NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2019
Updates on Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Wayne Simmonds, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and more in the NHL rumor mill.
SENATORS TRADE WATCH CONTINUES
OTTAWA SUN: With the Senators sitting out forwards Matt Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel from last night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, Bruce Garrioch believes the trio could be on the verge of getting moved before Monday’s trade deadline. The Senators have yet to get the three pending free agents under contract. He said it’s believed Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and general manager Pierre Dorion wanted to get Stone and Dzingel signed by yesterday because they reached the point where they didn’t want to risk injury to either guy if they’re to be moved by deadline day.
It’s believed the Winnipeg Jets are the front-runners for Stone though the St. Louis Blues are also expected to call. The Calgary Flames could also be interested but they want an opportunity to sign him to an extension.
Regarding Duchene, Garrioch reports the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets are linked to the Senators center. The Boston Bruins have “genuine interest” in Dzingel. Garrioch’s colleague Ken Warren believes the Blue Jackets could also come calling for Dzingel.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Predators “have lusted after Duchene for some time.” He thinks the Flames, Blues Jackets, and New York Islanders have looked at him and speculates the Montreal Canadiens might have been in on Duchene if they felt they could re-sign him. He believes the Predators would be looking at a “sign-and-trade” scenario.
However, Friedman subsequently reported hearing the Predators interest in Duchene may have cooled a bit. Even if the Sens center is off the Predators’ board, Friedman feels they’ll still make a significant move before the deadline, suggesting targets like the Rangers’ Kevin Hayes or Columbus’ Artemi Panarin.
WGR 500: Brayton Wilson cited TSN’s Darren Dreger listing the Predators, Islanders and Blue Jackets as serious contenders for Duchene. He also noted some believe the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks could also interested but others aren’t sure.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford considers speculation tying the Blues to notable trade candidates like Stone, Panarin or Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds as wishful thinking. He said Blues GM Doug Armstrong is only interested in hockey trades, not rentals. Bruins GM Don Sweeney hinted he might be done dealing after acquiring Charlie Coyle from Minnesota, though that doesn’t mean he won’t keep an eye on the market for an affordable second-line scorer.
If Duchene, Stone and/or Dzingel aren’t interested in sign-and-trade/trade-and-sign scenarios it could affect how much interest the Senators received in them, as well as the potential returns. That could take the Predators and Flames out of the equation. I don’t see the Sabres going after Duchene as a rental as their playoff hopes are fading. The Senators’ asking price could be too high for the Sharks.
NBC SPORTS: John Boruk cited TSN’s Pierre LeBrun noting interest in Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds has intensified of late but the Flyers are focused on trying to stay in the playoff chase. With the Flyers falling to the Montreal Canadiens last night, Boruk wonders if GM Chuck Fletcher moving closer to making a trade. He wonders if Simmonds might interest the Arizona Coyotes, who’ve clawed their way back into the Western Conference playoff chase.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman thinks the market on Simmonds has come to a halt as teams wait to see what the Ottawa Senators do with Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, and Ryan Dzingel. He suggests the San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, and Calgary Flames would love to steal a guy like Simmonds.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There may be growing interest in Simmonds but I don’t see him moving until the Senators situation is sorted out. Teams that lose out on Duchene, Stone, and Dzingel could come calling.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Bruins, Blue Jackets and Jets could have interest in New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes. He also suggests Hayes could be an option for the Predators if they pass on Matt Duchene. He wonders if the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs might kick tires on Rangers defenseman Adam McQuaid.
Appearing on the NHL Network, Friedman linked Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello to the Flames and Dallas Stars. Regarding trade speculation about winger Chris Kreider, Friedman said the Rangers have set a high asking price because he’s signed through next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I consider Hayes and Zuccarello as fallback options for clubs that lose out in the Duchene/Stone bidding or drop out because of the high asking prices. McQuaid will be attractive to clubs seeking veteran depth and toughness on their blueline. Unless someone’s willing to overpay for Kreider, he’s not going anywhere.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN insiders Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, and Pierre LeBrun believes New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello could be busy leading up to the deadline. Dreger claims he’s going to go as hard as he can to pursue Matt Duchene, though LeBrun feels Lamoriello would want to know that he can sign the center. LeBrun doubts the Blue Jackets would trade Artemi Panarin to a club in their own division like the Islanders.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes Lamoriello is in on Duchene and Panarin. He also thinks Los Angeles Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk could be his “Plan C”, though Kovalchuk controls his fate with his no-movement clause.
THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cites The Athletic’s Arthur Staple reporting Islanders winger Joshua Ho-Sang is open to a trade. “They’re a good team this year. For me, obviously I want to play in the NHL, that’s my main focus. For them, if they need to trade me for pieces to go further in the playoffs, improve the great team they have, then I’m all for it.” Ho-Sang’s spent most of this season in the minors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one knows what the always-secretive Lamoriello has in store leading up to the trade deadline. Based on his trade history, however, one shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that he’ll pursue a notable player.
Ho-Sang, who’s struggled to crack the Isles roster, could become a trade chip if Lamoriello decides to go after someone like Duchene or Panarin. The Kovalchuk rumors are based on his previous association with Lamoriello during their time with the New Jersey Devils, but that doesn’t mean the Isles GM is keen to renew that relationship.
HOFFMAN ASKED FOR NO-TRADE LIST
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports hearing the Florida Panthers asked winger Mike Hoffman to submit a 10-team no-trade list. ” Doesn’t mean he will be traded but obviously teams are calling so Panthers need to be ready,” said LeBrun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have been linked to Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Make of this what you will. Hoffman was acquired by the Panthers last summer in a three-team deal with the Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks.