NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2017
Latest on the Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens & more in your NHL Rumor Mill.
SPORTSNET: In his recent “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes are the only two clubs that consider themselves out of playoff contention. The Coyotes have set high asking prices for their players, as have the Avalanche with players carrying term on their contracts.
He said the Avs are starting to get inquiries about pending free agents such as Rene Bourque, Jarome Iginla, John Mitchell and Fedor Tyutin, who could be more affordable.
Friedman considers the Carolina Hurricanes a logical trading partner for the Avalanche. The Hurricanes carry depth in good young defensemen. Avs forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene are carrying term on their contracts, which is usually what the Hurricanes prefer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Friedman regarding the Hurricanes as possible trade partners for the Avs. In addition to their depth in young blueliners, they also have sufficient cap space to take on someone such as Duchene, who could fill their need for a true top-line center.
Friedman claims “Chicago, Los Angeles and Ottawa” are looking for a forward. Tampa Bay seeks “something to send a jolt through the roster” He believes the Boston Bruins “are clearly ready to do something.” The Bruins recently rejected a deal with the Avalanche that would’ve involved parting with promising blueliner Brandon Carlo. It’s the second time they’ve done that, as Carlo was thought to be part of the Winnipeg Jets’ asking price for Jacob Trouba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s obvious the Bruins won’t part with Carlo. They need secondary scoring and have plenty of promising blueline prospects to offer up as trade bait, apart from the untouchable Charlie McAvoy.
Friedman also believes the Montreal Canadiens could be involved in the trade market. He notes colleague Nick Kypreos recently claimed Habs center Tomas Plekanec could be shopped by the deadline if his play doesn’t improve. However, Friedman notes Plekanec is the Habs’ most trusted defensive center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plekanec is also signed through next season at a cap hit of $6 million. If he’s a declining player, I don’t see many teams being interested in that contract at the trade deadline.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Colorado Avalanche seek “a top-level defenseman, a first-round pick plus” for Landeskog. He claims talk around the league is that’s an outrageous ask, as Landeskog is seen more as a second-line winger.
Pierre LeBrun feels there’s a better chance the Avs make their serious moves in the offseason regarding Landeskog or perhaps Matt Duchene. He believes they must decide if this is a full teardown or simply a retooling.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of when the Avs make a significant move or their decisions on their future roster plans, they’re not getting a top-level defenseman, a first-round pick and more for Landeskog. They won’t get that for Duchene. They might get that for Nathan MacKinnon, provided they’re willing to part with him.
LeBrun notes the Minnesota Wild are very deep at defense and prefer to keep it that way, but they stand to lose a good player via the expansion draft in June. However, GM Chuck Fletcher won’t trade a defenseman before the trade deadline. He feels they could be in the market for a forward, but not at the expense of one of their blueliners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Wild playing well, Fletcher obviously doesn’t want to hurt his blueline chemistry this season. I suspect he’ll take his chances in the offseason.