NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2016
Latest on Gabe Landeskog, Dougie Hamilton (yes, again!), Anthony Duclair, Kris Russell and more in your NHL rumor mill.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports of “rumblings” the Colorado Avalanche would trade left wing and captain Gabe Landeskog for a quality defenseman. For those dismissing that notion, he reminds us of last summer’s Taylor Hall-for-Adam Larsson deal. He wonders about offering Landeskog to the New York Islanders for Travis Hamonic, or to the Anaheim Ducks for Cam Fowler. He also claims there’s a belief Avs center Matt Duchene could also be available for a “minute-munching young defenseman.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the Avs recent loss, GM Joe Sakic claimed he wasn’t planning on any major changes, insisting he still believes in the club’s core players. Landeskog and Duchene belong to that group. However, if they don’t improve soon, Sakic could reconsider his position.
Matheson believes the Pittsburgh Penguins will try to move goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury before the March 1 trade deadline. He wonders if Fleury might accept a trade to the Buffalo Sabres, where he’ll be reunited with former Pens coach Dan Bylsma.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stranger things have happened, but I suspect the Penguins would prefer dealing Fleury to a Western Conference club, such as Calgary or Dallas.
If the Calgary Flames were to trade Dougie Hamilton for a scoring forward, where do they find another blueliner? Dennis Wideman is an unrestricted free agent next summer and Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie are their only defensive locks.
Don’t bet on Arizona Coyotes right wing Shane Doan seeking a trade at the NHL deadline.
Matheson also wonders what the Edmonton Oilers will do with defenseman Kris Russell, who’s helped stabilize their blueline this season. Russell’s a UFAnext summer, but if the Oilers re-sign him, they’ll have to protect him in next June’s expansion draft. Matheson suggests the possibility of the Oilers and Russell reaching a verbal agreement on a new contract and waiting until after the draft to announce it. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights could pass on Russell if he’s still unsigned before the draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers go that route, it could be a costly decision. League deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that teams who violate the rules of the expansion draft would lose their first-round draft pick. A verbal agreement with a pending UFA could be interpreted as skirting those rules.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports the Arizona Coyotes offered up winger Anthony Duclair and a draft pick to the Calgary Flames for defenseman Dougie Hamilton during the 2016 NHL Draft. The offer was swiftly rejected by the Flames. Dreger claims the Coyotes continue to make the 21-year-old Duclair available. He’s currently struggling through his sophomore season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting change on the Duclair situation, as it was originally believed the Coyotes were listening to offers but not shopping him. It was thought they’d want a good young player, preferably a center, in exchange for Duclair. If they were willing to move him back in June, it suggests general manager John Chayka doesn’t have much confidence in the young winger. It was Chakya’s predecessor (Don Maloney) who acquired Duclair as part of the return for shipping Keith Yandle to the Rangers in 2014-15.
Pierre LeBrun reports the Ottawa Senators aren’t interested in Duclair but are working the phones in search of a bottom-six forward.
LeBrun also notes the Dallas Stars depth in young defensemen could attract interest from other clubs over the course of the season. For now, the Stars are content to wait until everyone’s healthy before deciding on possible moves going forward.
THE ATHLETIC: David Alter speculates the Toronto Maple Leafs could need an improvement in their backup goaltender if Jhonas Enroth continues to struggle. So far, Enroth is 0-3-1 with a save percentage of.872.