NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2017
Latest on the Canadiens, Oilers, Sabres, Rangers and more in your NHL rumor mill.
CANADIENS, OILERS & SABRES SPECULATION
TSN: During Tuesday’s “Insider Trading” segment, Pierre LeBrun said he doesn’t foresee any drastic moves by the struggling Montreal Canadiens in the imminent future. He said Canadiens owner Geoff Molson still believes in general manager Marc Bergevin and his front-office staff. LeBrun notes the Canadiens will have three second-round selections in the 2018 NHL Draft. While they could be used as trade chips, Bergevin apparently isn’t inclined to move his high draft picks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Molson’s confidence in Bergevin changes if the Habs miss the playoffs. Then again, he could give his embattled GM an opportunity next summer to improve the roster. If they decide to start rebuilding before the Feb. 26 trade deadline, they could retain those second-round picks.
LeBrun also reports Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is looking around for a defenseman. He was in Buffalo scouting the Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets. Bob McKenzie observes the Blue Jackets are in the market for a center and blueliner Ryan Murray might be available. McKenzie adds Florida Panthers rearguard Alex Petrovic isn’t playing very much and his name has surfaced in trade talks. He hasn’t requested a trade but is getting frustrated with being a healthy scratch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been linked to the Blue Jackets but there’s no certainty Chiarelli will part with him. Murray isn’t the only defenseman the Jackets could trade. Jack Johnson is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. David Savard, meanwhile, was a healthy scratch in a recent game.
Petrovic recently said he thinks the Panthers’ coaching staff doesn’t have any confidence in him. Sounds like a blueliner who needs a change of scenery. It could bolster his trade value if the Panthers get him into some games so rival clubs in need of defensive help can evaluate him.
Darren Dreger reports Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill isn’t in any hurry to move left wing Evander Kane or young forward Sam Reinhart. Kane’s a UFA next summer but Dreger claims nothing to date would encourage Botterill to deal him. The Sabres also want to continue evaluating Reinhart’s performance over the remainder of this season and see how he fits with Jack Eichel and their other young players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kane is traded I believe it’ll happen closer to the Feb. 26 deadline. Dreger suggests Reinhart might be in play in the offseason. That, of course, will depend upon his performance over the remainder of this season and the club’s ongoing needs heading into next summer.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers GM Jeff Gorton faces a tough call leading up to this season’s trade deadline between taking “a rather far-fetched run at a title with many of the same guys who have come close before or to divest and kick the can down the road by investing in a future that is always more uncertain in practice than presented in theory.”
If they decide to move some of their pending UFAs, Brooks wonders if they could get a first-round pick as part of a return for Rick Nash or if they could wheedle a first-rounder or a high second-rounder for winger Michael Grabner. He suggests defenseman Ryan McDonagh, a UFA in 2019 who’ll be in line for a big raise, could fetch a better return, perhaps Mitch Marner from the Toronto Maple Leafs or Mikhail Sergachev from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Where the Rangers are in the standings by February will determine what course Gorton takes. If they remain a bubble club, perhaps he’ll shop some of those UFAs for the best return he can get.
Parting ways with McDonagh would be a huge move, attracting a number of suitors leading up to the deadline. The Leafs would certainly be among them but they might not be keen to part with Marner. If the Lightning continue to dominate the Eastern Conference, they’ll have no reason to move Sergachev for McDonagh, especially with Nikita Kucherov, Braydon Point and Vladislav Namestnikov due for substantial raises themselves by 2019.
Heard from a source (not w/ the Canucks) that the Panthers still like Gudbranson. A few other teams interested too, per the source.
— Jason Brough (@JasonBroughTSN) November 21, 2017