NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2017
The Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins could be talking trade, plus the latest on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators in your NHL rumor mill.
BLEACHER REPORT’s Adrian Dater recently put out a series of tweets reporting he’s heard the Boston Bruins had talks with the Colorado Avalanche regarding left wing Gabriel Landeskog. He claims Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic wanted promising defenseman Brandon Carlo as part of the return but the Bruins declined, countering with unproven blueliner Jakub Zboril. Dater believes “Zboril, (Joe) Morrow, (Jake) DeBrusk and Bruins #1 pick could be part of a potential package.”
THE BOSTON GLOBE’S Kevin Paul Dupont, however, pointed out that “Landeskog cap hit is $5.5 million. Bruins can’t absorb it without moving a body or two.”
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty believes the slumping Bruins management must make a major move by either replacing head coach Claude Julien or swinging a major trade. He acknowledged the trade chatter linking the Bruins to Landeskog, but believes the Bruins will find it difficult to part with Carlo.
THE DENVER POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Chambers said he doesn’t think anyone on the Avalanche is untouchable. He doubts Nathan MacKinnon and Miko Rantanen are going anywhere, “but you never know.” He believes the Avs won’t move a core player unless it’s for a substantial return. Chambers expects pending UFAs, such as Jarome Iginla, John Mitchell, Rene Bourque and Fedor Tyutin, will be unloaded but doesn’t expect the Avs to get much for them. Outside of MacKinnon, he feels center Matt Duchene could fetch the best return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landeskog to the Bruins seems an ideal fit for both clubs. The Bruins get a physical scoring forward to bring in some much-need offensive depth, while the Avs should get a package of promising blueline prospects. However, the key is Carlo and I really don’t see the Bruins parting with him. The speculation is Sakic wants a good young defenseman or top defensive prospects as part of the return for Landeskog. If the Bruins aren’t willing to part with Carlo, I don’t see a deal there. I daresay the Bruins aren’t the only team Sakic could be talking to regarding a possible trade. And as Dupont points out, the Bruins must find a way to free up cap space for Landeskog’s contract.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, James Mirtle said he’s reasonably confident forwards James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak do not fit into the Toronto Maple Leafs’ future plans. However, he doesn’t expect they’ll be moved by the March 1 trade deadline. With the Leafs in playoff contention, they don’t want to pull apart the roster and limp through the final weeks of the season. As for the possibility of the Leafs pursuing St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk via free agency in July, Mirtle thinks they should pass on such a potentially expensive commitment.
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen wonders if the Leafs will try to acquire a defenseman via trade this season. Such a move, however, could be expensive, speculating it could cost someone like van Riemsdyk or William Nylander to land a top-four blueliner. Boylen also cites Elliotte Friedman expressing doubt the Leafs would pursue a rental player, such as Arizona Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone, as they continue to look at the long-term picture.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs move JVR and Bozak, it’ll be this summer, not while they’re in the thick of a playoff chase. Indeed, I can see them becoming buyers, but only for the right player at the right price. They won’t sacrifice futures for a quick fix, so forget about Nylander being dealt. Still, I expect they’ll keep an eye on the trade market to see which defensemen become available.
ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the Tampa Bay Lightning’s depth at forward will affect their expansion draft plans. In order to protect forwards such as Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn, Jonathan Drouin, Vladislav Namestnikov and J.T. Brown, they could try to move Valtteri Filppula or Ryan Callahan. He notes Filppula, Callahan and Steven Stamkos must be protected because they carry no-movement clauses. He speculates the Lightning could try to convince Filppula or Callahan to waive their clause to either accept a trade or to be left unprotected in the expansion draft.
LIGHTNING INSIDER: Erik Erlendsson believes the Lightning’s current struggles means the time for changes may be at hand. He feels the excuse of injuries to key players can only go so far. Erlendsson doesn’t feel it’s time for a coaching change yet. He points out the Bolts are in “dire need” of help on defense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is Filppula will be asked to waive his movement clause, either before the trade deadline or in mid-June. As for possible changes now, the Bolts are still very close to a playoff spot. I don’t see GM Steve Yzerman making any panic moves, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s closely monitoring the trade market in search of blueline depth.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan believes Arizona Coyotes center Michael Hanzal would be a good fit with the Senators. “The 6-foot-6, 226-pound Czech would give Ottawa some much-needed size up the middle,” said Brennan, who also praised Hanzal’s two-way play. If they want him, Brennan advocates pursuing a deal soon, as he’ll attract considerable attention as the March 1 trade deadline approaches.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The problem with pursuing Hanzal now is the Coyotes apparently want a good young player who can help them right now in return. Senators GM Pierre Dorion’s been working the phones in recent weeks, but deals are very hard to come by right now. Hanzal’s injury history should also raise a “buyer beware” flag.