NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2017
Latest on the Ottawa Senators plus updates on Alex Galchenyuk and Michael Hutchinson in your NHL rumor mill.
SENATORS SHOPPING FOR HELP
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has turned up efforts to swing a deal to help his struggling club, including asking those Senators carrying no-trade clauses to submit 10-team no-trade lists. They include Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan, Nate Thompson, Mike Hoffman, Derick Brassard, Alex Burrows, Zack Smith, Nate Thompson, Dion Phaneuf and Johnny Oduya. Sidelined winger Clarke MacArthur (concussion symptoms) also has a no-trade clause but he’s unlikely to play again.
Garrioch considers it “highly improbable” the Senators will trade Karlsson, citing two league sources claiming the Ottawa captain hasn’t been offered around the league “or even discussed for that matter.” Karlsson raised eyebrows with his recent comments rejecting the notion of signing a hometown discount before his eligibility in 2019 for unrestricted free agency. However, he’s also indicated staying in Ottawa remains his first choice. Garrioch said the plan remains for Dorion to meet with Karlsson next July 1 to see if an agreement can be reached on a long-term extension.
Meanwhile, Dorion continues working the phones with the Dec. 19 start of the NHL holiday trade freeze fast approaching. Garrioch cites league executives suggesting Hoffman, center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and defenseman Cody Ceci as three options who could fetch the best return. He wonders if Brassard could interest playoff contenders. While Smith was a hot commodity in the past, Garrioch doesn’t think he’ll bring back much in a trade for the Sens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman and Ceci are likely the best trade chips. Hoffman or Brassard could interest a club in need of offense, such as the Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens or San Jose Sharks, while the Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks or New York Islanders could come calling about Ceci. Still, finding a return for either guy that immediately reverses the Sens’ fortunes won’t be easy.
As for Karlsson, he won’t be traded this season. That move comes next summer at the earliest if he and Dorion are unable to reach agreement on a new contract. Interested teams will want the opportunity to discuss a contract extension with him before agreeing to acquire him via trade. The earliest opportunity to do that is next July.
TIME FOR CANADIENS TO TRADE GALCHENYUK?
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan believes things don’t seem to be working out for winger Alex Galchenyuk with the Montreal Canadiens. Despite his offensive abilities, the club doesn’t believe he’s capable of playing at center and he’s struggled to improve his defensive play. Cowan suggests the longer Galchenyuk stays in Montreal the lower his trade value becomes. The 23-year-old winger has one 30-goal season on his resume and has the potential to reach that total again, but Cowan doubts that’ll happen with the Habs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Galchenyuk hasn’t been the same since a knee injury sidelined him for 18 games last season, followed by Claude Julien taking over as head coach in February. Habs GM Marc Bergevin insists he won’t give up on Galchenyuk, but I think he’s also worried about trading the winger for pennies on the dollar and he blossoms as a scorer with his new team.
Perhaps the best time to trade Galchenyuk was last June, when his value was obviously higher than it is now. They’re unlikely to get a favorable return for him at this point. The two sides are probably stuck with each other for the remainder of this season, likely Galcheyuk’s last in Montreal. I expect Bergervin (or his replacement?) will peddle the winger next summer in hopes his value might improve by then.
SHOULD THE PANTHERS PURSUE HUTCHINSON?
NBC SPORTS: Scott Billeck suggests Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon should look to the Winnipeg Jets to address his goaltending needs. With starter Roberto Luongo sidelined week-to-week and backup James Reimer not the model of consistency, Billeck thinks the Jets third-stringer Michael Hutchinson could be the perfect fit for the Panthers. Hutchinson leads the AHL in save percentage (.951) while his 1.73 goals-against average ranks second.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Oilers are also reportedly interested in Hutchinson. However, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the netminder suffered a groin injury during a shootout on Saturday. If it’s serious, we can forget about him as a trade option for the Panthers, Oilers or anyone else.