Latest on the Canadiens, Oilers, Rangers, Islanders and Senators in your NHL rumor mill.
Should the Canadiens consider trading a core player?
TSN: Francois Gagnon suggests Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin should at least listen to offers for his core players to see what their trade value might be. If an elite center becomes available, Gagnon suggest moving a player like P.K. Subban could be a worthwhile option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You know the panic level in Montreal reached DEFCON 1 when a usually levelheaded pundit like Gagnon makes this suggestion.Trading Subban for an elite center addresses one problem but creates another equally as bad, blowing a giant hole into the blueline that will take years to fill.
I doubt Bergevin will sacrifice Subban or other core players for a quick fix. Besides, no one’s dangling an elite center at this time of year. And Bergevin’s not dealing from a position of strength. Any return won’t measure to the value of a player like Subban. If Bergevin is even considering that idea, he should think back 20 years to the Patrick Roy trade. That sent the Habs into a prolonged decline that took nearly two decades to recover from.
If anything, Bergevin should look at this as a silver lining. He knows his current roster can’t win without Carey Price. With that giant flaw exposed, he can set about properly addressing it, starting in the offseason. There’s no instant remedy. Indeed, it could take a couple of years. However, that’s infinitely better than hasty deals involving your best players.
Latest on the Oilers, Senators and Islanders.
TSN (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Darren Dreger believes the Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers could be busy at the trade deadline. He believes the Sens want to add a defenseman and a forward. As for the Oilers, he notes forwards Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be mentioned in trade speculations. Dreger believes Nugent-Hopkins could be dealt, either at the trade deadline or this summer, if a premium return can be had. He doubts the Oilers can pry defenseman Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders by offering Nugent-Hopkins because Isles GM Garth Snow still wants a comparable defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Dreger pointed out, if Hamonic could’ve been had for Nugent-Hopkins, that deal would’ve gone down weeks ago. I expect Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will evaluate offers for Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins, but I also think he wants to see how the Oilers perform over the remainder of the season with McDavid back in the lineup. Perhaps this summer, Eberle or Nugent-Hopkins (likely the latter) gets peddled (maybe even packaged with a first-round pick) for a top-two defenseman
Bob McKenzie believes the Oilers would like to move defenseman Justin Schultz, who might benefit from a change of scenery. He claims there are teams talking to the Oilers, but it remains to be seen if Schultz gets moved by the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this stage in Schultz’s career, the Oilers won’t get much back for him. If they’re lucky, they might land a second-round pick.
NHL.COM: Dan Rosen, responding to a reader’s question over who the Minnesota Wild might add via trade, believes Islanders winger and pending UFA Kyle Okposo would be a good fit. However, he’d be a rental option unless he’s willing to re-sign.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Islanders jockeying for a playoff berth and Okposo one of their leading scorers, I doubt they’re moving him now.
TSN: Ian Mendes reports frequently scratched Senators defenseman Jared Cowen admitted being traded this month could become a realistic possibility. Cowen’s become a fixture in the rumor mill this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been lots of speculation since last summer about a Cowen trade, but his struggles and $4.5 million salary for next season makes him a difficult sell. It could take until this summer to find a trade partner.
Updates on the Rangers and Coyotes.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers must make a trade, though not one that will mortgage their future. He notes the Winnipeg Jets have been scouting the Rangers of late. While Jets left wing Andrew Ladd would look good with the Rangers, Brooks doesn’t want to see it come at the expense of young players like J.T. Miller, Pavel Buchnevich, Dylan McIlrath or a first-round pick. He calls upon management to replenish the Blueshirts’ feeder system by shopping pending UFA blueliner Keith Yandle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Rangers GM Jeff Gorton does leading up to the trade deadline. I agree with Brooks regarding Yandle. The Rangers hold a playoff berth but they’re not the dominant team they were over the last couple of seasons. Of late, Yandle’s being used as a third-pairing blueliner and power-play specialist. If there’s a decent return to be had, why not move him? I doubt that will adversely hurt the Rangers down the stretch.