It appears that Jets forward Jack Roslovic isn’t the only player that Winnipeg has made available in trade talks. Murat Ates of The Athletic reports (subscription link) that that RFA defenseman Sami Niku is also being shopped around the league. The 24-year-old has been dominant offensively in the past in the minors but that hasn’t resulted in much of a consistent NHL opportunity as of yet.
Last season, Niku played in 17 games with Winnipeg, recording five assists while averaging over 16 minutes a night. However, the Jets often made him a healthy scratch as well. He also got into 18 games with AHL Manitoba, picking up three goals and 11 helpers. There is some intriguing upside with Niku but it’s also telling that he didn’t get more of an opportunity despite all of their injuries. There should be some interest but given his limited chances so far, his inclusion in a package with Roslovic may not move the needle much.
Other free agent notes from around the NHL:
- Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters, including NHL.com’s Brian Compton (Twitter link) that veteran there is a “strong chance” that veteran UFA defenseman Andy Greene will return. New York acquired the 37-year-old from New Jersey back in February but instead of using him as a top-four blueliner like he had been previously, Greene was deployed in more limited minutes. After making $5MM per season for the last five years, it’s safe to suggest that he’ll be taking a significant pay cut to stick around.
- UFA forward Mikael Granlund is in the process of trimming down his list, notes Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch (Twitter link). The 28-year-old had 30 points in 63 games with Nashville last season, the lowest full-year point total of his career. He had 69 points in 2016-17 and followed it up with 67 a year later so the upside is certainly there which is why he was voted as the eighth-best UFA on our Top-50 list. While he can play down the middle, Hedger notes that most suitors view him as a winger.
- Colorado is working on a two-year bridge deal for RFA center Tyson Jost, relays Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now (via Twitter). The Avalanche drafted the 22-year-old tenth overall in 2016 but he has yet to become a productive player in the NHL. Jost had eight goals and 15 assists in 67 games last season and has been between 22 and 26 points in each of his three full NHL campaigns. Between that and Colorado’s pending stars needing new deals, a short-term pact to keep the AAV low makes a lot of sense.