NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2017
Updates on the Vegas Golden Knights and Ottawa Senators, and speculation Auston Matthews days with the Toronto Maple Leafs could be numbered (!) in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: During Thursday’s edition of “Insider Trading”, Bob McKenzie reported the Vegas Golden Knights are getting lots of calls about scoring forwards James Neal and David Perron. Both players are eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. So many teams are in the market for scoring help that there’s interest in Neal and Perron.
Unless Vegas GM George McPhee gets a significant offer, he’s not moving either guy right now. It’s possible he could look at moving them down the road toward the Feb. 26 trade deadline. McPhee could also attempt to re-sign them but there’s been no contract extension talks yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perron leads the Golden Knights in points (17 in 18 games) while Neal is second in points (15) and their leading goal scorer with 10 in 18 games. Little wonder, then, that there’s significant interest in the two veteran wingers. It’s assumed both will be shopped before the trade deadline but we can’t rule out the possibility of one or both re-signing with the Knights, who are exceeding expectations in their debut season.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion’s been in the market for a forward since training camp but he’s in no rush to do anything. Dorion’s pleased with the play of call-up Chris DiDomenico and he also wants to evaluate Bobby Ryan’s performance alongside recently acquired center Matt Duchene.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are also third in the Atlantic Division with 21 points in 17 games. Unless the Sens drop out of a playoff berth, Dorion will likely wait until closer to the February trade deadline to add a forward.
COULD THE LEAFS TRADE MATTHEWS?
BETWEEN THE POSTS: Former The Fan 590 reporter Howard Berger yesterday cited an “unimpeachable executive source” speaking for Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello claiming the club could look to move center Auston Matthews if they win their fourth straight game with Matthews sidelined (Note: the Leafs subsequently beat the Devils 1-0).
“There are too many challenges with the salary cap in the next few years to keep a player without whom we can win. Matthews will cost us a fortune in the summer of 2019. Better to see if we can get some prospects or high [draft] picks for him now. You never want to risk that a player might sustain a career–threatening injury. Our entire management group agrees that if we win again tonight and improve to 4–0 without Auston, it’ll be time to look for a trade.”
The executive went on to cite the high cost of re-signing William Nylander and Mitch Marner plus the Leafs need to add a stud defenseman. “Matthews is a good scorer, but easily replaceable. We can get lots for him in a trade.”
He also listed the Arizona Coyotes as a potential trade destination, noting Matthews is an Arizona native and the Coyotes have wanted him since Day One.
“Initially, Lou insisted [defenseman] Oliver Ekman–Larsson be the starting point in any trade discussion. But, [Coyotes GM] John Chayka wouldn’t go for it. Not a big deal. I’m pretty sure we can get the Coyotes’ first–round draft pick next June. That will offset the loss of Matthews. One No. 1 pick for another. We think it’s a fair proposition.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Check the comments section of that report. It’s a satire piece by Berger.