NHL Rumor Mill – October 21, 2019
A list of five clubs that could make a significant early-season move in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton recently listed the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars on his list of five clubs that could make an early-season move to shake up their rosters. The New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets, and Pittsburgh Penguins also made the list.
Clinton believes the Wild need a roster rebuild. He considers them aging, slow and lacking the talent to contend for a playoff berth in the Western Conference. He points out forwards Eric Staal and Kevin Fiala and defenseman Jonas Brodin lack no-trade protection.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clinton noted recent reports indicating Wild general manager Bill Guerin intends to be patient and won’t make any panic moves. If his club doesn’t improve in the coming weeks, however, he could test the trade market.
Staal might attract more interest near the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Guerin recently re-signed Fiala but the winger has just one point in seven games and was a healthy scratch against Toronto. Brodin could be enticing to clubs seeking a top-four, left-side defenseman. Other trade options could include forwards Jason Zucker, Ryan Donato, and Marcus Foligno.
Clinton suggests Stars GM Jim Nill attempt to bring in another scoring forward. He proposed shopping Andrew Cogliano for a middle-six forward or bring in free-agent winger Thomas Vanek to boost their power play.
Nill downplayed speculation suggesting he might shake things up. If their offense keeps sputtering, the Stars will be in big trouble. Their top forwards must start producing. In their first 10 games, Tyler Seguin has five points, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov four points, and off-season acquisition Joe Pavelski just two points.
Clinton feels the Devils should bolster their third-pairing defense and their bottom-six forwards. He suggests they scour the UFA market because the players they could attempt to move (Matt Tennyson, Connor Carrick, John Hayden) won’t fetch much of a return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Third-pairing UFA defense options include Dion Phaneuf and Andy MacDonald. Checking-line forwards includes Jason Pominville, Troy Brouwer, and Devante Smith-Pelly.
If Dustin Byfuglien doesn’t return to the Jets, Clinton thinks they could be in a market for a replacement. Trade-bait could include center Mathieu Perreault and forward Jack Roslovic. He feels Nikolaj Ehlers’ early production and play will keep him out of any trade talk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For now, Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will be patient and hope Byfuglien decides to return. It would take someone like Ehlers’ to bring in a potential top-pairing rearguard. Rival GMs could squeeze the Jets to include a top prospect or a first-round pick into a package with Perreault or Roslovic.
The Penguins’ early injury woes could push them into the trade market. They could also attempt to shop a defenseman like Jack Johnson or Erik Gudbranson but their contracts could be tough to move. Clinton suspects they’ll look for a depth forward or blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford last week indicated he hasn’t found anything enticing in the trade market. The club’s solid performance despite the absence of some key players relieves the pressure to swing a deal. Rutherford could be trying to stay the course until his injured players return.