NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2017
BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports if there’s been any trade talk between the Colorado Avalanche and any other NHL team regarding Avs center Matt Duchene, none of the offers were good enough to get a deal done. With Duchene eligible in 2019 for unrestricted free agency, Dater doesn’t expect the Avs to let him walk away for nothing. He believes general manager Joe Sakic wants either a young established defenseman or “a really strong, blue-chip caliber prospect defenseman.”
Dater also notes Avs blueliner Nikita Zadorov, 22, was a healthy scratch in recent games. He wonders if packaging Zadorov with Duchene might land the type of defenseman they covet. Zadorov went through a summer-long contract impasse with the Avs before signing a two-year, $4.3 million deal. Dater said he’s not advocating this move and admits dealing away Zadorov, who still has plenty of potential, could be a risk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Zadorov’s recent scratches from the Avalanche lineup there’s no indication Sakic intends to trade him. With the Avs off to a better-than-expected start to this season, Sakic isn’t in any rush to move Duchene right now. I think he’ll remain patient in hopes a rival club gets desperate enough to meet his asking price before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports scouts from 20 NHL teams took in last night’s game between the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators in Ottawa. The Senators would like to add a forward and Garrioch claims Wings GM Ken Holland is working the phones in search of help for his struggling club.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: In a recent mailbag segment, Helene St. James was asked about the chances of the Detroit Red Wings trading goaltender Petr Mrazek for a top scorer or defenseman. She notes Mrazek’s low trade value, pointing out he went unclaimed in the expansion draft. Perhaps a scenario could open up where a team gets desperate enough for goaltending help to dangle an above-average player or prospect but doesn’t believe he’ll fetch a top scorer or defenseman.
St. James was also asked about the possibility of Andreas Athanasiou getting moved by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. While she acknowledges his “high-end skill” makes the Wings better, she can see a scenario whereby an underachieving contender might offer up a blue-chip prospect or a first-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once considered the Wings’ future starter, Mrazek is now entrenched in the backup role behind Jimmy Howard. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next July and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wings part ways with him in the offseason. The Wings really want to keep Athanasiou, who’s also an RFA with arbitration rights next summer. Unless they get a irresistible offer, I don’t see him going anywhere this season.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion was scouting the Vegas Golden Knights during their recent games against the New York Rangers and New York Islanders. LeBrun believes Dorion offered up goaltender Andrew Hammond to the Golden Knights, whose goaltending depth has been hollowed out by injuries. The Knights, however, probably took a pass for now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Knights assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon said his club is likely to wait for their injured goalies to return rather than swing a quick-fix trade.
THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford wonders what the future holds for Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who’s in a contract year and hasn’t delivered as expected. He notes Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon expressed interest in bringing back Gudbranson in September but thinks the blueliner’s struggles could affect his value. Botchford also notes Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic is in coach Bob Boughner’s doghouse and wonders if he could be a fit with the Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon may have wanted Gudbranson back before but he might not be feeling the same way after watching the blueliner’s performance this season. But if the Panthers GM still wants him and if he’s willing to part with Petrovic, maybe that’s something the Canucks should consider.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall isn’t in panic mode despite the injuries decimating his defense corps. Andrew MacDonald, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Radko Gudas are currently sidelined, as Sam Morin and T.J. Brennan. Hextall said he has no plans to make a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere could return to the lineup this weekend. In the meantime, the Flyers have 15 points and sit only three points out of first in the Metropolitan Division. Hextall can afford to be patient for now.