NHL Rumor Mill – December 9, 2017
Latest on the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, and Pittsburgh Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.
COULD THE FLYER SHOP SIMMONDS?
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited NHL insider Elliotte Friedman’s appearance Friday on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 discussing Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds recently surfacing as a possible trade candidate. While noting how well-respected Simmonds is, he’s also playing hurt and Friedman thinks there’s a concern over how banged up he is. Friedman also thinks there’s some teams who believe the Flyers will do anything to avoid trading Simmonds. “So I don’t know how much I’m putting stock in what Philadelphia wants to do with Wayne Simmonds.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Flyers general manager Ron Hextall wants to re-sign Simmonds before he’s eligible in 2019 for unrestricted free agency. If he were to move Simmonds, however, I believe that happens next summer, not during this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if he signs a contract extension with the Flyers next July. He loves being a Flyer and I believe they really want to keep him.
COULD THE PANTHERS SHOP FOR A GOALIE?
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: In a recent mailbag segement, Matthew DeFranks was asked if the Florida Panthers will make a trade to replace sidelined starting goaltender Roberto Luongo. His short answer is backup James Reimer will fill in for Luongo and he’s doesn’t know if they’ll trade for anyone at all.
That being said, he feels they can either “do nothing, acquire a short-term stop gap solution or find a bigger-picture bridge between Luongo and youngster Samuel Montembeault.” Given the long-term contracts of Luongo and Reimer, if the Panthers do pursue a goalie it’ll likely be one on an expiring contract or one on a two-way deal.
Unlike FLA’s earlier claiming of Niemi, it doesn’t appear FLA is now interested in a lower level, short-term, stop-gap veteran to temporarily fill in while Luongo injured. Hutchinson, BTW, has .951 SPct in AHL.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 8, 2017
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For now, it appears the Panthers will stick with Riemer and call-up Harri Sateri until Luongo returns sometime in January. If Reimer and Sateri struggle to carry the load, that could threaten the Panthers chances of staying in the playoff hunt. In that case, management could stage a serious search for help between the pipes.
SHOULD THE PENGUINS BRING BACK MATT CULLEN?
POST-GAZETTE.COM: Jason Mackey makes the case for the Pittsburgh Penguins to reacquire 41-year-old center Matt Cullen, who signed last summer with the Minnesota Wild. Cullen’s seen limited ice time with the Wild and was a healthy scratch during their 3-2 win on Friday over the Anaheim Ducks.
Mackey feels the Penguins still haven’t addressed losing Cullen’s “incredible leadership” along with his “scoring punch from the bottom-six” and Tthe ability to move up and down the lineup.” He also noted Cullen carries a very affordable contract this season.
Two issues working against such a move, however, is the Wild could be reluctant to part with Cullen and the center and his family could prefer finishing this season in their home state of Minnesota.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins fans would probably be thrilled to have Cullen back for one more season and he’d fit seamlessly back into the Pittsburgh roster. If Cullen starts seeing more time in the press box, perhaps he’d welcome returning to the Penguins. He lacks a no-trade clause and would probably cost no more than a fourth-round pick.