NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2019
Latest on Wayne Simmonds, Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST SIMMONDS SPECULATION
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on NBCSN, TSN insider Bob McKenzie reported the Philadelphia Flyers are getting calls about pending UFA winger Wayne Simmonds but they haven’t reached a decision yet if they’ll re-sign or move him before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. McKenzie considers it more likely than not that Simmonds gets traded but it’s not a certainty. He believes there will be a high demand for the power forward.
Appearing on Ottawa’s TSN 1200, McKenzie’s colleague Pierre LeBrun also believes there will be no shortage of interest in Simmonds if the Flyers decide to trade him. LeBrun suggested adding Simmonds to a powerful club like the Tampa Bay Lightning to give them more muscle for the playoffs is a scary thought, though he adds he has no evidence to suggest the Lightning are interested in Simmonds and was merely using them as an example.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher could be listening to offers from other clubs while negotiating with Simmonds’ agent to determine if a workable new contract can be reached before the trade deadline. Perhaps he’ll try to re-sign Simmonds to a three- or four-year deal provided he’s not seeking much over $5 million annually. If the winger seeks a more lucrative long-term contract, Fletcher will shop him before the deadline for the best deal.
While there may be no indication of the Lightning having interest in Simmonds, they’ve proven their willingness in the recent past to swing significant deals near the trade deadline to bolster their lineup for the postseason. It wouldn’t be surprising if they become a serious suitor for Simmonds.
RUMOR HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes could trade Dougie Hamilton because they’re heavy with right-shot defensemen. He also noted Hamilton has had more games playing under 16 minutes (four games) than those where he’s played over 20 minutes (three games). The Hurricanes need scoring and there are clubs in need of scoring blueliners so Hamilton has value.
Friedman also reports the Hurricanes and pending unrestricted free agent winger Micheal Ferland remain far apart in contract negotiations. The Hurricanes are determined not to let their UFAs depart for nothing. Friedman suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins or Edmonton Oilers as possible destinations for Ferland. The Hurricanes have also told teams they prefer to wait a little longer before reaching decisions on goalies Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek. They’re also trying to re-sign winger Jordan Martinook.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes apparently aren’t actively shopping Hamilton but, as Friedman indicated last Saturday, they could be willing to listen if someone offers them a scoring forward. We know Hurricanes GM Don Waddell had interest in Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander prior to his re-signing a new contract with the Leafs and there’s been talk that he also likes Leafs winger Kaspari Kapanen. Maybe he would consider swapping Hamilton for Kapanen plus a draft pick or prospect.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn’t shy about making significant in-season deals and perhaps Ferland could be a fit. However, the Penguins surge up the standings since early-December had Rutherford recently suggesting he might not be as busy near the deadline this time around. The Oilers need all the help they can get but their priority (as always) is their blueline and Ferland can’t improve that area of concern.
Friedman adds winger Pat Maroon to the list of available St. Louis Blues… He also reports the Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to find a new home for little-used defenseman Slater Koekkoek…There’s interest in Vancouver Canucks blueliner Michael Del Zotto but those clubs are waiting until closer to the trade deadline to save salary-cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just spitballing here, but if the Lightning were to pursue Wayne Simmonds, maybe they’ll offer up Koekkoek as part of the return.
Teams could be watching to see how the Winnipeg Jets handle backup goalie Laurent Brossoit and winger Brandon Tanev. Brossoit is a year away from UFA eligibility while Tanev is eligible this summer. The Jets have received inquiries about Jack Roslovic but have no interest in moving him.
SHARKS COULD BE BUSY AGAIN NEAR THE TRADE DEADLINE
THE MERCURY NEWS: Paul Gackle reports San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is open to the idea of pursuing rental talent at this year’s trade deadline. It’s possible he could pursuing a scoring forward such as Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds or Ottawa’s Matt Duchene or Matt Stone. Goaltending, however, is an issue this year as the Sharks’ tandem of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell are struggling this season. Still, Wilson expressed confidence in the duo, pointing to Jones’ playoff record. Gackle noted Wilson lacks a first- and second-round pick in this year’s and lacks a first the 2020 NHL Draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Throughout his long career as a general manager, Wilson has proven capable of pulling off significant in-season trades. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him landing a substantial rental asset this year.