NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2016
Latest on Matt Duchene, Ondrej Pavelec and Mark Fayne plus an update on the Buffalo Sabres in your NHL rumor mill.
EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson reports the New York Islanders looked into acquiring Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene earlier this season, but the asking price was too high. He presumes the Avs were looking at “Matt Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier and Travis Hamonic.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Avs decide to move Duchene, they will set a high asking price. Trading a player of his caliber usually doesn’t happen in-season.
If the Oilers aren’t comfortable with backups Jonas Gustavsson or Laurent Brossoit before the March 1 trade deadline, Matheson suggests they inquire about former Winnipeg Jets starter Ondrej Pavelec, who’s currently toiling for the Jets’ AHL affiliate, as a rental backup. Pavelec is an unrestricted free agent in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad suggestion, but if the Jets remain in playoff contention, they could hang onto Pavelec as insurance down the stretch.
With the New Jersey Devils scrambling on defense, Matheson wonders if they might take back Oilers blueliner Mark Fayne. With a year remaining on Fayne’s contract worth $3.625 million, he doubts that’s possible.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doubt it. While the Devils have over $8.8 million in cap space for this season and over $20 million for 2017-18, Fayne’s declining play and cap hit makes it unlikely they’ll want him back.
FANRAG.COM: Chris Nichols cited a recent appearance by NHL insider Pierre LeBrun on Montreal’s TSN 690 where he discussed the plight of the Buffalo Sabres. While LeBrun still believes Sabres winger Evander Kane could be had for the right price, the club won’t just give him away. He believes the Sabres would like to acquire help on the blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres are still willing to trade Kane, I suspect that move will have to wait until the offseason. Interested clubs will want to see how well he performs over the remainder of this season. Even then, the Sabres could find it difficult acquiring a defenseman to help their blueline.