NHL Rumor Mill – October 19, 2017
Latest on Matt Duchene, Zdeno Chara, Sam Reinhart & more in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: In his weekly “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman believes center Matt Duchene’s preference is to be traded, despite the Colorado Avalanche’s solid start to this season. He thinks the Avs are looking at the “non-NHL prospects” of potential trade partners, especially defensemen with left-handed shots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger recently reported the Avs’ asking price remains “a real good Top 3/top-pairing defenseman, and a good prospect, and a top draft pick.” The only notable change is their interest in a left-handed blueliner.
Friedman said there’s nothing unusual about Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergervin joining his club on its west coast road trip. However, he considers the Canadiens and New York Islanders as “sensible trade partners,” noting the Isles are in “win-now” mode and among the few clubs with legitimate defensive depth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin could be interested in landing a defenseman, but that move won’t address his club’s anemic offense. That’s the bigger issue for the Habs right now.
The Canadiens have nearly $9 million in salary-cap space. but in an interview with NHL Network last night, Friedman believes they’ll hold onto that in order to make the biggest move they can. He feels if there’s a situation where the New York Islanders place pending UFA center John Tavares on the trade block the Habs will be all in, but I doubt they have sufficient trade assets to swing that deal.
If the Boston Bruins continue to struggle there could be an increase of interest in defenseman Zdeno Chara. Friedman noted Bruins GM Don Sweeney intends to re-sign Chara and talks are underway to do so but he believes several teams looked into Chara’s availability last summer. Two years ago, the LA Kings and San Jose Sharks made inquiries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney wants to keep Chara and he wants to stay. Regardless of what happens with the Bruins this season, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.
Friedman’s hearing Buffalo Sabres forward Sam Reinhart’s name recently surfaced in the trade rumor mill. But after checking around, he said the Sabres don’t want to do anything rash. It could be something worth watching later this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart’s had back-to-back 40-plus point campaigns but consistency’s been an issue for him. He’s off to a slow start this season but did score in his last two games. He’s only 21 and still has upside. Sabres GM Jason Botterill and head coach Phil Housley could prefer evaluating Reinhart throughout the season before reaching a decision on his future with the club.
The Washington Capitals need defensemen and the Vegas Golden Knights have plenty to move, but Friedman isn’t sure there’s a trade fit there. He points out the two sides couldn’t agree on a Philipp Grubauer trade last June that would’ve protected blueliner Nate Schmidt during the expansion draft.
Friedman reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have spoken with pending free agent defenseman Jack Johnson. However, he doesn’t believe they’re close to an agreement on a new contract.