Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 2, 2017
Updates on Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Tyler Johnson, Jaromir Jagr and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently reported NHL executives claim center Nathan MacKinnon isn’t as untouchable as he used to be for the Colorado Avalanche. He cited pro scouts claiming the Avs will listen to trade proposals for anyone except maybe young winger Mikko Rantanen.
As for Matt Duchene, the drop-off in his production (two goals in his last 38 games, one point in his last 18) means the Avs would be trading low this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon would attract considerable in the trade market and could fetch them that high return (a good young defenseman or goaltender, a first-round pick, top prospect and more) that they’re reportedly seeking for Duchene. However, he’s also the closest thing they have to a franchise player and I don’t believe they’ll move him. Doesn’t hurt to listen to offers but they’re unlikely to get something that will convince them to move MacKinnon.
The decline in Duchene’s production this season won’t hurt interest in him from other clubs who believe he’ll quickly regain his scoring touch on a deeper roster. However, his play this season could adversely affect his trade value. He certainly won’t get that big return the Avs sought before the trade deadline.
Matheson also speculated Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson could become trade bait for a defenseman this summer. The solid play of rookie center Brayden Point and the club’s salary-cap concerns for next season could make Johnson, a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, expendable.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson’s name surfaced in the rumor mill in January. While he has a recent injury history, he also has a good reputation as a clutch scorer. He could bring in that top-four defenseman the Lightning need. They could offer him to teams with blueline depth, such as the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild.
The decline in Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli’s production this season could hurt his efforts to get a significant pay raise this summer. Like Johnson, he’s an RFA with arbitration rights but his goal scoring dropped from 31 to 14 this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli’s decline is solely because of the 19 games he missed with a lower-body injury. He played all 82 games last season. The Kings won’t hold that injury against him in contract talks.
Matheson wondered if the Vegas Golden Knight would take a chance on Buffalo Sabres winger Tyler Ennis, who has two years left on his contract ($4.6 million annually) and needs a change of scenery.
TORONTO SUN: Florida Panthers 45-year-old right wing Jaromir Jagr says he’d like to play until he’s 50, but Steve Simmons is hearing Jagr could have some difficulty getting a new contract next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jagr has a respectable 43 points in 78 games this season, but that’s down from the 66 he netted in 2015-16. Of course, it didn’t help that regular linemates Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau missed considerable time to injury this season. The Panthers could bring Jagr back on another one-year deal in hopes that healthier linemates could boost his production.
Simmons also said there’s talk the Los Angeles Kings could replace general manager Dean Lombardi and head coach Darryl Sutter after this season.
SPORTSNET: Kelly Hurdey reported earlier last week hearing the New York Islanders asked permission from the Florida Panthers to speak with executive and interim GM Dale Tallon. The Isles won’t comment on rumors, while Elliotte Friedman said the Panthers claim they haven’t been asked permission from another club to speak with Tallon.