NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2017
Latest on Matt Duchene, Drew Doughty, James van Riemsdyk & more in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman weighed in on the latest trade speculation regarding Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene. He believes it “seems certain” the Avalanche could make a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets “very quickly, noting it’s believed the Jackets were close to landing Duchene a couple of times.
Duchene would love to go to the Nashville Predators and Friedman said a couple of players told Friedman earlier this summer about rumors of a Duchene-for-P.K. Subban swap. While the general managers of both clubs decline to comment, Friedman doubts the Preds will move any of their elite defensemen, especially with Ryan Ellis now sidelined until December. He also thinks it’s possible the Avs inquired about Subban, Ellis, Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm but points out asking is different than acquiring.
Friedman’s opinion is Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin is the type of player the Avs could covet. While Hurricanes GM Ron Francis made it clear he doesn’t want to move assets for a player with two years left on his contract, Friedman believes he could be worth the gamble.
Friedman’s colleague Rory Boylen listed the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens as five potential trade destinations for Duchene.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Pierre LeBrun telling Vancouver’s TSN 1040 he expects Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will use his $8.5 million of salary-cap space aggressively in the trade market between now and the Feb. 26, 2018 trade deadline. Talking about players Bergevin might target, LeBrun suggested Duchene could be a terrific fit with the Canadiens.
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports Duchene didn’t take part in the Avs charity golf tournament on Tuesday, fueling speculation over whether he’ll report for training camp on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets are very interested and reportedly proposed a deal earlier this summer with defenseman Ryan Murray as part of the return. However, it’s obvious Avs GM Joe Sakic wants more.
While the Preds may have been keen on Duchene earlier this summer I doubt a deal is possible if Sakic keeps insisting on a quality blueliner as part of the package. Same goes for the Isles, Kings and Canadiens.
The Hurricanes are loaded with good young rearguards but I don’t see Francis parting with any of them for a player who could bolt via free agency in 2019. However, if Duchene’s still available next summer, maybe Francis will consider chasing him via trade if he can re-sign him after July 1.
Friedman also reports it sounds as though the Pittsburgh Penguins have reignited their search for a center but he’s not sure about names. He’s heard rumblings about Detroit Red Wings center Riley Sheahan but not related to the Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sheahan could be an affordable addition for the Penguins, but they could have their eye on other options.
The Vegas Golden Knights have 11 defensemen on one-way contracts. While they’re an ideal trade partner, other clubs could wait until waivers become a factor.
Friedman thinks the Arizona Coyotes is among the teams that contacted unrestricted free agent right wing Jaromir Jagr.
Friedman also isn’t convinced the Toronto Maple Leafs are keen to trade left wing James van Riemsdyk. He wonders if T.J. Oshie’s eight-year, $46 million contract might be a template for the Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Leafs want to keep JVR, but the cost and its effect upon their salary cap payroll and efforts to re-sign rising stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander will be sticking points. The higher the cost of re-signing van Riemsdyk, the less cap space over the next two years for the Leafs to re-sign the others while leaving sufficient room for other signings and additions.
He also cites La Presse’s Richard Labbe reporting Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson saying he and GM Marc Bergevin hold discussions regarding star players including NY Islanders center John Tavares. He points out that’s a perfect illustration of the pressure the Canadiens organization feels.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Molson’s comments doesn’t mean his team is pursuing Tavares. Most team owners and their GMs undoubtedly discuss the stars on other clubs. Still, if Tavares becomes available in the trade market, expect the Habs – and almost every other club – to at least inquire into the asking price.
NHL.COM: Lisa Dillman reports Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty clarified his recent comments suggesting he might move on once his current contract expires if the club isn’t going in the right direction. “I don’t want to go anywhere else,” Doughty said. While acknowledging that he doesn’t care where he plays, he just wants to win the Stanley Cup, Doughty adds it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to keep doing so in Los Angeles. “The bottom line is all I care about is Cups. I don’t want to win a Cup anywhere else but L.A. That’s the bottom line.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Kings continue to struggle and miss the playoffs this season, expect Doughty’s comments and his UFA status in 2019 to be resurrected in trade speculation next summer. His clarification won’t do much to stem that talk unless he re-signs a long-term extension next July.