While early reports that quite a bit of interest has been directed towards John Tavares, another New York Islanders’ unrestricted free agent has garnered attention too. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports defenseman Calvin de Haan has received significant interest from upwards of 10 teams so far.
While Lou Lamoriello has made it clear that it is his mission to convince Tavares to stay with the Islanders, the team has two key defensive free agents to worry about as well, including de Haan and Thomas Hickey. De Haan, however, is an interesting situation as the blueliner has shown a lot of promise over the years since being drafted in the first round back in 2009, which includes some flashes of brilliance at times, but he’s never been able to put it all together in a full season for the Islanders. He did put up career highs in 2016-17 with five goals and 25 points and may well have been on his way to break that this year, but went down with a season-ending injury on Dec. 16. He posted one goal and 11 assists in 33 games.
Many teams feel that a change of scenery and the fact that the free agent is still just 27, would make him an ideal player who could become a quality top-four defenseman.
- The Athletic’s Craig Custance reports that unrestricted free agent goaltender Jonathan Bernier has indicated that he likes Colorado and would like to return to the Avalanche. However, after the team traded for Washington Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer Friday and the fact they still have Semyon Varlamov listed as their starter, that would cause an unusual logjam at the goaltending position. If Colorado would rather have a combination of Grubauer and Bernier, general manager Joe Sakic would have to make another roster move to rid himself of Varlamov, who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019. There would almost undoubtedly be a market for Varlamov if Sakic made him available. Bernier had moments of brilliance last season, but finished the year with a 2.85 GAA and a .913 save percentage in 37 games.
- Fox Sports Andy Strickland reports that their is mutual interest for veteran center Paul Stastny to return to the Winnipeg Jets. Stastny thrived in Winnipeg’s offense alongside Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers, but the expected cost of retaining Stastny, who is the No. 2 center on the unrestricted free agent market, is not in the team’s financial plans. Custance writes the Jets are looking for a way to keep Stastny, which would require them to move out a contract to make a deal like that work. The 32-year-old put up 16 goals and 53 points between St. Louis and Winnipeg last year.
- Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal writes that while former Vancouver Canucks forward Thomas Vanek has received some early interest from teams, the Canucks are not one of them. There had been some early talk that the team wanted to bring back the 34-year-old winger after they traded the veteran to Columbus at the trade deadline. The team liked the way he mentored the younger players. His 17 goals for Vancouver (24 total for the season) suggest he still has the ability to put the puck in the net.