NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – February 24, 2017
Updates on the Sabres, Flyers, Penguins and Flames in your latest NHL rumor update.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Bucky Gleason reports Sabres winger Evander Kane’s dominant performance since early-December has his trade value soaring. Gleason feels several teams could try to acquire Kane before the trade deadline. He feels the disparity between the Sabres’ asking price and the offers they’ll get could make a deal unlikely, but still believes Sabres GM Tim Murray should listen to offers.
While Kane has terrific chemistry with young center Jack Eichel and is playing well of late, it remains to be seen if he’ll maintain his current level of production. A free agent in July 2018 carrying a $5.25 million cap hit, Kane could also prove too expensive to re-sign. Ultimately, Gleason feels Murray should retain Kane until he gets an offer too good to refuse.
John Vogl reports the return the Carolina Hurricanes received from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Ron Hainsey (a second-round pick) and what the Arizona Coyotes got back from the Calgary Flames for Michael Stone (a third rounder in 2017 and a conditional fifth in 2018) gives them an idea of the market value of blueliners Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson. The Hurricanes and Coyotes also retained salary in those deals, something the Sabres could also do to move Kulikov or Franson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres probably won’t make the playoffs this season. If they can get a good offer for Kane now, move him and look for a replacement via this summer’s trade or free-agent markets. Kane has a history of being a streaky scorer. Best to strike now while his value has improved. As for Kulikov and Franson, the former likely has more trade value and could attract interest from clubs that lose out in the Kevin Shattenkirk sweepstakes.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio cites an NHL source claims the Colorado Avalanche would love to do a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Avs are believed to be shopping either Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog. Panaccio says they’re looking for a top forward and defensive help, pointing out the Flyers have a slew of young defensemen and not all of them will be able to play in Philadelphia.
The Los Angeles Kings have also been scouting the Flyers. Panaccio said they’re seeking a left wing for Anze Kopitar’s line, but the Flyers don’t have any to spare. The Kings could also be in the market for a backup goalie if Jonathan Quick’s return to action is delayed. Panaccio also said scouts are saying there’s a market for goaltender Michal Neuvirth if the Flyers wish to move him now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flyers want to add Duchene or Landeskog, they must free up over $6 million in cap room. They don’t have a lot of space to work with. That means they’ll have to move a young salaried blueliner. The Avs won’t be interested in aging Mark Streit or pending UFAs Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz. And I doubt they’ll take Andrew MacDonald and his $5 million cap hit off the Flyers hands. The Avalanche probably have their eye on promising Ivan Provorov, but I can’t see the Flyers parting with him.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said Thursday night his club will decide within the next 24 hours if they’ll add another defenseman. The Penguins yesterday acquired blueliner Ron Hainsey from the Carolina Hurricanes. Rutherford also isn’t considering placing sidelined rearguards Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley on long-term injured reserve. While such a move would give the Penguins flexibility to spend over the $73 million cap ceiling, it could also take them out of the lineup for the remainder of the regular season. Rutherford expects both could be ready to return to the lineup before season’s end.
Rutherford also isn’t budging from his stated intent to retain goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for the remainder of the season. Fleury, meanwhile, said he’s not going to do anything to force a trade. Mackey also thinks Rutherford could still have something big up his sleeve for the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury could still be moved, but I think at this point the odds are against it. Young starter Matt Murray’s been sidelined a couple of times already this season. Best to keep Fleury around as insurance. If Rutherford wants to add another defenseman or swing a big move, he’ll either have to bury some salary in the minors or move out a salaried player. He doesn’t have much cap room to work with right now.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman won’t stand in management’s way if they find a trade partner for his services. Wideman has a full no-movement clause but is open to waiving it. So far, he hasn’t been approached about it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wideman’s also carrying a $5.25 million cap hit for this season. The Flames will have to pick up part of it in order to move him. Since the Flames acquired Michael Stone from Arizona and sign Matt Bartkowski earlier this week, Wideman’s become the odd man out on their blueline.