NHL Rumor Mill – November 6, 2017
Latest speculation on the Blue Jackets, Senators and Hurricanes in your NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: With Matt Duchene and Kyle Turris off the trade market, Aaron Portzline wonders where the Columbus Blue Jackets will turn to address their depth at center. The Jackets were known to have interest in Duchene since the summer but weren’t willing to meet the Colorado Avalanche’s high asking price.
“The market is never settled,” Kekalainen said. “Some stuff will always come up, new stuff will come up … something might pop that we never expected. That’s the way it goes in pro sports.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen could keep an eye on some pending unrestricted free agent centers over the course of the season to see if any become available leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline. The notables could include the New York Islanders’ John Tavares, San Jose’s Joe Thornton, St. Louis’ Paul Stastny and Toronto’s Tyler Bozak.
THE ATHLETIC: In his analysis of the Duchene trade, James Gordon suggests there’s a chance the 26-year-old center won’t re-sign with the Ottawa Senators when his contract expires in 2019. However, there’s also a chance he could. If he doesn’t, Gordon thinks the Sens could move Duchene next season to recoup some of the assets they gave up to acquire him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators weren’t willing to sign the 28-year-old Kyle Turris to a seven- or eight-year contract worth around $6 million annually. They might be willing to go that long for Duchene, who’s two years younger and a better offensive player, provided he’s keen to stay.
Depending on Duchene’s performance, it could cost them over $7 million annually to retain. That would be a big chunk to change, especially with Dion Phaneuf and Bobby Ryan each carrying annual cap hits of $7 million and with captain Erik Karlsson and top two-way forward Mark Stone due for significant raises in the near future.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock wonders if the Carolina Hurricanes’ front office will do something, either a coaching change or a trade, to shake up their struggling roster. The Canes have won only once in their last seven games and sit last in the Metropolitan Division, five points (as of Nov. 6) out of a playoff spot.
DeCock notes the Hurricanes still lack depth at center and have too many perimeter wingers. He points out GM Ron Francis ” still has yet to make a challenging player-for-player trade and a coaching change in November doesn’t fit his patient pattern of action.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes were linked to Duchene in this summer’s rumor mill. If they do swing a deal for a center it’s anticipated they’ll draw upon their blueline depth for trade bait. Like the Blue Jackets, they could be forced to monitor the trade market for potential UFA centers that might become available before the trade deadline.