In today’s rumor rundown we look at the difficulty Slava Voynov faces just waltzing back into the NHL, how many and which teams might have interest in Ilya Kovalchuk, which team is pushing hard after Cane’s blueliner Noah Hanifin, which surprising team has interest in Justin Faulk and whether or not fans should really believe P.K. Subban is going to be traded.
Slava Voynov Might Have Trouble Getting Signed
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has reported that Slava Voynov can apply to get a U.S. work visa anytime after July 2nd but it doesn’t mean he’s going to get scooped up by a team in the NHL. Not only has Voynov not played in the NHL since 2014 and the game has dramatically changed but teams might be hesitant to sign someone who plead “no-contest” to the charge of corporal injury to a spouse. Voynov spent two months in prison for that charge and was deported from the U.S. to Russia.
First, Voynov has a hearing on July 2nd to get his ‘no-contest plea’ removed, then he has to be part of a transaction from the Kings side of things because the club still hold his rights. Finally, he needs to convince a team that he’s more valuable than the heat he’s likely to bring by signing or acquiring him. At the very least, he could face a suspension from the NHL which any team that picks him up has to be prepared for.
There is a long road ahead for Voynov to get back into the NHL.
David Poile Trying to Shut Down P.K. Subban Rumors
Somehow P.K. Subban is always the subject of trade rumors. He’s a stud defenseman but his name pops up continually due to his high price tag and larger-than-life personality. The Preds fell short of their expectations this season and with some big contracts coming due, there is speculation that Subban is potentially on the trade block again.
GM David Poile spoke with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun (subscription required), and explained that he doesn’t understand where these rumors are coming from and that they’re frankly, silly. He said:
You see tweets from different places, but, that’s not happening. Nobody has even called me about him. P.K. played terrific this year. He played really well. He’s a really good player. He’s one of the three candidates for the Norris Trophy. I really don’t know where this comes from.
via David Poile’s interview with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic
But, a GM talking great things about a player before trading him isn’t new. In fact, it’s already happened with Subban who Montreal GM Marc Bergevin said he wouldn’t trade and then did for Shea Weber just days later. Certainly, Poile and Bergevin are different GM’s, but insiders are not overlooking the fact that Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi are going to be expensive and both may be considered more valuable long-term than Subban.
Based on what Poile said, however, don’t expect Subban to be traded this summer. Nashville will likely start the season with him in him in Predators uniform.
Justin Faulk to Chicago?
There are plenty of rumors about the Chicago Blackhawks but one interesting one is that they might be looking at upgrading their defense with a player like Justin Faulk. The 26-year-old right-handed shot defenseman could eat big minutes and quarterback a power play for the Hawks and potentially team with Duncan Keith. he’s got two years left on his contract and carries a cap hit of $4.83 million.
Suggestions are that the Blackhawks might have to move Brandon Saad to Carolina to make the deal work but that would open things up for more than just Faulk coming back the other way. There is speculation that Hawks are also interested in bringing back goalie Scott Darling.
Plenty of Teams in on Ilya Kovalchuk
The rumor mill is all over the status of forward Ilya Kovalchuk. Notes are that he visited the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks over the weekend and while there wasn’t news on a contract being offered or Kovalchuk accepting terms, there is some belief he might be leaning towards the Sharks because of coach Peter DeBoer.
The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers are also high on the list of contenders to land the 35-year old sniper, with the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks also in the conversation. Darren Dreger of TSN also believes that Detroit is pushing hard, and Craig Custance of The Athletic believes the Tampa Bay Lightning may be kicking tires if Kovalchuk is willing to sign a shorter-term deal.
Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston thinks the Bruins having interest in Kovalchuk and feels he could be a better option than Rick Nash while Jeremy Rutherford lists several reasons why Kovalchuk might make sense for the St. Louis Blues unless Kovalchuk wants an expensive and long-term deal for which the Blues would balk at.
Canucks Being Aggressive on Hanifin
NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman noted on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650, that the Canucks might be in heavy pursuit of Canes’ defenseman Noah Hanifin. He said:
“I do, I think there’s a possibility there. The one thing I have heard is that I think the Canucks were aggressive with what they were prepared to offer for Hanifin, but I don’t think they were prepared to offer the same thing for O’Reilly. And I’m assuming that means the seventh overall pick. I know there have been rumblings out there they offered the seventh overall pick for O’Reilly. From what I can gather, that is not true – that they did not offer it for him. But I do think there’s a chance. I really do.”
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”