List of teams potentially active at the deadline, 10 non-rental players who could be moved and more in Part One of your NHL Rumor Mill.
LIST OF TEAMS THAT COULD BE ACTIVE AT THE TRADE DEADLINE.
USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists 12 teams he believes will be active at the trade deadline. The buyers include the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Ducks could use another scorer, the Blackhawks could have their eye on Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd, the Stars could use a veteran blueliner, the Panthers, Wild and Predators could use an offensive boost, the Rangers a scoring winger with size, while the Penguins could use either another scorer or a defenseman.
He also notes the Blues need for more scoring, perhaps by offering up defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, as well as an experienced goalie in the wake of Brian Elliott’s injury. The Lightning would like to move Jonathan Drouin for a defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Alex Pietrangelo sidelined with a knee injury, I doubt the Blues will move Shattenkirk at the deadline. Reports out of Tampa Bay indicates Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is open to the idea of moving Drouin by the trade deadline. I’ll have more on that in Part Two of today’s rumor mill.
The sellers include the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs. Of the latter, he expects Eric Staal, Kris Versteeg and John-Michael Liles could be shopped, and doesn’t dismiss the possibility of the Leafs dealing center Nazem Kadri.
10 NON-PLAYOFF RENTAL TRADE CANDIDATES.
TSN: Frank Seravalli lists Edmonton Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov, defenseman Justin Schultz and center Matt Hendricks, Florida Panthers center Brandon Pirri, Montreal Canadiens center Lars Eller, Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund, Toronto Maple Leafs center Peter Holland, Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell, Vancouver Canucks left wing Jannik Hansen and Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal as players with term remaining on their contracts who could be moved by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
If the Panthers are pursuing Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd, Seravalli believes Pirri, sidelined by an ankle injury but expected to return to action in two weeks, could be part of the package. He claims the Penguins were a rumored destination for Hartnell but they reportedly aren’t interested. Seravalli wonders if he’ll waive his no-trade clause to return to Nashville, where his NHL career began.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of the players on this list could move. Hartnell’s an interesting one, for while he’s carrying a $4.75 million cap hit through 2018-19, there could be playoff clubs interested in him. His no-trade clause,however, is a stumbling block, as is his salary if the Jackets aren’t willing to pick up part of it. Schultz is an RFA this summer, but he could be considered a rental player. If he gets dealt at the deadline (and I expect he will) and doesn’t significantly improve with his new club, they could decline to re-sign him, making Schultz a UFA on July 1.
LATEST ON THE BRUINS AND KINGS.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney has prepared to either re-sign pending UFA Loui Eriksson before the trade deadline, retain him to help their playoff chances at the risk of losing him to free agency or trading him by the deadline. LeBrun speculates the latter seems increasingly likely. Sweeney could also try to add pieces at the deadline, like a defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s little consensus among the punditry over what the Bruins will do with Eriksson. Ultimately, I think they’ll move him. I also expect Sweeney will try to get creative with his potential trade moves. As LeBrun speculates, the Bruins GM could trade Eriksson for a package containing a first-round pick, then flip that pick and maybe a prospect to another club for a good young defenseman.
A source claims Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi has decided “the high prices on the thin rental-defenseman market might not be worth it”, though LeBrun doesn’t rule out acquiring one for a modest price. With winger Marian Gaborik sidelined, Lombardi could also add a winger. LeBrun claims Edmonton Oilers winger Teddy Purcell could be among those on their radar.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get the feeling Lombardi’s priority is adding a scoring winger. If he has sufficient cap room after that, he’ll look at an affordable blueliner.
OFFSEASON DEFENSE TARGETS FOR THE LEAFS.
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran lists CSKA Moscow’s Nikita Zaitsev, St. Louis Blues’ Carl Gunnarson, New York Rangers’ Keith Yandle, Dallas Stars’ Alex Goligoski and the San Jose Sharks’ Roman Polak as five defensemen the Toronto Maple Leafs could target in the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs could be well-positioned in cap space this summer to win a bidding war for Yandle, provided he’s willing to join a rebuilding club that’s years away from potential Stanley Cup contention. Ditto Goligoski. I could see the Leafs trying to bring back Polak, but I doubt they’ll be interested in Gunnarsson. Zaitsev could be an interesting move, especially as he reportedly wants to join the Leafs.