NHL Rumor Mill – February 13, 2017
Latest on the Avalanche, Bruins, Ducks, Jets and Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.
THE DENVER POST/THE BOSTON GLOBE: The Post’s Terri Frei and the Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa report Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic is scouting in Boston as the March 1 trade deadline approaches. Sakic was spotted on Sunday during the Bruins’ 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens chatting with Bruins GM Don Sweeney in the press box at TD Garden.
Sakic will also be watching today’s Beanpot Final between Boston University and Harvard, which features four Bruins prospects. One of them is BU defenseman Charlie McAvoy. Frei also notes Sakic will be joining his club through swings later this week in Buffalo and Carolina to face the Sabres and Hurricanes. The latter has several notable young defensemen who could be of interest to Sakic, as he reportedly wants to bolster his blueline.
Shinzawa observes notable Avs forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog could be available. Both are under contract beyond this season and Sweeney prefers long-term help for his club. Shinzawa believes landing such players could cost the Bruins a young player, a draft pick and a prospect. He doubts players “such as Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano, Peter Cehlarik, and Colin Miller” will tempt Sakic, but young defenseman Brandon Carlo could be a trade target for the Avs GM. Given the Bruins need for left wing depth, Shinzawa speculates they might take a run at Landeskog.
ORANGE COUNTRY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports the Anaheim Ducks depth in good young defensemen should make GM Bob Murray a popular man as the March 1 trade deadline approaches. Cam Fowler remains coveted (he was linked to Buffalo and Detroit) but he’s essential to the Ducks’ hopes for a long playoff run. Stephens observes the Ducks need more scoring punch and points out Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic attended a recent Ducks game against the Florida Panthers. He suggests Gabriel Landeskog would provide an immediate boost at left wing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s no surprise that Sakic’s scouting trips are generating interest. The Avs were linked to the Bruins in the rumor mill for months. Something could be percolating between these two clubs. A blockbuster move at the trade deadline seems unlikely, but we cannot dismiss the possibility.
If Sakic moves Landeskog or Duchene, I suspect he’d prefer shipping them to an Eastern club. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t listen if the Ducks were to make a tempting offer.
I believe the Hurricanes could be a better trade partner for the Av. They have depth in good young blueliners, a need for a scoring forward and the cap space to take on an expensive long-term contract. Of course, that depends upon what Hurricanes GM Ron Francis wants to do.
The Sabres, meanwhile, are also in the market for a top-four defenseman. I don’t see a fit there with the Avs.
WINNIPEG SUN:Ken Wiebe reports goaltender Connor Hellebuyck remains an important part of the Winnipeg Jets’ future, but wonders if they’ll either add an established starting goalie, acquire one who can split the duties with Hellebuyck, or bring in a seasoned backup via the trade deadline or free agency. Wiebe lists Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, Ottawa’s Mike Condon, Philadelphia’s Michal Neuvirth, Chicago’s Scott Darling, Los Angeles’ Peter Budaj or Calgary’s Brian Elliott as possible free-agent options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop will cost a lot of money (perhaps $7 million annually) as a free agent and he does have an injury history, but he’s also a former Vezina Trophy finalist who backstopped the Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. If the Jets are willing to pay and if Bishop is willing to come to Winnipeg, he could be their best bet.
I expect Condon will be re-signed by the Senators. Neuvirth’s had some injury and consistency issues in his career. Darling or Budaj could be a solid pickup for the Jets. Elliott’s really struggled this season in Calgary and his stock has plummeted.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie reports the Pittsburgh Penguins could add some blueline depth by the trade deadline. While a significant splash by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford seems unlikely, Bombulie reminds us Rutherford “sent Simon Despres to Anaheim for Ben Lovejoy and Robert Bortuzzo to St. Louis for Ian Cole” near the 2015 deadline and last year “picked up Trevor Daley from Chicago for Rob Scuderi and Justin Schultz from Edmonton for a third-round pick.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Rutherford swings a big trade before the deadline, but I can see him making a depth move or two.