Latest on the Coyotes and Predators – March 14, 2017

by | Mar 14, 2017 | Rumors | 31 comments

Could the Arizona Coyotes or Nashville Predators pursue Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene this summer?

A look at how the Arizona Coyotes and Nashville Predators might address their depth at center this summer in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan reports the Coyotes will find it challenging replacing departed first-line center Martin Hanzal this summer. The Coyotes could be in line to land the first overall pick in this year’s draft, but there isn’t a generational talent available as there was last year (Auston Matthews) and in 2015 (Connor McDavid). Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are considered the top prospects.

Trade options are also limited. Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers have surfaced in trade rumors this season. There also isn’t much in this summer’s UFA market, with veterans such as Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks and Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators likely to re-sign with their current teams. Other notables include Toronto’s Brian Boyle, Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino, Columbus’ Sam Gagner, Washington’s Daniel Winnik and Edmonton’s David Desharnais. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett believes it’s important for his club to address this issue in the offseason, but that could be easier said than done. They have depth in draft picks and prospects to use as trade bait for a first-line center. Duchene could be the best option, but he’s only under contract for two more years and could bolt via free agency in 2019. Nugent-Hopkins is not a top-line center, better suited for a second- or third-line role.

Thornton and Fisher aren’t going anywhere. As they’re in their late-thirties, it would be a waste of money pursuing either guy. As McLellan notes, the depth in the UFA pool is quite shallow.

Perhaps the Coyotes can target clubs looking to shed salary if the cap ceiling fails to significantly rise. They could also look at teams shopping players they risk losing in the expansion draft. 

THE TENNESSEAN: In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vignan said he doesn’t expected Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher to retire after this season. He feels the Preds will re-sign the pending UFA following the expansion draft on June 21. First-line center and restricted free agent Ryan Johansen will be in line for a raise over his current $6 million cap hit.

Vignan doubts Mike Ribeiro and Vernon Fiddler will be re-signed and notes Calle Jarnkrok faces an uncertain future, depending upon which players the Predators protect in the expansion draft. He believes the Predators should still explore upgrades at center this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators were rumored to have interest in Colorado’s Matt Duchene prior to the trade deadline. Despite the decline in Duchene’s production this season, I think there are general managers who believe his performance will improve with better linemates on a deeper club. Preds GM David Poile could be one of them. 


  1. Duchene has had a tough year, but who hasn’t in Colorado? He will definitely be traded in the off season, but not for what Sakic wants. He needs a change of scenery as the nightmare in Colorado has certainly affected his play. Players are human and stressful situations affect them like anyone else. I would think he would perform better on a better team. However, I would also think his poor performance will affect his trade value as Colorado is not exactly in a position to bill him as a player who makes others better around him. This is ultimately why, in my opinion, that Sakic does not get what he is looking for here.

    • In any negotiation someone is likely to start at the high end of the scale, and with the rumours of moving Duchene mid season limiting the number of teams in the pool Sakic started exactly where he (reportedly or rumoured to) should have. What was Sakic supposed to say Steven? “I don’t think Duchene is working out here and might not be as good as we thought and have tried to move him before but, go ahead make me an offer…” or “Larsson for Hall give me a second pairing D and let’s get this over with!” it’s Sakic job to get the best return he can if he decides to move players, Duchene is a very talented player and just because 1 team makes a certain deal doesn’t mean they all are.

      • I am talking from the other trading partner’s viewpoint their Shticky! If you were a manager would you not come back at Sakic in that manner? Eugene Melnyk was exactly right in his assessment of the situation. Of course Sakic is going to ask for more, but he ain’t gettin’ it!

      • The hall Larson trade set the value of the trade market whether ppl like it or not defense is in very high demand in this era of the nhl

      • Is Larsson a 2nd pairing Dman? I see him playing on the #1 pairing in Edm with Klefbom. The previous 2 season he was a #1 pairing Dman in NJ with Greene. Why the need to pigeon hole in such away?

        Is Seabrooke a 2nd pairing Dman? I guess as he plays on Chicago’s 2nd pairing he is. Lindholm; 2nd pairing. Some teams even have great Dman playing on their 3rd pairings; Brodin; Min, Vatanen; Anh, Halmarsson now in Chi, etc. What a nice luxury to have to be able to play a #1 Dman on your 2nd pairing D, or a #2 on your 3rd pairing. Good teams have these luxuries bad teams don’t.

        Reilly is a #1 pairing Dman, Zaitsev too, are either of these guys #1’s? Certainly not today. Pairing is essentially meaningless & doesn’t necessarily properly reflect abilities.

        You might want to start accepting that Larsson having just turned 24 in November can play against the best players in the world & hold them in check making him 1 of the best shut down Dman in the NHL & he’s 3 to 4 years from reaching his prime for Dman. If you feel the need to persist in disparaging him at least represent the truth. He is & has been a 1st pairing Dman for the last 2 years & was by mid season the year prior to those, which means he was 22 when he became such. That puts him in pretty elite company.

        How’s Hall doing?

      • hall larsson trade did not SET the market, like it or not, but shines a big spotlight into what the market is. too many factors in edm to have them set the market for the whole league but it did show how high a premium gm’s are placing top 4 d men now.

      • Larsson plays against the other teams best night in and night out. While doing that he is plus 15 which is 2nd on the team behind McDavid who is +16.
        Big guy who can move, move the puck smartly, is physical all the time, and wins way more puck battles than he loses. He plays tough.
        Never gonna put up big point totals, but that isn’t what he is paid to do.
        Sounds like a top pairing guy to me. Oh, and is on a very reasonable contract.
        It is too early to measure the trade, but it is difficult to justify Edmonton lost that deal. After 1 year, the opposite is true.
        As PC said after the trade, “this is not a sexy move”. Larsson is a very good, if not sexy, player.

      • I’m not knocking Larsson at all or pigeon holing or whatever other cliche you want to use imo on a good defensive team Larsson would be playing 2/3 minutes. I agree with what most are saying accept that Hall for Larsson means that the whole league is doing that type of deal, there was way more to that trade than a simple hockey trade which most seem to make it out to be. Salary, another LW signed to big money in Lucic, the captain C, attitude, losing culture,… there were many barriers that made it impossible for Chiarelli to get full value for Hall. These factors are not going to be an issue in every trade for every team.

      • Ya Ray I’m not big on +/- in anyway and here’s why

        Gardiner TOI 21:05 +25
        Larsson. TOI 20:12 +15

        By looking at icetime and +/- I’m not sure anyone is helping the argument that Larsson is a top D. Again on a better Defensive team not named Devils or Oilers I don’t think it’s a lock that Larsson is playing on the top pair.

      • That all sounds logical Schticky, and ya totally depends on the team he plays for. Edmonton’s D lacks star power and as of today not a true #1, but deep. Klefbom could become that if he continues to stay healthy like he did this year finally. I do put more stock into +/- than you, when the players are on the same team, and get tough match ups. IE Bergeron in Boston, he puts up good #’s year in and year out against the best of the best, and consistently the Bruins score more than the other team when he is on the ice. That is the point of the game.
        They do have to take empty net goals out of the equation though, that is just plain dumb.

      • Kinda bored Leafs are getting thumped so started thinking of right handed D men I’d likely take over Larsson and ya I guess you could say he is a right handed top pair guy on some teams but over all I’ll stand by what I posted.
        Doughty Burns Karlsson Weber Pietroangelo Carlson Faulk Ekblad Jones Klingberg Hamilton Ellis Parayko
        Trouba Seabrook Subban Letang… This is all just off the top of my head of right handed D I MAY consider over Larsson for one reason or another for top line minutes. As I stated It’s not a knock on Larsson or for sure these guys are all better or anything like that, it’s just there are guys like Larsson who are able to play other teams top lines but are also able to chip in on the offensive side. I’m not sold on just his +/- making him a “top guy” there are around 16 guys (give or take) or teams he is at best on the right side on the second pairing D and Depending on who is on the left side it could be more than that.

      • Your view of top D men tell me you read basic stats and watch little of these guys play. Larsson’s arguably the best shutdown D-man in the league that can also move the puck exceptionally well, his deployment prior to this season was by far the most devastating of any D-man in the league as far as zone starts and quality of competition. While he’s not the “stud” number 1 D-man people envision (of which I personally think maybe only about 5 exist in the league) there’s no doubt he’s top pairing… Half the D-Men you named wouldn’t even be on the ice in the last minute with their team defending a lead, they are not “playing top lines and still chipping in on offence”

      • lol ok Larsson has 52% Which does speak to him being good defensively which I’m not really arguing if your reading comprehension isn’t an issue but it is 52% of the time a little more than half others in that list are close to that if not more Pietroangelo Weber Karlsson (again off the top of my head with out scrolling thru everyone) are all with in a couple % points of that and if his deployment in the D zone makes him top pairing What does that say about a guys like Tanev or Josh Manson or others who play more minutes and have higher DZone% and better possession metrics? shutdown guys are valuable and I agree with that but I don’t think that makes you a top pairing guy. It’s not a knock on Larsson who would definately be playing as a top pairing D onthe Leafs as well, I’m just not sure I’d say for the majority of the NHL he would be no need to get all upset about it. lol

      • So since I have clue I thought I’d look up guys with similar diployment
        Lovejoy dz% 67.7% 20:20
        Suster Dz%. 65% 18:00
        Oduya Dzone 62% 18:47
        Luke Schenn 60% 18:02
        Braun 60 % 20:22
        Tyutin 60% 19:00
        Johnson 60% 21:42
        Georges 60% 18:48
        Bouwmeester 58% 22:23 Savard 57.9% 21:39
        Staal 58.1% 19:11
        Stone 58% 20:00
        Vlasic 57% 23:00
        OEL 56% 24:46
        That’s a lot of guys and I’m barely half way thru the list, so I’m stopping now lol

        Seems like there are some other guys in that list that I wouldn’t consider top pair guys with very similar diployment to Larsson…I’ll continue to stick to what I said Larsson is a second pair RHD for the most part it doesn’t mean he is bad or that I don’t like him.

  2. Shticky.

    It just dawned on me this am that you may have felt that I was implying NJ had the 3rd worst D as they are 3rd worst in the NHL in goal differential. That wasn’t my meaning at all. That was related to our continuing discussion about NJ’s goal differential rising substantially this year with the loss of Larsson.

    As I said then; the start of the year, & numerous times following, the loss of Larsson was going to add 20 to 25 goals in goal differential to NJ this season, the reason I had them finishing 14th in the East to start the season.

    You felt this would be off set by the increased goals scored by the addition of Hall. I didn’t. I felt Hall simply replaced someone else & there was no guarantee their goal scoring would necessarily increase at all. It hasn’t in fact they are going to score less goals this season with Hall over last season.

    There is no way to quantify most stats in the NHL. Not all are equal making many subjective. My assumption of NJ’s D is such. The only 2 teams in the NHL I consider to be as bad at D are Colorado & Dallas.

    • not to go all george on you but did you just imply that you woke up thinking about schticky and the devils?


      • I know weird. It actually popped into my head out of no where at the Calgary Pittsburgh game last night.

        I may go at it with George & Shticky but I enjoy their content & input. Shticky & I agree often. George & I not so much but I like the debate. It wouldn’t make for much of a discussion if we agreed all the time. I just wish George wouldn’t make it so personal as ofetn as he does.

        I try to let as much go as I can but sometimes enough is enough. No better play to debate what’s going on with hockey.

  3. Duchene in 2009 led all rookies with 55 points in 81 games and had 70 points in 2013-2014. Other than that not much to write about. Scorers need to score or what are they worth, absolutely nothing. Unless he is injured no excuse… 36 points year to date and nothing in the month of March ! Off season no -brutal season yes. McKinnon seems to have managed. Rantanen is doing well as a rookie. If Duchene is a part of their leadership group, where is he ?

    • Duchene has 2 more goals & 6 less points than MacKinnon. I can’t explain why what few scorers Colorado has aren’t scoring, nor can I explain how you can ice McKinnon, Landeskog, Duchene, Barrie & Rantanen on a power play & it can’t score.

      I can kind of grasp the lack of even strength scoring, Colorado is very easy team to check but on the power play?


      I’m going to chalk it up as an aberration & move on. It happens. It’s rare but it does happen occasionally. We have certainly seen it before.

      I’m opposed to Colorado moving Duchene or Landeskog. Colorado has so few NHL caliber players they need to keep the 1’s they have unless the offer is simply to good to refuse.

    • Best way to explain Duchene then vs now…… Avs-Stastny&O’Reilly= More focus on other players, Other players=Duchene
      Tough Checking=☹️Soft players.
      Tough Cecking+Duchene=☹️
      Duchene=Soft Player
      Did I just invent new advanced stats??

  4. We can debate the upside or or backstep by Duchene for months, but the fact that so many of these highly rated and low drafted junior players get fat deals while they are still on the job trainning and not bridge deals end up making the keep or trade part of their futures even more complicated.
    Teams have to either turn over little, or be very comfortable that the “Duchene” they are trading for, paying to be one of your future elite core guys IS going to succeed to reach that level, or your CAP hit on them becomes an albatross.
    Kyle Turris might be an example, also. Evander Kane is still the poster boy for paying franchise core money too early.
    My point is all interested teams may proceed al variuos levels of caution…the teams already in the hunt to win, will be careful because of the hit and the cost…teams that have had their wheels spinning without tangible success for a few years may be more readily willing to get sold on a Duchene and pay the trade price.
    Just saying it is complicated.

    • Duchene is clearly a good player as evidenced by his repeated selection to and success as part of various Team Canada’s, but…

      He is a poster child for why you can’t allow your young players to fester too long in a losing culture. I think four years on a bad team is about the max before the rot sets in.

      Once a player learns and accepts that life goes on after a loss, he is permanently disadvantaged against players who still hate losing.

      That’s the best argument for trading him and Landeskog. Get them out of there before they spread the rot to McKinnon and Rantanen.

      I think the Oilers should move RNH and Eberle for the same reason, even if it means accepting what is perceived as a lesser return.

    • Kyle Turris?! He is one of the best value contracts in the league not on an entry level contract. How is $3.5M/year for a very good 2C a bad deal? He will get $5.5M-6M on his next contract starting after the 2017/2018 season.

      • My point was Turris was traded because he wanted a non bridge demanded trade and his team took less, and Ottawa was able to get Turris to take less to fit, so both sides worked…the landed on the OTHER side of the advancing player budget…he point was more about the way a team better know what they are getting into.
        Turris, not a star, luckilyy isn’t getting paid like one, YET.

  5. Obviously, trying to predict random trades months in advance is a fool’s errand, but…

    I wouldn’t be at all shocked if (after the expansion draft) the Predators made a trade to reacquire Patric Hornqvist.

    His role has slowly but surely been reduced and I don’t see the Pens keeping beyond the end of his deal which has just next year left.

    Meanwhile, Craig Smith has really bombed out as a secondary scorer and Poile always loved Hornqvist, he just wanted Neal.

    • pens certainly have enough young players filling the top 6 in guentzel, sheary, rust to afford to move horny… if sprong is the player he seems he might be that is your top 6. Now there is a possible trade candidate for maatta… get one of their top 4 d back for maatta and horny.

      • That would be intriguing. Could they get a guy like Ekholm for Maatta and Hornqvist?

        Seems pretty reasonable given Nashville would have little trouble extending Horny.

        Ekholm has a great contract and fits the Crosby/Malkin window perfectly.

        Nashville gets a top 6 winger they know fits there and that’s the right team for Olli to reach his potential. They could slowly coach him up the way they did with Josi and Ekholm and even Ellis.

        I like that for both teams.

  6. Now the only time I have watch the Avalanche this season it was when the Oilers played them. But when I look at their roster I see a lot of similarities to the Oilers a couple years ago. A lot of young skilled players, and some of these skill guys have size but they are also young, but they don’t have the big top 6 big guy that will clear space in front of the net and make room for the skilled players. Sorry but Colborne is not the that guy. That is just my opinion.

  7. Call me crazy but would it behoove PITTSBURGH to offer Malkin up to AZ if they get the #1 and take back a Duclair/Strome and plus? AZ (all assuming Gino ok’s the move for argument sake) gets a stud #1…Pitts builds behind Crosby and rounds out the roster.

    • two headed monster is why pens can field a top 6 rounded out with 1st and 2nd year contracts. sheary is good, so is guentzel, rust, etc. but only top line material becuase of malkin and crosby. you just cant replace that kind of talent.

    • I will do my absolutely best to not just hit the “L” and “O” keys over and over in response to this idea.


      Geno isn’t going anywhere. This comes directly from Mario’s lips to Josh Yohe’s ears.