NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2019
Updates on Sergei Bobrovsky, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Micheal Ferland and the latest on the Devils in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
WHAT NEXT FOR BOBROVSKY?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will meet with management today after he was told to stay away from the club Thursday after an undisclosed incident following Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay. Asked if Bobrovsky’s relationship with the club is souring, LeBrun noted the goalie controls his fate because of his full no-movement clause in his contract. He said general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told him this incident had nothing to do with the goalie’s relationship with head coach John Tortorella.
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports if the meeting goes well Bobrovsky will return to practice today and will travel with the team for their game in Washington on Saturday. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Before the incident, the Jackets intended to carry him for the remainder of the season. However, Portzline speculates that plan might have changed now. If Bobrovsky hits the open market, Portzline listed the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders among the clubs believed to have interest in the goaltender.
NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. If the Jackets decide to part ways with Bobrovsky, his no-movement clause will give him full control over the situation. If he agrees to be traded he will attract plenty of suitors. While he’s struggled this season there will be general managers willing to bet a change of scenery will help him recover the form that won him two Vezina Trophies. The Blue Jackets won’t just give him away but the pressure to move him quickly could affect their efforts to get a big return.
LATEST ON THE HURRICANES, FLYERS, AND BLUES.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Carolina Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland is on the trade market. While that doesn’t necessarily mean Ferland will be traded, the Hurricanes don’t intend to lose him to free agency this summer for nothing. The two sides haven’t talked contract in over a month.
NOTE: I believe the Hurricanes will move Ferland before the trade deadline if they can’t get him re-signed by mid-February.
Bob McKenzie reports the Philadelphia Flyers will be a club to watch leading up to the trade deadline. GM Chuck Fletcher seeks a starting goaltender, a top-four defenseman, and a top-two or top-three line center. A veteran such as Wayne Simmonds could be traded. Simmonds is slated to become a free agent in July.
NOTE: There’s increasing speculation suggesting Simmonds will be moved by the trade deadline. While McKenzie said that’s not a certainty, it seems more and more likely he’ll be on the move to a playoff contender in the coming weeks.
LeBrun reports St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn is drawing interest around the league. The Boston Bruins have been linked to Schenn. LeBrun suggests GM Doug Armstrong could afford to wait until the offseason to make that move.
NOTE: Schenn is signed through next season so Armstrong isn’t under pressure to move him by the trade deadline. If he can’t find a return he likes, he’ll wait until the summer when the trade market should improve.
DEVILS COULD GET BUSY IN THE TRADE MARKET
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 that he feels the New Jersey Devils could be close to “moving out some pieces.” He doesn’t see GM Ray Shero moving out stars such as Taylor Hall or Kyle Palmieri. “Maybe he wants to dip into the market, or take advantage of someone else who wants to dip into the market early,” said Dreger.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco reports goaltending, organizational depth and consistency are the biggest issues plaguing the Devils this season. Goalie Keith Kinkaid’s play has declined since early in the season, noting he was overplayed because of necessity and could be again if promising Mackenzie Blackwood should be sidelined long-term. She also noted they need another top-pairing defenseman like Sami Vatanen. They’re also lacking depth elsewhere in the roster and they don’t appear to have anyone ready on their AHL farm team to call up.
NJ.COM: In a recent mailbag, Chris Ryan was asked about the trade value of Marcus Johansson, Brian Boyle, Keith Kinkaid, and Ben Lovejoy. He felt Johansson might have the best trade value despite his injury history. He doesn’t expect Boyle to be traded, while MacKenzie Blackwood’s performance could make moving Kinkaid plausible. Lovejoy could have the second-most value as he’s “a smart, veteran blueliner with playoff experience who could provide plenty of penalty killing value to any team.”
NOTE: Shero might be a seller but he won’t be trading away his best players. I expect he’ll try to re-sign Boyle before his UFA eligibility this summer. He’s a popular team leader worth keeping around. There might be a market for Johansson, who’s also slated to become a UFA, but his injury history could dampen his trade value. Lovejoy could attract interest but Shero won’t get much for him. With Blackwood currently sidelined and Cory Schneider on injured reserve, I don’t see Kinkaid going anywhere for now.