NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2017
Updates on Matt Duchene, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ben Bishop & more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports pressure is growing upon the Pittsburgh Penguins management to resolve their goaltending situation, noting Matt Murray has had six straight starts over veteran Marc-Andre Fleury. While it’s known that Fleury is available, the Penguins won’t find it easy getting a decent return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Finding a trade partner suitable for Fleury could also be difficult, as he carries a modified no-trade clause. Only two clubs, the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues, could be suitable destinations, but it remains to be seen if a deal can be reached with either club.
While Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene recently acknowledged he’d be open to a trade, Dreger claims that doesn’t mean a trade is imminent, noting Duchene hasn’t requested a trade. He said multiple (“double-digit”) teams are calling about the center, but the asking price is high and general manager Joe Sakic is in no rush to move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still believe trading Duchene is more likely to occur in the offseason, not the trade deadline. If Sakic’s willing to be patient, it could take until this summer for find a suitable deal.
Regarding the Philadelphia Flyers and their pending free-agent goalies Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth, Bob McKenzie said it appears the Flyers will take the entire season to evaluate them. The pair have been inconsistent thus far and there’s been no contract negotiations yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wouldn’t surprise me if Flyers GM Ron Hextall opts to see what he can find via trade or free agency this summer. The Flyers need more consistency in goal and they’re not getting it from their current tandem.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are among the clubs kicking the tires on Matt Duchene, but the asking price is expensive and Sens GM Pierre Dorion isn’t desperate to make a move with his club currently holding a playoff berth. Garrioch also claims that asking price starts with a top-four defenseman, a top prospect and a first-round pick, and there’s indications the Avs could seek even more. He speculates it could cost the Senators defenseman Codi Ceci along with a prospect such as Colin White or Thomas Chabot, but the Sens have no intention of moving Ceci.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the Avs can land a top-four blueliner, a top prospect, a first-round pick and more for Duchene. He’s a very good player, but he’s not worth a king’s ransom. Expect that price to drop this summer. Sakic should be able to get a good return for Duchene, but nothing like what he currently seeks. I don’t see the the Sens parting with Ceci, White or Chabot.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Elliotte Friedman told Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 he believes the Tampa Bay Lightning’s recent trade of defenseman Nikita Nesterov to the Montreal Canadiens could be just the start for both clubs. He cites Montreal media speculating the Nesterov move could mean Canadiens blueliner Nathan Beaulieu could be available.
As for the Bolts, he speculates we could start hearing pending UFA goalie Ben Bishop’s name come up in the rumor mill, listing the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues as possible destinations. He’s not sure if the Philadelphia Flyers would look for a short-term solution like Bishop. Friedman also thinks Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was looking at Arizona Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone, but isn’t sure if Yzerman is interested in adding a rental player now.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels suggests the Nesterov deal could open up some trade possibilities for the Canadiens. He wonders if GM Marc Bergevin might include blueliner Nathan Beaulieu in a package deal for a top-six forward before the March 1 trade deadline, perhaps for a long-term addition such as Colorado’s Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog. Beaulieu is a restricted free agent, but salary-cap issues and the need to re-sign Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov could make him expendable. The improved play of 38-year-old Andrei Markov could earn him another contract with the Habs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin’s proven to be a savvy wheeler-dealer at the trade deadline, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nesterov trade could be setting the stage for the addition of a top-six forward. Because of those issues raised by Engels, he could be looking at a short-term option. Bringing in someone like Duchene or Landeskog could be a tall order, especially if the Avs maintain their high prices for both guys. As for trading Bishop, the Bolts could find themselves facing the same potential difficulty as the Penguins with Fleury. The trade market for goalies is very limited right now.