NHL Rumor Mill – February 15, 2017
Latest on Alex Galchenyuk, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Brian Boyle & more in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman believes Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could face a difficult decision regarding Alex Galchenyuk. The young center is a restricted free agent this summer and two year away from unrestricted free agency. Many of his peers are pulling in $6-$7 million annually and Galchenyuk could be in line for the same.
With Bergevin hoping to re-sign Alexander Radulov this year and with Carey Price and Max Pacioretty due down the road, Friedman wonders if Bergevin would consider adding a more affordable Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (two more years at $6 million per) rather that inking Galchenyuk to a lengthier, possible more expensive deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman is clear that this is simply his opinion and not something he’s heard from sources. It’s an interesting possibility. While I think Habs GM Marc Bergevin’s biggest move leading up to the deadline could be replacing Michel Therrien as head coach yesterday with Claude Julien, speculation has him interested in Duchene.
Should Bergevin pull the trigger on a Galchenyuk-for-Duchene swap, however, I think that takes place in the summer, not at the trade deadline. While the Habs would have the cap space a the deadline (over $5 million) to make this move (as they’d also be moving Galchenyuk’s $2.8 million cap hit), I still think Bergevin would prefer to see how much cap room he’ll have for next season.
Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray has told interested teams he’s in no hurry to trade a defenseman. It’s possible he could wait until after the playoffs to do so. Murray could also try to re-sign Cam Fowler this summer, when he’ll be a year away from UFA status.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray could find a suitable rental forward by the deadline without having to part with one of his young defensemen right now.
Friedman touched upon colleague Nick Kypreos saying last Sunday suggesting the possibility the Pittsburgh Penguins could pursue Matt Duchene. Friedman also feels Duchene’s teammate Gabriel Landeskog could also be a good fit there. Noting Kypreos suggested Penguins defenseman Derrick Pouliot as potential trade bait for a Colorado trade, Friedman feels a better option is Olli Maatta.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford has made blockbuster moves before, notably his acquisition of Phil Kessel in 2015. However, that deal took place in the offseason when Rutherford knew how much cap room he had to work with for the ’15-’16 campaign. Acquiring Duchene or Landeskog could be a more difficult in-season deal to make.
Noting the Ottawa Senators interest in Duchene, Friedman wonders how they could afford to re-sign center Kyle Turris if they pull this off.
Friedaman also notes Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman doesn’t anticipate making any significant moves at the trade deadline. Bowman said his club is much more comfortable with younger forwards such as Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz, Vinnie Hinostroza and Tanner Kero. None of them are getting traded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like most observers, I don’t rule out the possibility of Bowman swinging a deal by the deadline, but it will likely be a minor one. He doesn’t want to part with young roster players and I doubt he’s keen to move his first-round pick when his club is hosting the 2017 NHL Draft in June.
Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta prefers not to be traded and would like to stay with the club. He has a five-team list of possible trade destinations. Friedman feels it’ll be interesting to see what kind of interest the Sabres get in pending UFA defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who missed a good portion of this season with a back injury.
The Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets could be suitors for Tampa Bay Lightning center Brian Boyle. Given this year’s draft isn’t a deep one, Friedman cites a league executive claiming teams are willing to trade their first-rounders. Boyle might fetch such a pick for the Lightning. The Oilers, however, could keep theirs as they must give up their second-rounder to Boston as compensation for hiring GM Peter Chiarelli.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarelli yesterday shot down speculation he was in the market for playoff rentals. He believes in his team, but doesn’t feel they’re ready yet to become Stanley Cup contenders. We’ll see, of course, if he sticks to his word. Perhaps a sweet rental offer too good to pass up could come his way.
The recent improvement of St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund could increase his value in the trade market. It could also increase his value to the Blues.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland is working the phones as a potential seller for the first time during his nearly 20 years in the job. Khan claims if the Wings sell it’ll only pending UFAs such as Thomas Vanek, Brendan Smith and Steve Ott. Vanek could have the most value, potentially fetching “a second-round pick or some combination of picks and a prospect.” If the Wings attempt to move players under contract this season (such as Gustav Nyquist) or a restricted free agent (such as Tomas Tatar), those deals could happen in the offseason.