NHL Rumor Mill – November 16, 2017
Latest on Carey Price, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Galchenyuk, Jason Spezza & more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN MONTREAL 690: RDS’ Normand Flynn told host Tony Marinaro he wouldn’t be surprised if the Montreal Canadiens traded goaltender Carey Price soon. He notes the Canadiens and Price haven’t been forthcoming regarding the goaltender’s injury status.
While Flynn didn’t cite any sources and was merely speaking for himself, he nevertheless said it wouldn’t surprise him if Price was traded by as early as next week. He feels Price’s injury status is “mysterious”, noting the goaltender said following his last game on Nov. 2 (against the Minnesota Wild) that he wasn’t hurt, yet he hasn’t played since. Marinaro and Flynn also discussed the possibility Price is suffering from mental fatigue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the best response to this came from ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski:
I think the real news here isn’t the potential Carey Price trade, but the apparent abolishment of no-movement clauses. https://t.co/lRad7KK8ke
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) November 15, 2017
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Bob McKenzie’s Wednesday appearance on Toronto’s TSN 1050 discussing defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s future with the Arizona Coyotes. While McKenzie doesn’t believe Coyotes management is contemplating a move of Ekman-Larsson, his eligibility in 2019 for unrestricted free agency raises questions about whether he’ll re-sign with the struggling club.
While Ekman-Larsson is the type of defenseman who would be useful for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’s not going to be cheap. His annual salary-cap hit is $5.5 million but he’s earning $6.5 million in actual salary this season and $7 million next season. Nichols points out the blueliner lacks no-trade protection.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes general manager John Chayka has repeatedly stated Ekman-Larsson isn’t available and I believe him…for now. The Coyotes can open contract extension talks with him next July, but if they get a sense that he’s not keen to re-sign and intends to test the market in 2019, I can see him hitting the trade block leading up to next year’s NHL Draft weekend.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports there’s rumbling the Anaheim Ducks could have interest in Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk. However, he doesn’t think that’s a match. “P.J. Stock’s been saying for months Galchenyuk should be with Jonathan Drouin and, so far, it looks good.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago, maybe this would’ve had legs. Given the improvement of Galchenyuk and the Habs in recent weeks, I have to agree with Friedman’s take.
While there’s been more trade discussion with centers Matt Duchene and Kyle Turris off the trade block, Friedman said a couple of NHL GMs warn teams could simply be trying to determine who’s willing to do what. Much could depend upon what the Vegas Golden Knights do with pending UFA forwards James Neal and David Perron.
Friedman also wonders if the St. Louis Blues could feel any pressure to do so something after Central Division rival Nashville landed Turris.
Regarding recent trade rumor about Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza, Friedman said there’s a window between when the Stanley Cup is awarded next June up to Sep. 1 when the 34-year-old forward can submit a 10-team no-trade list. Otherwise, he has a full no-movement clause, as well as a $7.5 million annual cap hit through 2018-19. “This is purely guesswork, but we know Columbus is going to look for one more high-level offensive player.:
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And I’m guessing the Blue Jackets won’t be targeting an aging center with an injury history whose best seasons are behind him.
In the wake of the Edmonton Oilers acquiring winger Mike Cammalleri from the LA Kings, Friedman wondered if they contacted the Toronto Maple Leafs to inquire about Josh Leivo or Nikita Soshnikov. “Both are NHL-ready. Despite their difficulty getting into the lineup full-time, the Maple Leafs have yet to consider discounted prices.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If they did, the Leafs probably weren’t willing to take Jussi Jokinen off the Oilers’ hands. He wound up going to the Kings for Cammalleri.