NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2017
The latest on Joe Thornton, Matt Duchene and Andreas Athanasiou in your NHL rumor mill.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the inability of Rangers rookie Filip Chytil to become a reliable full-time center could force Blueshirts GM Jeff Gorton into the trade market later this season for “an upper-echelon veteran rental center”.
Brooks believes San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton fits that role perfectly. He notes Thornton and the Rangers had “several productive conversations” before the club signed UFA defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and Thornton opted to re-sign with the Sharks.
Brooks admits a lot will have to happen over the next four months to bring this type of move to fruition. The Sharks will have to acknowledge they’re not Stanley Cup contenders, Thornton must stay healthy, the Rangers would have to find sufficient room to absorb the remainder of his $8 million salary and the two sides would have to work out the return for the Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton is old friends with Rangers winger Rick Nash. The pair played together in Switzerland during the last two NHL lockouts. If the Sharks are struggling to reach the playoffs by February and if the Rangers remain in contention, perhaps a Thornton-to-New York deal could be worked out, provided the 38-year-old center is willing to accept a trade.
There’s no question the Rangers need experienced depth at center. For now, however, they seem content to stick with small moves, like claiming Adam Cracknell off waivers yesterday. That could change in the coming weeks if they’re struggling to address that need, especially if it threatens their playoff chances.
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene isn’t upset by former Avs star Peter Forsberg’s comments on Swedish television over the weekend suggesting the club should bench and trade him. Duchene said he’s not taking the remarks personally and suggested the comments may have been lost in translation.
Avs coach Jared Bednar, meanwhile, complimented Duchene’s performance and professionalism. He also suggest the club is handling Duchene differently from last season, putting more focus on hockey and ignoring the ongoing trade rumors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duchene and the Avs front office understand the center needs to be playing, and playing well, in order to bolster his trade value. Benching him does nothing to encourage interest from rival general managers. If Duchene’s playing well and the team’s performance improves, maybe it repairs the strained relationship between player and management, eliminating the need for a trade.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan believes the Detroit Red Wings aren’t inclined to trade restricted free agent winger Andreas Athanasiou, who’s currently in Switzerland evaluating his options. Contract talks between the two sides remain deadlocked. He feels they won’t move Athanasiou unless they get “a tremendous offer (top-four defenseman, similar young forward with high upside)” and that’s not likely to happen.
Khan also reports the Wings are concerned about the message that would send to their other young players when they’re due for new contracts, “that if they don’t get what they want the Red Wings also will accommodate them with a move.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Wings GM Ken Holland maintains that view, he won’t be feeling pressured to move Athanasiou before the Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign him. The better the Wings play in the coming weeks, the less leverage Athanasiou has.