NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2017

by | Nov 24, 2017 | Rumors | 60 comments

Possible trade deadline trade bait, an update on Erik Gudbranson and the latest on the Blue Jackets in your NHL rumor mill. 


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Elliotte Friedman’s appearance Thursday on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 discussing which centers could be on the move by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. He acknowledged it’s difficult to foresee right now but took a stab at suggesting some candidates.

Friedman wondered if the Arizona Coyotes might flip center Derek Stepan at some point but wasn’t sure if they would. He notes the Buffalo Sabres aren’t moving Jack Eichel or Ryan O’Reilly. “And unless you think Sam Reinhart is a center, he’s probably not the answer to your question either.”

Friedman also wondered recently about Jason Spezza’s status with the Dallas Stars but observed he’s “starting to go a little bit again” with Martin Hanzal sidelined. He’s also curious about what the Edmonton Oilers might do with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins if they’re out of the playoff chase later in the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those mentioned by Friedman (and he’s not saying any of them are available), Nugent-Hopkins seems the most likely trade candidate. He’s among the few brights spots for the Oilers this season and I think they’d like to shed salary before Connor McDavid’s big contract kicks in next season.

RNH’s trade value is probably high right now and I believe there could be considerable interest if he becomes available by the trade deadline. Of course, his $6 million annual salary through 2020-21 is a sticking point, one that makes an offseason move more likely. 


Friedman also said he thinks Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson could attract attention in this year’s trade market if he’s healthy. A lot could depend upon the Canucks’ asking price, which Friedman doesn’t expect to be very high because of Gudbranson’s pending UFA status. He thinks the 25-year-old blueliner could work well in the playoffs in a structured system. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could move Gudbranson if unable to re-sign him before the trade deadline, but that’s not a certainty. The Canucks are off to a better-than-expected start to this season and are jockeying for a playoff spot. GM Jim Benning recently praised Gudbranson for his toughness and his leadership with their young players. If they’re in playoff contention by February, they could opt to retain Gudbranson for a postseason push. 


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Aaron Portzline addressed some questions from his readers regarding possible moves by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He believes they would “absolutely listen to any trade talk involving a top-six center as part of a trade for one of their defensemen not named Jones or Werenski.” Asked if they might move blueliner David Savard for a center, Portzline suggests that would leave the Jackets down to one right-handed defenseman. 

Portzline also doesn’t think the Jackets have seen enough from promising Pierre-Luc Dubois to justify moving struggling center Alexander Wennberg. As for acquiring Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, he thinks that would cost the Jackets “(Ryan) Murray or (Markus) Nutivaara plus some more “today” help for the Oilers.” He feels Jack Johnson’s UFA status next summer is an impediment to a trade. Still, he thinks the Jackets and Oilers make sense as trade partners. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Jackets will make a move for a center before this season’s trade deadline. Given their position in the standings right now, they’re not in a rush to do so. As Portzline observes, they haven’t had the right offer yet. I daresay those will come after the calendar flips to January and more teams fall out of the playoff chase.

Nugent-Hopkins could be a good fit with the Jackets but it will likely cost what Portzline suggested to get him. They could opt instead to remain patient and hope a more affordable option appears as the trade deadline nears. 



  1. Can someone run over and check on George?
    It’s not the same in here without him.
    Frankly, I’m worried.

    • Geroge should share his address here so I can check on him once in a while.

      • George and Schticky are in a coffee shop somewhere between Kingston and Ottawa, solving the Sens’ and Leafs’ problems, one game at a time.

    • Yay!
      Good to know you’re still around.
      Hope all is well!

  2. George is the best! Sorry Striker.

    It’s funny, we don’t hear much from Oilfan lately.

    • I enjoy reading everyone’s comments.
      I even stay up late to catch the straggler’ s like Noel, and the boys on the West coast.

      • Noel is great for sure!

      • I am also worried… So much so that I’m afraid to crack a joke over it. Lyle… if this keeps up can you do an email welfare check? dudes like almost 90.

      • Hey – almost 80 – I ain’t drooling pablum yet!

      • phew… I knew it must have been a little blue pill fueled vacation get-a-way extravaganza! hope you can still walk there George.

      • Actually, mine are beige-coloured. And prescribed too! Ain’t it grand to be on the Canadian health system?

      • I wouldn’t know.

      • You will.

      • LMAO Chrisms that cracked me right up.

      • About the Canadian health care or the beige blue pill? Doubt it and we should all be so lucky to make it to that point.

        And 🤘to you insomnia

  3. CMB wants a center……would they call AZ and ask about Tort’s boy Stepan??…hmmmmm

    Maybe send back Ryan Murray and pick for Stepan and Connauton (ufa who they can let walk).

    • Now this is forward thinking!
      Not sure about the return though.

    • The Coyotes first line has some chemistry. Not sure they want to move Keller’s center but Stepan in Columbus would take pressure off Wennberg

      • Yeah, and I think Foligno needs to go back to the wing.

      • Seems they like Dubois at centre now, that might change their plans as well. Think he’s with Panarin and Anderson.

    • When Chychrun comes back, it would create more of a log jam on the left side. Trading for 27 yo Stepan with the 7th overall pick and then trading him this early in the season does not make any sense in the Coyotes perspective. They would more likely trade LWers and/or blue liners that play the left side 1st. This being the final year of Richardson’s contract makes him available, not Stepan. Look for the Coyotes to move Richardson and then call up Strome later in the season.

    • Bozak and Carrick for Savard

    • Lol. I don’t know if Stepan has that kind of feelings about Torts. Stepan is a big reason, along with about half that team he was ushered so quickly out the door in NY.

  4. Edmonton needs scoring depth-Losing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who is their 3rd best forward solves nothing.
    Time for them to send away the next years draft picks for another wing with wheels and a touch.

    • Would Savard work in Edmonton

    • How would Evander Kane work and what would the Oil be willing to part with to get him? Maybe Mantha and a pick?

      • Is there a Mantha in Edmonton we don’t know about? Last I heard the only one was in Detroit.

  5. Erik Karlsson’s future with the Sens is coming up again with their recent struggles.

    • In what way? That they might want to move him before his contract is up or that he may want to walk as a UFA? Surely it’s not the former.

      • That he will want to walk. Sadly

  6. Chrisms is probably in a turkey coma today.
    Get well soon bud.

    • I woke up in my underwear covered in gravy with a dead body next to me… I sure hope it was the turkey… people don’t have wishbones do they?

      • Awesome!lol

      • Thoughts that ran through a turkey’s mind yesterday – “wait … they do what?? Then stuff it WHERE??? … oooh nooo, thank you very much but I am definitely out!!” – It’s small comfort to turkeys, of course, but just think, if the Indians had given the Pilgrims a donkey instead of a turkey, many Americans would’ve had a piece of a*^ yesterday! Now today, don’t you think it’s somewhat ironic that our American friends are spending BILLIONS on new things on Black Friday … the day after they claimed they were grateful for what they already have … not to mention us being typically Canadian to jump on board with our own Black Friday when we celebrate our Thanksgiving in OCTOBER.

      • Many Americans had a peice of @&$ Yesterday.

  7. U.S. Thanksgiving has proven to be a litmus test for teams aspiring to be in the playoffs at season’s end and, barring key injuries of course, a totally unexpected surge – or collapse – and taking into account games played as of yesterday, and using a pure possible points % basis it sort of looks this way if the “norm” of 95 points proves to once again be the cut-off (showing current % pace followed by % pace needed the rest of the way to hit 95 pts):

    In the East the “locks” are: Tampa (.810 – .500), New Jersey (.667 – .549); Columbus (.659 – .550) Toronto (.630 – .559), and NYI (.619 – .566). Each would need to taper off considerable to drop below 95 as shown. The next 6 teams are all bunched together but based upon games played, Washington (.543 – .593), NYR (.546 – .592) and Detroit (.523 – .600) are all in the Top 8. Each would need to elevate their % pace to varying degrees to get to 95, with Detroit seemingly the long-shot to do so. Then come Boston, Ottawa and Carolina, each performing at a .550 clip and each needing to up that to .608 to get in. So, which one will edge in ahead of Detroit? Philadelphia (.477 – .617); Montreal (.413 – .644), Flkorida (.429 – .631) and Buffalo (.318 – .675) can start planning for next year.

    Out West the “locks: seem to be: St. Louis (.750 – ,517); Winnipeg (.691 – .541); Vegas (.675 – .548); and Nashville (.667 – .549) – each of which would have to play considerably below their current pace to NOT reach 95; the next 2 would, on the other hand, need somewhat less of a collapse to fail to make it: Calgary (.595 – .564); LA (.591 – .575); Then comes 6 all bunched closely together fighting for the 7th and 8th spots and each needing to elevate their % to get there: Colorado and San Jose, each at .575 – .581; followed by Vancouver (.568 – .583); and Chicago, Minnesota and Anaheim each at .548 – .590. Dallas is a long shot at .523 – .600); while Edmonton (.409 – .642) and Arizona (.271 – .707) are dead in the water.

    • Super info!
      Thanks for sharing George!

    • wow, so you are saying that Arizona still has a chance!

      • Teams in Edmonton and Arizona’s position have been calculated at 3% and 1% respectively.

      • I will share the same bold prediction with the board as I did with my buddy and fellow poster tim Horton ..
        1 : Edomtonton grabs a convincing win in Detroit (6-2, made prior to Detroit game)
        2 : finish the road trip with wins in buffalo and Boston .
        3: head home feeling good with another w vs Arizona
        4 : finishing with a 5th straight vs Toronto and back to 12-12-2 crawling back to the pack. The odds will be significantly higher on dec 1 , the fact that people have them with no chance with 60 games remaining is ridiculous . They have been without a top 4 d man, slep and Caggiula battling injuries early , Leon concussion , Todd stubborn with deployment and a flu hitting Mcdavid talbot klefbom And probbly others , And talbot hasn’t been himself . My boy Pete is taking way more heat than he should , the players and Todd have to be better and that will continue tonight.

      • Hey Craig, don’t get you knickers in a knot. All I’m doing is pointing out their % play to date and what they need to play the rest of the way just to reach 95 points. A .642 % pace is no easy feat for even a team solid in all positions. Last year the Oilers finished with a % of .628 – they have to better that the rest of the way just to reach what looks to be the cut-off for a playoff – 95 points. AND they need to climb over 6 teams to get there – something not made any easier by those bloody 3 point games. If you’re confident this team can accomplish that, fine. And if they do more power to them. But don’t go betting the farm.

      • Are you actually predicting the Penguins are not going to make the playoffs? I wouldn’t count them out just yet.

      • Dee, once again (as with Craig) I’m NOT predicting anything above. All I’m doing is laying out the % pace of each team so far and what they will need to do the rest of the way %-wise just to get to 95 points. If they aspire to anything higher than that they will need to raise their pace exponentially. In saying Pittsburgh is in roughly the same position as Detroit, that’s simply the similarity in their points % pace so far and in what level they have to reach JUST to get to 95 points. People can drawn their own conclusions.

    • wheres the pens in all this? I mean they seem to have taken off the past few weeks so maybe they call it quits all together?

      • Yeah. Knew I was overlooking some team – they are in roughly the same position as Detroit in that they have played 24 games and have 25 points for a .520 pace. To get to 95 they need to play .604 the rest of the way.

    • Its hard to imagine Carolina being able to turn the season around with Scott Darling’s .900 save percentage (49th in the NHL) and Carolina’s 27th ranked power play.

  8. Hey, folks! I was going to let you all know that I’d contacted George earlier today and he told me he would be back soon. Looks like he’s beaten me to the punch, the ol’ bugger! 😉 Anyway, glad to see he’s back.

    • Yet another reason why you are the best of the best!
      Hat’s off to you sir.

    • awesome work! Can you do my great uncle next? haven’t heard from him in a month or two….

      • Bahahahaha.

      • Don’t worry kiddo, right here. Go Leafs!!!

      • Go where?

  9. I was surprised the Sens gave up so much for Duchene. He and Turris are similar style players. Turris is doing very well playing on Preds 2nd line. I don’t think Duchene has a point yet for the Sens. Dorion’s trades of Zibanijad (spelling?) for Brassard and Turris for Duchene seem like sideways trades. Has either trade really improved the Senators?

    • We’ll find out soon enough.

    • Alll i can say is ugh

  10. M. Pacioretty and A Galchenyuk to Columbus for B. Jenner , R Murray and P-L Dubois


    • Seems like a trade just to make a trade. It doesn’t really make either team so much better. Dubois isn’t going anywhere yet.

  11. One trade that has always made a lot of sense to me is krejci to Carolina
    Considering rasks recent struggles I dare say
    Krejci and rask to Carolina +a 3rd round pick
    For hanifen darling and 5th round pick

    Dumps roughly 14 millions immediately for the bruins and could boost some steadiness into a shaky talented hurricane team

    • That’s a great trade for the Bruins and one that would get Ron Francis fired. Why would Francis take on all that extra cap for 2 old, injury prone players? And he gives up the best, youngest player in Hannifan? The Bruins don’t need Hannifan anyways.

      • Definitely wouldn’t be too wise, obviously the bruins would have to retain a bit of krejcis contract, but the b’s have always liked the local boy in hanifen, if we need anything right now it would be a solid top 4 winger.