NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2017
IS A WEBER TRADE POSSIBLE?
TSN: Travis Yost recently examined an “improbable, but not impossible” Shea Weber trade. The 32-year-old Montreal Canadiens defenseman carries a hefty contract. He’s signed through 2025-26 with an annual cap hit of over $7.8 million. However, given the Canadiens’ struggles this season, the fact they’re no closer to Stanley Cup contention and Weber’s abilities as a top-pairing defenseman, Yost wondered “if there’s any way his name could be kicked up in the trade market.”
While acknowledging Weber’s age and contract could make difficult finding suitable trade partners, Yost pondered the possibility of a team such as the Toronto Maple Leafs taking a shot. He noted the Leafs have been in the market for top-four defensemen for over a year. He considered their lack of an experienced No. 1 blueliner on their young defense corps a fatal flaw. He pointed out the Leafs have the depth in young assets who’ll need new contracts soon as possible trade bait, as well as over $5 million in salary-cap space. Leafs coach Mike Babcock is a big fan of Weber. The Leafs are in “win-now” mode and won’t get burned by the salary-cap recapture penalty should Weber retire before his contract expires.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yost isn’t saying the Leafs are pursuing Weber or if they’re even interested. He’s merely offering up a possible Weber trade scenario. It’s an interesting one, but the Canadiens and Leafs rarely make trades with each other, especially deals of that magnitude. It could take getting another team involved for Weber to move from Montreal to Toronto. Should the Leafs go shopping for an experienced top-pairing defenseman, I don’t think Weber will be on their radar.
LATEST ON RASK
BOSTON HERALD: Despite the Bruins 4-2 loss to Edmonton yesterday with Tuukka Rask in goal, Stephen Harris believes the Bruins should stand by their struggling starter. With backup Anton Khudobin playing well, Harris notes Rask’s status ” became prime talk-radio fodder. Opinion ran the gamut from sensible to wacky (“Get rid of Tuukka and give the job to Khudobin”).”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins goalie controversy has resulted in Rask’s name popping up recently in the rumor mill. However, there’s no indication the Bruins will give up on their struggling starter. One shouldn’t dismiss the likelihood that he’ll regain his form soon. He’s coming off four straight seasons where he’s won 30-plus games, maintained a save percentage of .915 or higher and collected 22 shutouts. Khudobin’s off to a good start but there’s no guarantee he can keep that up over the course of a full season.
COULD THE DEVILS BE TRADE-DEADLINE BUYERS?
NJ.COM: During his quarter-season review of the New Jersey Devils, Chris Ryan predicted they could be buyers by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. He notes general manager Ray Shero was a seller during the last two seasons, but if the Devils are in playoff contention, Ryan can see Shero adding a piece or two. “They won’t mortgage the future just for a chance to win this season, but look for them to add something if a deal makes sense.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Ryan’s assessment. If Shero goes shopping, he could look at bolstering his blueline depth.