NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2018
Updates on James van Riemsdyk, Brandon Saad, Martin Hanzal and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN RADIO: Appearing on Leafs Lunch, NHL analyst Pierre LeBrun was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs could move one of their top veterans such as James van Riemsdyk. LeBrun said he hasn’t heard van Riemsdyk’s name in the rumor mill, though if such a move took place it could be at the March trade deadline or the offseason. He said if that’s the price to pay to upgrade their defense, it’s not out of the question.
LeBrun said he was mildly surprised “JVR” wasn’t named an alternate captain, though he stressed not to read too much into that. Dave Poulin said he didn’t see van Riemsdyk as a “letter” guy, as he’s someone who just wants to play his game without the added stress of an alternate captain role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see van Riemsdyk going anywhere this season. With 15 points in 16 games, he’s off to a terrific start. That being said, if an offer of a top-two defenseman was made for JVR, I think the Leafs could seriously consider it. However, this would more likely be a move that gets made next summer.
TSN: cites a tweet from Newsday’s Arthur Staple saying the New York Islanders are “trying hard” to make a deal for a forward. Staple also noted the Isles and Colorado Avalanche had recently scouted each other’s rosters but he feels a major deal between the two clubs, involving someone like Avs center Matt Duchene, is unlikely. Staple wonders if Islanders GM Garth Snow might give up one of his top prospects for a high-end forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles don’t really have a lot to part with other than those promising young players and prospects. You’ve gotta give to get. Like so many teams this season, the Isles have limited cap space, so any deal at this point will have to be dollar-for-dollar.
SPORTSNET: Eliotte Friedman reports a high turnout of NHL scouts for Evander Kane’s recent return to the Buffalo Sabres lineup. He claims the Sabres want to move Kane, but haven’t yet received an offer worth getting excited over. The Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild are linked to the Sabres winger in the rumor mill, though Friedman said he’s getting denials about the Wild’s interest, though he thinks they’re looking to add a forward.
Friedman wonders about the status of Columbus Blue Jackets winger Brandon Saad, who was nearly a healthy scratch last week. The Blue Jackets need to ease their cap crunch. He claims Chicago investigated it last season but couldn’t make things work.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d be very surprised if Saad hits the trade block so soon after the Jackets acquired him in June 2015. Still, stranger things have happened. If the Jackets really feel moving him is the only route toward some much-needed cap relief, so be it.
The New York Islanders are seeking help at forward. Friedman doubts they want to move their talented prospects. He’s also uncertain over how serious the Isles are about trading goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who’s started six of their last seven games.
The Ottawa Senators have let it be known backup goalie Andrew Hammond’s available.
One NHL GM interested in acquiring a goaltender is waiting to see what the Pittsburgh Penguins do with Marc-Andre Fleury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That GM could be waiting until next June. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford appears content to keep the tandem of Fleury and Matt Murray intact this season.
Friedman believes the Calgary Flames want to add a defenseman who plays with a bit of an edge. He also wonders if the Detroit Red Wings might be interested in Flames blueliner Dougie Hamilton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good point about the Wings. As Friedman noted, they struck out in their pursuit of Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk last summer. Given their lack of cap space, it’ll have to be a dollar-out, dollar-in deal
The Arizona Coyotes let it be known they don’t intend to trade pending unrestricted free agent center Martin Hanzal unless they get a young player in return who can help them right away, preferably a center. Friedman said there sounds like quite a bit of interest in Hanzal, and he could see the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks having interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Hanzal becoming available in the trade market until late-January at the earliest, if at all. He could agree to a short-term deal to remain with the Coyotes.