NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2017
Updates on the Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Los Angeles Kings’ strong start to this season has quieted speculation suggesting they could draw upon their blueline depth for scoring punch. Thanks to bounce-back performances from Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown plus contributions from rookies Alex Iafello and Adrian Kempe, the Kings are now in the top-10 in goals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blueliners Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin were mentioned as possible Kings’ trade candidates. Given the club’s current performance, which is all the more notable with forward Jeff Carter currently sidelined, they have no reason to move a defenseman for more scoring.
LeBrun also reports the Columbus Blue Jackets remain in the market for a top-six forward, preferably a center. Defenseman Ryan Murray was mentioned in speculation linking the Jackets to Matt Duchene prior to his recent trade to Ottawa. LeBrun said that doesn’t mean they’re shopping Murray. However, the Jackets have depth on defense and are willing to move a blueliner to add a scorer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rule out Seth Jones and Zach Werenski as trade candidates as they’re obviously not moving. I expect they’ll also retain David Savard, who’s in the second season of a five-year, $21.2 million contract. Jack Johnson is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. If he and the Jackets can’t reach an agreement on a new contract, perhaps he’ll be shopped before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
NBC SPORTS: Joey Alfieri cites a recent report by TSN’s Bob McKenzie claiming Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett’s slow start has prompted some NHL general managers to inquire about his availability. While the Flames aren’t keen to part with Bennett, McKenzie said they aren’t hanging up on calls for the 21-year-old center.
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen wonders when the right time will be for the Flames to consider trading Bennett. He notes the problem with moving the youngster is establishing his value. Bennett still has plenty of upside and time to blossom into a quality player, but his current struggles means rival clubs are hoping to steal him away at a reduced rate. The longer his difficulties continue, the lower his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett’s situation could soon start to mirror that of former Edmonton Oilers winger Nail Yakupov, who was also a high draft pick who failed to pan out as expected. His value in the trade market plummeted. When the Oilers traded him to St. Louis last year, they got a prospect (Zach Pochiro) and a conditional third-round pick.
Right now, the Flames might get a serviceable player for Bennett, but as Boylen suggests, it could be a pending UFA that the Flames might be unable tor re-sign. Another scenario is swapping him for another struggling young player. Either way, the trade options aren’t that great right now.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports the injury-plagued Anaheim Ducks aren’t ruling out seeking help in the trade market. Center Matt Duchene was a target before he was traded to Ottawa. They also made a failed attempt to acquire center Vadim Shipachyov from the Vegas Golden Knights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With such notables as Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler, Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves on the shelf, the Ducks need to bolster their depth, especially at forward. However, rival clubs could target one of their young defensemen, such as Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Montour or Josh Manson. Sami Vatanen was frequently mentioned in last season’s trade rumor mill.