playmaking abilities, and he clearly is among the top young defensemen in the NHL.

    Krupa went on to specifically state, "The Red Wings have inquired about Yandle," setting loose a flurry of hopeful wishes from around the state of Michigan.

    On the other hand, though, inquiring is a lot different than negotiating. Heck, the Blue Jackets "inquired" about Jeff Skinner and Logan Couture back in the Rick Nash trade talks. Did they get them? Of course not.

    Further, Phoenix doesn't really have much to lose if they hold onto him.

    There's a very decent chance that, if the next CBA goes unfavorably from their standpoint, the franchise could be dismantled by Christmastime. Plus, they've already lost Ray Whitney, Taylor Pyatt, Daymond Langkow, Michal Rozsival and potentially Shane Doan to free agency or another team. Why not hold on to their few remaining assets and simply pray to be spared?

    Yandle is nowhere close to being traded.

    Verdict: Fiction

Speculation: Shane Doan Will Soon Sign with Phoenix

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    For over seven weeks now, Shane Doan has entertained offers from around the league.

    He's received proposals from at least 11 teams. He's hopped around the country, visiting Vancouver, Philadelphia and New York. He's received a four-year, $7 million contract from somewhere outside of the Big Apple, and, possibly, from the Rangers as well.

    But if he was really going to sign elsewhere, he surely would've done it by now. Since shunning all the interest surrounding him in mid-July, that's been a popular theory, and it's certainly reasonable.

    InsidePittsburghSports.com is the latest site to put it forth, writing "[The] word out of Doan's camp...[is that] Doan is getting close to 'putting pen on the paper' with a particular team...widely believed to be the Phoenix Coyotes."

    But that was August 9, now 12 days ago. Nothing has happened since then. And, in all reality, nothing happened in the 40 days of free agency before then, either.

    Doan's situation remains unsolved and uncertain until it can truly be proven otherwise. As we approach the two-month mark of this saga, there's no other explanation that makes sense.

    Verdict: Fiction

Rumor: After Injuries, Flyers Looking at RFA Defensemen

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    The Philadelphia Flyers defense has taken a beating this summer.

    After signed RFA Shea Weber was stolen back by the Nashville Predators, Andrej Meszaros and Andreas Lilja have gone down with serious injuries.

    Matt Carle and Pavel Kubina were each lost to free agency, too, creating a mess of a "D" in Philly. Players as lowly as Bruno Gervais, Matt Walker and Danny Syvret are now slotted for starting jobs come opening day.

    Now, just as they did with Weber a month ago, the Flyers may be turning towards the list of other top-tier RFA blueliners to fill their gaps. Per the somewhat questionable but nonetheless intriguing source of @HockeyyInsiderr, Capitals rearguard John Carlson may be the best target:

    According to a previous report, #Flyers did contact @pksubban1 who turned away any negotiations as he will NOT sign any offer sheet.

    — Hockeyy Insiderr (@HockeyyInsiderr) August 21, 2012

    However according to a Philly source the #Flyers are now turning their attention towards #Caps RFA Carlson.Holmgren could be preparing an OS

    — Hockeyy Insiderr (@HockeyyInsiderr) August 21, 2012

    Carlson, 22, was the Caps' first-round pick in 2008 and played his second full season in 2011-12, registering a career-high nine goals and 32 points. He's yet to miss a single game to injury in 186 career NHL appearances, and would bring lots of consistency to the Flyers' ailing back end.

    This rumor is just starting to gain steam, but we wouldn't be surprised to see Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren make a serious push for Carlson—he does have an emerging love affair with out-of-town RFAs.  

    Verdict: Fact

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