NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2017
Latest on the Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Bob McKenzie telling Vancouver’s TSN 1040 that something’s got to give for the struggling Colorado Avalanche. He believes a trade is more likely, but declined to suggest which moves the Avs could make. McKenzie believes they’re considering all options.
While noting defense is a concern, McKenzie cautions that trading a core forward such as Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene or Nathan MacKinnon to address that need could create a problem elsewhere in the lineup.
McKenzie’s colleague Darren Dreger told Montreal’s TSN 690 he suspects Avalanche GM Joe Sakic is more inclined to move Duchene than Landeskog. He does note there was talk regarding Landeskog between Sakic and a Western Conference GM before last year’s draft lottery, suggesting a defenseman going to the Avs as part of a package, but the talk fizzled out.
Dreger doesn’t rule out a major trade for someone like Duchene by the March 1 trade deadline for the right collection of draft picks or young prospects.
JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Yvon Pedneault reports Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is monitoring the trade market for any potential depth to add to his defense or at center. Pedneault suggests the Avalanche could be an interesting target for Bergevin.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Avs have told teams not to ask about MacKinnon or promising Mikko Rantanen. He claims the asking price for Duchene is quite high. The Avs seek “legit young defencemen or defensive prospects.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duchene or Landeskog could be dealt by the March 1 trade deadline. However, there aren’t many teams with the depth in young blueliners with the cap space to take on either contract. Duchene’s annual cap hit is $6 million, Landeskog’s $5.5 million. As I’ve recently observed, the Carolina Hurricanes are the only team that suitably fits the bill, but there’s no certainty GM Ron Francis wants to part with any of his young blueliners. If either guy is dealt, I still think it’ll happen near the June draft.
Friedman also reports the Chicago Blackhawks are seeking someone to play alongside center and team captain Jonathan Toews as winger Marian Hossa battles injury.
BLEACHER REPORT’s Adrian Dater reports via Twitter the Blackhawks are considering Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla as a depth addition in case Hossa or another player is sidelined.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks don’t have a lot of cap space right now and Iginla’s cap hit is $5.5 million. They might have to wait until the trade deadline to squeeze him under their cap ceiling.
TSN: Darren Dreger wonders what could be in store for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the March trade deadline if they’re in contention for a playoff berth. Do they ship out key assets, such as forwards James van Riemsdyk, Leo Komarov and Tyler Bozak, for a return that bolsters their future?
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs are still jockeying for a playoff spot by March 1, I doubt they’ll ship out those guys. If anything, I could see them shopping for one or two affordable (in both salary and return) rental players. Should the Leafs decide to move those players, I suspect they’ll wait until the offseason when they’ll get a better return.