NHL Rumor Mill – November 11, 2017
Updates on Patric Hornqvist, Alex Galchenyuk plus latest on the San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes in your NHL rumor mill.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Sam Werner was asked if this season could be the last for forward Patric Hornqvist with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hornqvist, 30, is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July and Werner speculates the Pens could have difficulty re-signing him.
Hornqvist’s gritty style and offensive consistency will create a strong market for him and the Pens will have limited cap space to re-sign him. Still, Werner doesn’t rule out the possibility GM Jim Rutherford could find a way to keep Hornqvist in the fold.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have over $60 million tied up in 14 players for 2017-18. Fortunately, Hornqvist is their most notable free agent next summer. The rest, including Bryan Rust, Ian Cole, Tom Kuhnhackel and Riley Sheahan, should be affordable re-signings. Given Hornqvist’s age and style of play, the sticking point could be the length of the deal. Rutherford could be unwilling to commit beyond four years.
THE ATHLETIC: In his Friday mailbag, Craig Custance was asked who’s the next big player to be dealt now that Matt Duchene’s been traded. While the logical choice would be New York Islanders center John Tavares, the Isles are looking better than expected this season and there’s a sense Tavares will “give that team every opportunity to prove to him it’s worth sticking around.” Custance instead chooses Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk if his recent improvement bolsters his trade value.
Custance also doesn’t expect the Arizona Coyotes to move veteran defensemen Alex Goligoski and Niklas Hjalmarsson, He cites a recent interview with Coyotes general manager John Chayka, who said moving those two would “risk exposing the young defensemen in Arizona and stunting their development.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin saying he wasn’t giving up on Galchenyuk, the trade rumors about the young winger won’t go away. If Bergevin can get a return that helps his club right away I believe he’d go for it. Problem is, he’s not going to get that kind of offer right now, if at all.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz said he believes several teams are interested in San Jose Sharks center Chris Tierney but doesn’t them trading him. Kurz points out it makes little sense to move Tierney as they have few young centermen who can play at the NHL level. He acknowledged many Sharks fans want to see under-performing winger Mikkel Boedker shipped out but his contract makes such a move unrealistic.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boedker lacks no-trade protection but he carries a $4 million annual cap hit through 2019-20. Given his low production (only six points in 14 games this season) the Sharks won’t find many takers for him unless they’re willing to absorb a big chunk of that cap hit.
NEWSDAY: In his latest mailbag, Arthur Staple was asked what area he felt the New York Islanders needed a upgrade. He felt they need help in goal, speculating head coach Doug Weight would prefer a netminder who can take over the reins full-time. He doesn’t see many options in the trade market “aside from some obvious, flawed candidates (Kari Lehtonen, maybe Jimmy Howard, Curtis McElhinney)”.
Staple’s also skeptical that defenseman Calvin de Haan, a pending UFA at season’s end, might get dealt at the trade deadline to make room for a promising youngster such as Devon Toews and Sebastian Aho.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Islanders are playoff contenders by the trade deadline they won’t be moving de Haan. I can see them keeping an eye on the trade market for a possible goalie upgrade but they could be stuck with what they’ve got over the remainder of the season.