NHL Rumor Mill – November 8, 2017
Latest on Carey Price, Mitch Marner, Evander Kane and much more in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos clarified his remarks from Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada headlines segment, saying Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price’s contract switched from a no-trade to a complete no-movement clause in the final season of his current deal.
However, if the Canadiens decide to go into a rebuild, Kypreos wonders if they’ll want a goalie earning $10.5 million annually over the next eight seasons to be part of it, or if Price will want to be part of it. He thinks Price felt the Habs would contend for a Stanley Cup when he re-signed with them.
Citing the return the Colorado Avalanche received in the Matt Duchene deal, Kypreos said if he were Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, he would shop Max Pacioretty for three or four pieces that could turn the franchise around.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kypreos is merely stating his opinion and not reporting that Price or Pacioretty will be dealt. I don’t see Bergevin shopping either guy this season. However, if the Canadiens fail to reach the playoffs this season, the Habs GM will be under pressure to turn things around. If it comes to moving the Habs top players, Pacioretty (who is slated for UFA eligibility in 2019) seems the most likely trade candidate.
Kypreos also believes the Toronto Maple Leafs should trade forward Mitch Marner. Looking at their depth chart, he wonders where Marner fits in as a “go-to guy”, noting Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Zach Hyman and Connor Brown are ahead of him. He feels it’s inevitable that Marner gets moved, doubting he’ll ever be a “top-three” with the Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the Leafs’ young forwards, Marner would fetch the best return, that being an established top-four defenseman. Let’s face it, Matthews and Nylander aren’t going anywhere and Hyman and Brown won’t bring in the type of return that provides immediate help to their blueline. Perhaps Marner doesn’t get dealt this season but I think Kypreos is right saying a trade is inevitable.
In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Kypreos’ colleague Elliotte Friedman said the recent three-team deal that sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa and Kyle Turris to Nashville leaves “nothing obvious” for teams such as the Columbus Blue Jackets (who may have been interested in both players) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (“hovering around Duchene”). He also feels the Edmonton Oilers might be the next team to try something but not on the scale as the Senators-Predators-Avalanche blockbuster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets were definitely interested in Duchene. They’ll now likely have to wait until the final weeks leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline to bring in a scoring center. While the Penguins apparently kicked the tires on Duchene, they couldn’t afford to take on his $6 million annual cap hit and instead went for a more affordable option by acquiring Riley Sheahan from Detroit.
As for the Oilers, they’ve made Jussi Jokinen available and could be willing to move Ryan Strome, but I don’t those players bringing in a return that addresses their lack of scoring punch at right wing and their struggling defense.
Friedman also reports the Anaheim Ducks made a legitimate attempt to acquired center Vadim Shipachyov from the Vegas Golden Knights, but the bonus repayment issue got in the way. Shipachyov is expected to retire from the NHL, repay most of his $2 million signing bonus and return to the KHL.
TSN: In the wake of the Duchene trade, Frank Seravalli moves Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane atop TSN’s trade bait board. He reports Sabres GM Jason Botterill is said to be listening to offers but isn’t actively shopping the winger. Kane is eligible for UFA status next July and is off to a strong start this season, boosting his trade value.
Montreal Canadiens winger Alex Galchenyuk cracks the top 10, with Seravalli claiming Habs GM Bergevin isn’t hanging up on those calling to inquire about the one-time 30-goal scorer.
Vegas’ James Neal, Luca Sbisa and David Perron sit second, fourth and sixth on the list, Detroit defenseman Mike Green sits third, Vancouver’s Thomas Vanek and Erik Gudbranson are fifth and ninth, with NY Rangers winger Rick Nash and LA Kings defenseman Alec Martinez seventh and eighth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres do move Kane it’ll be near the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Much will depend upon his play between now and then, as well as that of the Sabres and his asking price to re-sign with Buffalo. Bergevin said he isn’t giving up on Galchenyuk but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s keeping an ear open for interesting offers. As for Martinez, as long as the Kings’ offense continues playing weel over the course of the season, I don’t see him going anywhere.
During Tuesday’s “Insider Trading” segment, Pierre LeBrun reports the possibility of losing Nikita Soshnikov on loan to the KHL for the rest of the NHL season will force them to call him up, prompting speculation they could make a trade to free up a log jam at forward to address their defense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Could that lead to a Marner trade? Probably not, though one shouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility. Right now there aren’t a lot of quality defensemen available. It could lead to a minor deal that doesn’t involve Marner or any of the Leafs better forwards or perhaps a lesser light hitting the waiver wire.
Bob McKenzie reports the Calgary Flames don’t want to trade young forward Sam Bennett, who has yet to pick up a point this season. Teams are calling about him in hopes of getting him as a bargain-basement reclamation project.
Darren Dreger reports Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion remains interested in adding another forward but it’s not a front burner issue right now.
LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks are seeking a top-six forward, preferably a left winger or a left-handed center and have been in the market since the offseason. They were keeping tabs on Duchene prior to his trade to Ottawa.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves and now Ryan Getzlaf to injuries leaves the Ducks thin up front this season. It’ll likely cost them one of their good young defensemen to bring in a long-term solution.