NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2017
Updates on the Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Penguins and Islanders in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: In his recent “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Frediman expressed surprise that Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson remains without a contract. It’s believed the Jackets seek a three-year deal to protect against Anderson’s upcoming salary arbitration eligibility but the two sides aren’t close to agreement on value. It’s thought the Colorado Avalanche sought Anderson as part of a return for center Matt Duchene but the Jackets refused.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets may have rejected including Anderson in a package deal for Duchene, but if this situation drags on, I wonder if they might reconsider. As the standoff continues, Anderson’s representatives have contacted Hockey Canada about the 2018 Winter Olympics. If he remains unsigned, he could be eligible to play for Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey team.
Friedman speculates the longer it takes the Detroit Red Wings to re-sign winger Andreas Athanasiou, the more a trade between the Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins could be contingent on signing him. It’s believed the Penguins are eyeing Red Wings center Riley Sheahan and Friedman wonders if Pens defenseman Derrick Pouliot might be part of the deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey reports Pens general manager Jim Rutherford’s been impressed by centers “Teddy Blueger, Adam Johnson and Greg McKegg, along with potential fourth-line pivot, Jay McClement” during training camp thus far. Rutherford isn’t ruling out trading for a center perhaps it’s not the certainty it appeared to be a couple of weeks ago.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently suggested New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak could be a viable option for contenders seeking depth between the pipes. He feels the Isles have incentive to give Halak a chance for a fresh start this season, either to improve his trade value or if current starter Thomas Greiss struggles or becomes sidelined.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Halak needs a strong bounce-back performance to be enticing to other clubs seeking goaltending help. He played very well during last fall’s World Cup of Hockey but his play subsequently fell off during last season and wound up banished to the minors for a time.