NHL Rumor Mill – October 30, 2017
Latest on the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there’s “considerable chatter” the Rangers’ upcoming game on Tuesday could determine the fate of head coach Alain Vigneault. The Blueshirts slipped to 3-7-2 after dropping a 5-4 decision Saturday to the Montreal Canadiens.
Brooks believes if a “transformative trade that might include Ryan McDonagh, Chris Kreider or Mats Zuccarello — marquee names united in falling far below expectations, but hardly the only guilty parties — were available to Jeff Gorton, the GM could choose to go that route rather than dismiss Vigneault.” Such a significant early-season move, however, seems a long shot in today’s salary-cap world.
If Vigneault gets fired, Brooks speculates promoting assistant coach Lindy Ruff seems the most likely move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Vigneault is sent packing, he’ll be paying the price for Gorton’s offseason moves. The Rangers GM weakened his depth at center and in goal by shipping Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes to clear cap space to sign free-agent defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who’s bounced around their blueline this season.
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy suggests the Bruins use their depth in prospects as trade bait to accelerate their quest to become an elite team again. Given David Krejci’s injury history, Conroy believes the Bruins biggest need is at center. While Colorado’s Matt Duchene is the big fish in the trade market, the Bruins would have to shed a lot of salary to take on his $6 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney will likely remain patient with his roster. As long as they remain in playoff contention he won’t be under pressure to swing a major move. He could wait until the weeks leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline to make a significant deal.
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell examines the internal and external options facing Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli in his quest to improve his club. Facing high expectations this season, the Oilers lurched from the gate with a 3-6-1 record. The Oilers still need help on defense, center and right wing. Among the internal options could be recalling right wing Jesse Puljujarvi. If Chiarelli goes the trade route, Mitchell believes draft picks and young players will be the currency used. Puljujarvi, a former first-round pick, could have value as a trade chip.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draft picks and prospects are pretty much all Chiarelli can use to bring in immediate help via trade. He could dangle center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but that move wouldn’t address their need for help at center. They could shop left wing Patrick Maroon if they feel they cannot afford to re-sign him but that could weaken their depth at left wing. Ryan Strome could be a trade candidate but his stock has significantly dropped.