NHL Rumor Mill – December 6, 2017
Latest on the Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues in your NHL rumor mill.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: John Boruk believes the New Jersey Devils shipping forward Adam Henrique last week to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Sami Vatanen should open the eyes of Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall. He notes Hextall’s trades thus far have involved “future considerations through draft picks and few, if any, difference-makers.” Boruk said there’s a widespread belief ” that the team isn’t surrounding cornerstones Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek with a supporting cast good enough to be a perennial playoff power and there’s a feeling that their prime years are being wasted.”
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger’s appearance Monday on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 discussing possible moves by the struggling Flyers. Dreger doesn’t see Hextall firing head coach Dave Hakstol, leaving a trade as the next option to improve the roster. If Hextall decides to move winger Wayne Simmonds, Dreger believes teams will line up to acquire him. Beyond that, however, he suggests it’s more complicated because rival GMs would try to pick Hextall’s pocket for some of his younger players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmonds’ solid all-around play makes him a potentially attractive trade candidate. His eligibility in 2019 for unrestricted free agency and the potential difficulty the Flyers could have in re-signing him are among the factors stoking the recent speculation over his future in Philadelphia. I don’t dismiss the possibility that Simmonds could be dealt but that’s a move that takes place in the offseason, when there would be more potential trade partners providing the Flyers with better opportunities to land a quality return.
THE DETROIT NEWS: John Niyo reports Red Wings GM Ken Holland is giving his team about a month to give him a reason not to become a seller by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Prior to the Wings defeating the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night, Holland believes the next 10-15 games will be “critical in determining what direction we’re gonna go.” Niyo feels that direction should already be determined, suggesting veterans such as “Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Mike Green, Trevor Daley, and even Jimmy Howard” should be on the block. Ultimately, he believes it’s up to the Wings ownership to make that call.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have spent the last two years trying to rebuild on the fly but they’ve got little to show for those efforts. Granted, they’re not far out of playoff contention and an improved effort over the next month could vault them back into a postseason berth. Should their inconsistency continue over that period, however, the Wings could go into sell mode to bring in assets that can improve the club over the long term.
STLTODAY.COM: During a recent live chat, Jeff Gordon addressed rumors suggesting Edmonton Oilers left wing Patrick Maroon could be a good fit with the St. Louis Blues. While the Oilers could lack sufficient cap space to re-sign Maroon, Gordon believes the Blues might not project much cap room to sign the pending unrestricted free agent. He’s not sure there’s a fit there. He also dismissed the notion of the Oilers moving Connor McDavid.
Asked if the Blues could pursue Montreal Canadiens winger Alex Galchenyuk by offering up Sammy Blais, Kyle Brodziak and Carl Gunnarsson, Gordon doubts Habs GM Marc Bergevin would make that deal. Another reader wondered if Habs winger Brendan Gallagher could be available, but Gordon feels salary cap would be an issue plus a number of clubs would be very interested in a character player like Gallagher if he hit the market.
Gordon also doesn’t expect the Blues to move center Alex Steen or defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. He doesn’t rule out the possibility of Gunnarsson hitting the block, citing motivation to clear his $2.9 million cap hit from their books for next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are jockeying for top spot in the Western Conference so there’s no real urgency for them to swing a major move. I don’t rule out the possibility of loading up near the trade deadline for a Cup run this spring but they won’t be prying Galchenyuk away from the Canadiens, who also won’t be moving Gallagher anytime soon.
Maroon was floated as a trade option for the Blues largely because he’s a St. Louis native. If the Oilers put him on the block before the trade deadline perhaps the Blues will take a look if they feel the need a rental player to shore up their depth at left wing.