NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2018
A look at TSN’s updated trade-bait board and more in your NHL rumor mill.
REVIEWING TSN’S UPDATED TRADE-BAIT BOARD
TSN: Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane tops Frank Seravalli’s list of the top-20 trade bait heading toward the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, Edmonton Oilers left wing Patrick Maroon, Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman and Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty round out the top five.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprises here, as all of them have featured prominently in the rumor mill for several weeks. Of these, the most likely to move are Kane, Green and Maroon.
I don’t dismiss the possibility of Hoffman and Pacioretty being dealt by the deadline. Seravalli’s colleague Darren Dreger thinks the market is “really strong” for Hoffman, suggesting the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues as possible trade destinations.
Hoffman and Pacioretty, however, are under contract beyond this season and their respective clubs will want significant returns. They’re under no pressure to move them this season. If Hoffman and/or Pacioretty get traded I think those moves take place in the offseason, when there are more teams with available cap space and a willingness to spend.
In sixth to tenth spots are Vancouver Canucks winger Thomas Vanek, Canadiens winger Alex Galchenyuk, Canucks blueliner Erik Gudbranson, Senators left wing Zack Smith and Vegas Golden Knights forward James Neal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vanek and Gudbranson are likely goners. Smith could also be on the move if the Sens fail to find a decent offer for Hoffman. Galchenyuk’s surfaced several times since last season in the rumor mill, but like Pacioretty and Hoffman, he seems a more likely summer-trade candidate.
Neal is an unrestricted free agent and the Golden Knights could have difficult re-signing him. However, their better-than-expected performance this season and his selection to the 2018 All-Star Game likely ensures he’ll finish the season in Vegas. They’ll need his experience and leadership in the playoffs.
Golden Knights winger David Perron, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ian Cole, Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw, Oilers center Mark Letestu and New York Rangers winger Rick Nash fill positions 11 to 15.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Neal, Perron’s a UFA this summer. However, I think Vegas will retain him for the playoffs and attempt to re-sign him before July 1. Cole and Letestu could be on the move by the deadline. Dreger mentioned several teams are talking about Shaw but he doesn’t know if the Canadiens are shopping him. The decline in Nash’s performance could prompt Rangers management to gauge his value in the trade market, but there’s no certainty they’ll find a taker.
Chicago Blackhawks rearguard Cody Franson, Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner, Senators blueliner Dion Phaneuf, Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek and Colorado Avalanche d-man Tyson Barrie are in spots 16 to 20.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Franson recently went unclaimed on the waiver wire but there’s a belief he could still have value as an affordable trade option. Until the Sabres are fully confident in promising goalie Linus Ullmark I don’t see them moving Lehner. Mrazek’s poor play won’t make him an enticing trade option for clubs seeking goaltending help.
I’m puzzled by Seravalli’s inclusion of Barrie, who’s currently sidelined with a hand injury, on this list. Granted, his defensive game leaves something to be desired, but he’s a skilled puck-moving blueliner who could play a key role in the improving Avs’ push for a playoff berth.
Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Senators checked with the 12 teams on Phaneuf’s list of preferred trade destinations. The blueliner carries a hefty salary-cap hit ($7 million annually) for three more seasons, but it didn’t prove a hindrance when he was dealt to the Senators from Toronto two years ago. We shouldn’t fully dismiss the notion that he could get dealt again.
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli informed all NHL teams by email today of Anton Slepyshev’s availabilty in a trade. The winger recently became waiver eligible.
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) January 11, 2018