NHL Insider Bob McKenzie outlined the dynamics of a potential offer sheet for restricted free agent Nikita Kucherov this week, but what if a general manager simply wanted to trade for the talented Tampa Bay Lightning forward? Are other general managers kicking the tires on his potential availability?
“Well, he won’t be available,” said a blunt McKenzie when asked on Montreal’s TSN 690 Wednesday morning. “Steve Yzerman is not, I don’t believe, going to make a conscious decision to trade him. Because I think of all of those guys, some of them that he signed recently like Killorn – we’ll keep Hedman out of the equation because he’s a lynchpin on defense – but when you’ve got all of those guys… Palat is up next year, Tyler Johnson is up next year, you’ve got Killorn. Let’s be honest. The guys that you would think Steve Yzerman would be most interested in moving are guys like Val Filppula and some of the other guys up front, not Kucherov.
“… I think if anybody called up and said to Steve Yzerman, ‘Hey, I’d like to talk to you about a Kucherov deal,’ he’s like, ‘Yeah, no thanks.’
“Maybe that alone might fuel an offer sheet if somebody really wanted him… although as we’ve seen time and time again, teams always match. Or almost always match.
“So we’ll see. I think other bodies are liable to fly out the door before Kucherov would. But again, the market for Val Filppula or players like that on the Tampa Bay Lightning is not nearly as strong as it would be for Kucherov. But Yzerman doesn’t want to get rid of Kucherov. He wants to get a deal done with him.”
Source: TSN 690/ Transcript: Nichols