NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2018
Latest look at possible trade-deadline rental players and more in your NHL rumor mill.
ROUNDUP OF POTENTIAL TRADE TARGETS
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s appearance Wednesday on NBC Sports Network discussing the NHL trade market. He considers Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane as the premier rental player available. He also lists Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, Vancouver Canucks winger Thomas Vanek and blueliner Erik Gudbranson and Edmonton Oilers forwards Patrick Maroon, Mike Cammalleri and Mark Letestu as possible rental players.
McKenzie also suggests several players on struggling clubs with term remaining on their contracts could potentially be on the move. Those include Montreal Canadiens forwards Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk and Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie’s TSN colleague Darren Dreger recently said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Nashville Predators had some interest in Pacioretty. He admits, however, he doesn’t know if the two clubs have held talks.
Nashville and Montreal have a recent trade history (Shea Weber for P.K. Subban in 2016). If the Habs move Pacioretty or Galchenyuk before the trade deadline (and that’s a big “if” at this point), they’ll want a quality return that helps them now and in the future. A winger such as Kevin Fiala or Viktor Arvidsson could be part of the asking price.
He also speculates the Minnesota Wild, who’ve been busy near the deadline in recent years, could opt to look internally this season. They don’t have much salary-cap room this season. They’d also like to evaluate veterans Zach Parise and Nino Niederreiter, who’ve been hampered by injuries, and younger players such as Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle.
PROPOSED DESTINATIONS FOR GUDBRANSON
THE ATHLETIC: Mike Halford lists the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins as possible trade destinations for Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson.
Halford notes the Lightning reportedly seek a top-four, right-handed defenseman. They’re deep in prospects and have all their picks in each of the next three drafts, though they’ve been reluctant in the past to part with their prospects. The Bruins were reportedly looking for a minute-munching blueliner but they’re already deep in right-handed rearguards. The Leafs, meanwhile, need experienced d-men but it depends upon how management views Gudbranson.
The Panthers could still be interested in bringing back Gudbranson. The Capitals could be in the market for a veteran defenseman. While Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford and Canucks GM Jim Benning have a trade history, the Pens recent acquisition of Jamie Oleksiak could take them out of the bidding for Gudbranson.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites insider Elliotte Friedman telling Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 his belief that there are teams kicking tires on Gudbranson, but it remains to be seen how serious those suitors are. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Toronto, Tampa Bay or the Los Angeles Kings have made inquiries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There is some concern over whether Gudbranson remains suited to the increasing speed of the NHL game. Still, I think there are playoff contenders willing to pursue him if the asking price is reasonable. The Canucks, however, gave up a lot to pry Gudbranson away from the Panthers in 2016 so they won’t just give him away. If the Panthers want him back, I assume they’ll wait for this summer when he’ll likely hit the UFA market.
The Lightning could be a little more willing to part with prospects this season if they’re all-in for a Cup run. The Leafs and Capitals could also be suitors. I think the Pens have made their move to address their defense and could shift their focus toward a scoring forward. If the Bruins remain in the market for a blueliner I expect they’ll put their focus on one with a left-handed shot.
Franson has more trade value now that he’s cleared, since an acquiring team could move him freely between NHL and AHL.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 9, 2018