A largely Jonathan Drouin-free version of your NHL rumor mill, featuring Keith Yandle, Jared Cowen and more.
SI.com’s rumor roundup.
SI.COM: Allan Muir speculates the Anaheim Ducks recent acquisition of goaltender Dustin Tokarski could set up a possible trade of Frederik Andersen. While the Calgary Flames and Arizona Coyotes have been listed as possible destinations for Andersen, Muir doubts they trade him to a division rival they’re battling with for a player berth. The Buffalo Sabres could use Andersen, but they’re committed to Robin Lehner. He thinks the Ducks will try to move the goalie to an Eastern team near the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The official word from the Ducks is the acquisition of Tokarski will shore up the goaltending depth on their farm team. If so, they could instead draw upon their blueline depth for trade bait.
The Columbus Blue Jackets might not be done dealing. Muir notes a recent report claiming the New York Rangers are kicking the tires on Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson. Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen might listen if the return is a promising young defenseman. It’s unlikely the Blueshirts will give up one of their defenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could offer up Keith Yandle, but the Blue Jackets won’t make that move for a rental player. Besides, having traded Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones earlier this week, they could be in the market for a center than a defenseman.
Muir also noted a report earlier this week claiming winger Blue Jackets winger Kerby Rychel requested a trade before the start of the season. He noted Rychel has almost no leverage as he’s on an entry-level contract. Of the teams rumored to be interested in Rychel, the Montreal Canadiens could be the best fit, as they have a need for big, physical forwards and possess depth in young blueliners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A recent report out of Columbus claimed the Jackets want to retain Rychel. We’ll see if they still feel that way in the coming weeks.
Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin could also be in play, though he’s got two more seasons remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $4.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Jackets could find a decent center carrying the same salary as Tyutin, perhaps that deal could be made. Easier said than done.
New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle is surfacing in the rumor mill. There’s talk of the Rangers offering him up in a deal to the Tampa Bay Lightning for winger Jonathan Drouin, but that seems unlikely. If the Rangers trade Yandle, Muir thinks they’ll look to add another defenseman to replace Yandle before the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if the Lightning dealt Drouin for a playoff rental player like Yandle.
Speaking of the Rangers, Muir wonders if underperforming winger Kevin Hayes could be on his way out. Blueshirts coach Alain Vigneault has been critical of Hayes’ performance this season.
Highlights from Jim Matheson’s latest “Hockey World” column.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports there’s speculation Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin could be on the trade block. It’s also believed Detroit Red Wings blueliner Jakub Kindl is available.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Sam Gagner, recently demoted to the minors, could be dealt before the trade deadline, as teams seeking offense could have interest in him.
Matheson doesn’t expect Arizona Coyotes right wing Shane Doan will accept a trade this season.
The Anaheim Ducks’ recent call-up of Shea Theodore could allow them to trade a defenseman (possibly Sami Vatanen?) for a scoring forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see Gagner playing with another NHL club by the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Given the Coyotes improvement this season, I think Doan is motivated to help them reach the playoffs. With the Ducks fighting back into playoff contention, I wouldn’t be surprised if GM Bob Murray swings a deal to boost his offense, drawing upon someone like Vatanen to address that need.
Yandle is the Rangers best trade chip.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis believes defenseman Keith Yandle is the New York Rangers best trade chip, citing his UFA status this summer, the Rangers inability to re-sign him and the fact he’s carrying an affordable $2.65 million cap hit for this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers GM Jeff Gorton already seems primed to shake things up, having dealt struggling winger Emerson Etem last night to the Vancouver Canucks. The Rangers could use some scoring depth at forward. Yandle, who lacks a no-trade clause, could be Gorton’s best option to address that need.
Latest on Jared Cowen.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Ken Warren reports Senators defenseman Jared Cowen, the odd man out on their blueline, isn’t seeking at trade, “at least not publicly”. Cowen told reporters he doesn’t want the Jonathan Drouin situation.