NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2017
The latest on the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks,Pittsburgh Penguins & Philadelphia Flyers in your NHL rumor mill.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM LATEST TSN INSIDERS
TSN: During Thursday’s “Insider Trading” segment, Pierre LeBrun reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion continues to listen to trade offers. Eight teams reached out to Dorion on Thursday. He’s not going to make a deal just for the sake of doing so and if a suitable deal isn’t there he’s not going to force it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The struggling Senators dominated the rumor mill this week with focus on Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Cody Ceci, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Derick Brassard. While it’s possible Dorion could swing a deal before the holiday trade freeze kicks in on Dec.19, I wouldn’t be surprised if he waits until sometime in January to make a significant trade. And no, I don’t believe he’ll trade Karlsson.
LeBrun also reports the solid play of San Jose Sharks backup goaltender Aaron Dell is starting to attract some attention. He wonders if Dell, who’s an unrestricted free agent in July, could be this season’s Scott Darling, another backup goalie who garnered lots of interest last season. It’s currently unknown if the Sharks will use him as trade bait closer to the Feb. 26 trade deadline or re-sign him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent word out of San Jose suggests the Sharks aren’t likely to move Dell, preferring to retain him as insurance in case starter Martin Jones struggles or becomes sidelined by injury. Of course, that could change if the Sharks are in danger of falling out of playoff contention, but I think they’ll keep him for the rest of the season.
LeBrun reports hearing the Philadelphia Flyers are willing to listen to offers for forward Jori Lehtera, who’s been a frequent healthy scratch this season. They’re not aggressively shopping Lehtera but could move him for the right price. His $4.7 million cap hit through 2018-19 could scare off some clubs, but he did tally 44 points three years ago with the St. Louis Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Flyers are willing to pick up part of Lehtera’s cap hit, I don’t see him drawing much interest. His production has steadily declined since that career-high season.
TEAMS INTERESTED IN MRAZEK?
THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports an NHL source claims “multiple teams” have contacted the Detroit Red Wings regarding goaltender Petr Mrazek, despite the fact he has only four wins and a save percentage under .900 this season. That’s an indication of how weak the goalie market is right now.
A source from one NHL team that looked at Mrazek noted several factors that work against the goalie’s trade value. His play has declined over the past season and a half, he carries a $4 million cap hit and will likely be a rental player this season as no one will qualify him at that price next summer, plus he has a reputation as a poor teammate.
Custance suggests the Wings should consider showcasing Mrazek in some upcoming games, though that could jeopardize their playoff hopes. Mrazek could fetch them a third-round pick.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Wings will consider absorbing part of Mrazek’s salary for the right trade offer.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests the Wings could seek a second-round pick for Mrazek if they pick up part of his salary. He suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers should consider acquiring Mrazek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Picking up part of Mrazek’s cap hit is the only way the Wings can make this guy more attractive to rival clubs. However, I think interested GMs will want to see him play in some upcoming games. As Custance notes, that’s the dilemma for the Wings, who are desperately trying to stay in the playoff chase. If they use Mrazek and he costs them points, it’ll also hurt his modest trade value.
LATEST ON THE PENGUINS
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey recently reported Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said his club is reaching a critical point in this season where they’ll have to decide if they’re going to shake things up or not. Rutherford said he’d prefer adding to his current roster. However, if things don’t improve soon he doesn’t rule out making a major move. He’d like to add more scoring to his roster and bolster his depth at center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford ideally wants a third-line center comparable to Nick Bonino, who was a key factor in the Penguins’ consecutive Stanley Cup championships before departing via free agency last summer to Nashville. He brought in Riley Sheahan earlier this season from Detroit but he lacks Bonino’s offensive skills. I think Rutherford would prefer to bring in a scoring third line center and drop Sheahan down to the fourth line.