NHL Rumor Mill – February 9, 2019
Updates on Artemi Panarin plus the latest on the Red Wings, Golden Knights, Stars, and Kings in today’s NHL rumor mill.
PANARIN CHANGES AGENTS, REMAINS NON-COMMITTAL ABOUT RE-SIGNING WITH COLUMBUS
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported yesterday Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin has changed agents, dropping Dan Milstein in favor of Paul Theofanus, who also represents teammate Sergei Bobrovsky. Both players are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. “It doesn’t change anything. We approach every player and every situation the same way, no matter who the agent is,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said Friday.”
THE SCORE: When questioned by reporters Friday, Panarin remain non-committal about re-signing with the Blue Jackets. “It’s one life, one chance for free agency and I want to test free agency,” he said. When asked by The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger if there was still a chance he could re-sign, Panarin paused, laughed awkwardly, said they still had a chance “but … we’ll see what happens in the summer.” He also acknowledged he’s prepared to be traded but hasn’t picked a destination.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe this is Panarin’s last season with the Blue Jackets. How long he remains with them depends upon what type of offers they get before the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
I’ve maintained the Blue Jackets wouldn’t trade Panarin (or Bobrovsky) as long as they were in the thick of the playoff race. In recent days, however, I’ve changed my mind. It’ll take a sizable return to tempt Kekalainen into trading Panarin and teams could be reluctant to make a big investment in a playoff rental player. Nevertheless, If the Jackets get a suitable offer before the Feb. 25 trade deadline that helps them now and in the future, I think they’ll do it, even if it risks jeopardizing their postseason hopes.
At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, hiring the same guy who represents Bobrovsky suggests both players could attempt to land with the same team via free agency in July. If they both get shipped to the same team before the deadline, one they’d be willing to sign with, Theofanus can broker their new contracts.
COULD RED WINGS RE-SIGN THEIR TOP UFAS?
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland intends to step up discussions with several of his pending UFA players in an effort to re-sign them before the trade deadline. Of their seven UFAs, the Wings would like to re-sign goaltender Jimmy Howard, winger Gustav Nyquist, and defenseman Nick Jensen. Khan speculates a two-year deal for Howard at around his current annual average value ($5.3 million) seems possible. Nyquist is set to surpass his career-high of 54 points this season while the Wings value Jensen’s skating and penalty killing.
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are believed to have kicked tires on Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening, who played for Leafs coach Mike Babcock when the latter was the Wings’ bench boss. Glendening is signed through 2020-21 with an annual cap hit of $1.8 million, which is likely more than the Leafs will be able to afford after this season. If the Wings can be enticed into picking up half of his cap hit, that would make him more affordable for the Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland also suggested it’s possible he might not trade anyone, mostly because there might not be much of a market for his pending UFAs. The Wings GM has reportedly set a first-round pick as his asking price for Howard and Nyquist, which could scare off potential suitors. Given the lack of goaltending depth in the Wings system, I expect Howard will be re-signed. Jensen could also be retained. As for Nyquist, that seems less of a certainty. It’ll depend upon how much of a raise he’s seeking.
POSSIBLE TRADE OPTIONS FOR STARS AND GOLDEN KNIGHTS
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Sean Shapiro recently noted Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill last week admitted in an interview he’d like to add scorers. With defenseman Marc Methot on long-term injured reserve for the rest of the season, they’ll have over $2.4 million in salary-cap relief to invest in some secondary scoring. They could also free up more room if sidelined Stars Martin Hanzal, Stephen Johns, and Tyler Pitlick end up on LTIR for the rest of the regular season.
While acknowledging the noteworthy talent potentially available in the trade market (Panarin, Ottawa’s Mark Stone, Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds), Shapiro suggested Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist and Anaheim’s Jakub Silfverberg as realistic rental options. Players who could benefit from a change of scenery include the NY Islanders’ Joshua Ho-Sang and Washington’s Andre Burakovsky.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nyquist and Silfverberg might be more realistic options but there’s no certainty they’ll be available. The Wings would like to re-sign Nyquist while the Ducks are in talks with Silfverberg, who’s expressed his desire to stay in Anaheim.
Jesse Granger examined the needs of the Vegas Golden Knights and their possible trade targets. He believes they need third-line production and suggested Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, the NY Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello, Vancouver’s Nikolay Goldobin and Ottawa’s Mark Stone or Ryan Dzingel.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Stone, who’s a top-line right wing, would fit well on the Golden Knights’ third line. Given Vegas GM George McPhee’s deadline trade history, I expect he’ll swing a deal before Feb. 25.
UPDATE ON THE KINGS
LOS ANGELE TIMES: Curtis Zupke reports Kings GM Rob Blake was sarcastic of a TSN report suggesting his club will likely make their biggest moves in the offseason than before the trade deadline. “TSN, they’re running our team, then I guess they understand that,” Blake said. “There’s speculation every day on this and that. I’m not going to get into that.” He said he’s looking for deals similar to the Jake Muzzin trade, moving a veteran player for draft picks and prospects.