NHL Rumor Mill – November 8, 2019
The latest on the Red Wings, Senators, and Maple Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.
CHANGES COMING FOR THE RED WINGS?
THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa reports outside sources believe the Detroit Red Wings will be a team with hand raised high for Torey Krug if the Boston Bruins defenseman tests next summer’s free-agent market. The Wings are Krug’s hometown team and he played for Wings coach Jeff Blashill in the USHL. They are also desperate for a power-play quarterback.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently reported the Red Wings’ mounting losses is generating speculation about Blashill’s future in Detroit. General manager Steve Yzerman hasn’t commented about his coach’s status. Citing Yzerman’s tenure as Tampa Bay Lightning GM, Kulfan observed he is normally patient and not given to making rash decisions. Despite the Wings’ poor start, the players remain supportive of Blashill.
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire told TSN radio Ottawa not to be surprised if Yzerman attempts to shop 2018 first-round pick Filip Zadina. McGuire was critical of the young winger’s play without the puck.
Zadina was drafted by former Wings GM Ken Holland. McGuire thinks it’s fair to say he shouldn’t have been selected as high as he was (sixth overall) in that draft.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan recently wondered if Yzerman might make a move to improve the Wings’ performance and provide some hope for the fanbase. For now, the plan is to once again unload contracts at the trade deadline for draft picks.
Their rental players (Jimmy Howard, Trevor Daley, Mike Green) won’t have much value. Others signed beyond this season (Darren Helm, Valtteri Filppula, Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Bernier) will be almost impossible to move.
Khan believes Andreas Athanasiou could be the Wings’ biggest trade chip. He wonders if Yzerman will shop him at the trade deadline or before the 2020 NHL Draft for an additional first-round draft pick.
As for Blashill, Khan believes Yzerman could stick with him for the rest of the season unless the team completely falls apart. He also think Yzerman will continue to chip away at his roster with value-seeking deals leading up to the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings weren’t expected to be a playoff contender this season but it was hoped they’d show improvement. If these disheartening losses keep piling up, Yzerman could give Blashill the hook.
Yzerman can’t be happy with what he’s seeing right now. Making a significant move to turn things around will be difficult at this point in the season. Rival GMs are likely more interested in young core players like Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Anthony Mantha than those carrying expensive or expiring contracts.
If Athanasiou doesn’t pick up his play I can see Yzerman fielding trade offers later in the season. Playing for a deeper club could help the speedy forward regain his spark. I agree with McGuire it wouldn’t be surprising if Zadina was moved. It’s not a certainty but Yzerman could gauge his trade value.
Yzerman could get into the bidding for Krug if he hits the open market next summer. Krug, however, might not be keen to join a rebuilding club. He’ll draw plenty of interest around the league.
NOTHING NEW REGARDING PAGEAU’S CONTRACT TALKS
TSN: Ian Mendes reports Jean-Gabriel Pageau said he’s had no contract extension discussion lately with the Ottawa Senators. The 26-year-old center is off to the best statistical start of his NHL career. Pageau said he’s focused on his game and hasn’t given much thought to his contract. If he doesn’t fit into the rebuilding Senators plans he could be shopped at the trade deadline.
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren also wonders about Pageau’s future with the Senators. His two-way skills would be attractive to playoff contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mendes and Warren believe it’ll come down to how much the Senators are willing to pay and how much Pageau believes his services are worth. Considering the Senators’ current rebuild, they could be unwilling to pony up big bucks for their pending UFA stars. Don’t be surprised if he’s playing elsewhere by the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
LATEST ON THE LEAFS
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports the Maple Leafs placed Nic Petan and Martin Marincin on waivers yesterday to free up salary-cap space for Zach Hyman’s return from knee surgery on Saturday. Petan and Marincin will be assigned to the Leafs’ AHL affiliate if they clear waivers at noon ET today.
Once those two are claimed or demoted, the Leafs must take one more salary off the roster. He lists Nick Shore, Jason Spezza, and Dmytro Timashov as prime candidates to be waived or traded. All have salary-cap salaries of around $700,000.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch considers it unlikely the Senators will try to bring Spezza back to Ottawa with a waiver claim. While he’d be a good mentor in the dressing room, the Sens don’t want an aging player taking a roster spot from their younger players.