NHL Rumor Mill – October 31, 2019
Latest on Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Chris Kreider, Kevin Fiala and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi’s new eight-year, $72.4-million contract will affect St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo and Boston’s Torey Krug. Pietrangelo and Blues general manager Doug Armstrong are waiting for the other to make the first move. Whatever happens with Krug, Friedman doubts the Bruins will shop him at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Josi’s negotiations reportedly hit a snag entering training camp but was sorted out earlier this week. The same thing could happen to Pietrangelo and Krug. Pietrangelo could seek over $9 million annually but Krug’s is open to a hometown discount.
Speaking of the Blues, Armstrong will look to within their organization for a short-term replacement for sidelined winger Vladimir Tarasenko. He wants to avoid a potential salary-cap crunch once Tarasenko returns to the lineup. Friedman believes New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider would be a good fit with the Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong could jump into the market near the trade deadline if Tarasenko remains out until the playoffs. Kreider is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July and could be available if the Rangers are out of playoff contention by February.
Kevin Fiala could be on shaky ground with the Minnesota Wild. The 23-year-old winger has been a healthy scratch twice this season. His talent and favorable contract should make him a good fit with the Wild but they’re going to see what out there in the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala had a 23-goal, 48-point performance in 2017-18. If he can’t find his footing with the aging Wild he could regain his form with a younger club.
A slow start by forward Andreas Athanasiou could raise questions about his future with the Detroit Red Wings. He’s in a contract year and his previous negotiations were difficult.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman won’t be as patient as his predecessor. If Athanasiou doesn’t improve soon he could hit the trade block.
Friedman feels little-used Buffalo Sabres winger Evan Rodrigues could be a good fit with the Ottawa Senators or Toronto Maple Leafs, though he’s not sure the Sabres would want to help the Leafs. Speaking of the Leafs, Friedman said they would move defenseman Martin Marincin, though Jake Muzzin’s health could change that.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to add, it’s just a matter of when GM Jim Rutherford wants to. It’s also believed a contract extension for defenseman Marcus Pettersson is all but done but he can’t sign until Jan. 1 at the earliest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford is a bold wheeler-dealer throughout the season. He’s already made a recent trade and could pull off another well before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
With the Calgary Flames struggling, GM Brad Treliving isn’t afraid of making changes. Friedman doesn’t think anything’s imminent but expects Treliving will see what’s out there.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving nearly moved winger Michael Frolik at last year’s trade deadline to Minnesota for Jason Zucker. I don’t think there’s a chance of revisiting that move now but Frolik could be available. He’s a UFA next summer. They also waived Tobias Reider earlier this week.
Friedman also noted the tense situation with the struggling Chicago Blackhawks. Defenseman Brent Seabrook recently expressed his displeasure over being scratched twice from the lineup. Friedman said things got awkward last season when management wanted to see if he’d be willing to move but Seabrook claimed the request wasn’t specifically made to him. Starting goaltender Corey Crawford has to wonder about his future in Chicago with Robin Leher on a one-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be Crawford’s last season with the Blackhawks if Lehner keeps out-performing him. Seabrook’s hefty contract ($6.875 million annually through 2023-24) and declining play makes him difficult to move.