NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2018
Latest on the Canadiens, Predators and Penguins plus updates on Ryan McDonagh, Charlie Coyle, Tyson Barrie and more in your NHL rumor mill.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is “very active” in the NHL trade market. He’s not looking to rebuild but wants to address the club’s flaws. Other than Carey Price, Shea Weber, Victor Mete and perhaps Jonathan Drouin, Friedman thinks Bergevin is “listening and ready.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun (see below) said Tomas Plekanec’s is the Canadiens’ only notable unrestricted free agent. He said it’s not about selling but Bergevin is open-minded as he talks to teams in hopes of finding ways to fix his roster for next season. In other words, expect the Canadiens to retool for 2018-19, rather than engage in a long-term rebuild. That also means Bergevin isn’t likely to be replaced as general manager.
Joining the Canadiens on Friedman’s list of teams active in the trade market include Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Rangers, St. Louis, Ottawa and Los Angeles.
The Pittsburgh Penguins could be among the clubs interested in Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Edmonton Oilers center Mark Letestu could also be an option for the Pens. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues could be looking at Senators winger Mike Hoffman. Friedman thinks the Senators have monitored sidelined Blues forward Robby Fabbri, though he’s not saying that’s their choice.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres are also believed sniffing around for forward. One of them could also have interest in Hoffman.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports he’s recently checked around Boston but they don’t have an appetite to make a big deal. While they might be willing to listen, Dreger feels they’re no urgency on their part looking for areas to improve. The Bruins are loaded with promising youngsters but they’re reportedly unwilling to part with them. If they’re still chugging along at their current pace by the deadline, GM Don Sweeney could stand pat.
Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle could be garnering some attention. However, it would take a significant offer to tempt the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyle’s struggled after missing 16 games with a fractured right fibula, but the 25-year-old tallied a career-high 56-points last season. If the Wild are willing to move the 6’3″, 221-pound center, I expect a number of clubs will come calling.
The Calgary Flames need for a winger might not be as strong as it once was. Micheal Ferland has scored 19 goals, Michael Frolik is getting healthy and there’s increasing hope Kris Versteeg could also be an option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Versteeg could be back by mid-March at the latest. Frolik will be back much sooner than that. With Ferland playing well and Sam Bennett settled in well as third-line left wing, the Flames might not need to go shopping for forward depth at the deadline.
Clubs seeking a puck-moving defenseman could try to pry Tyson Barrie away from the Colorado Avalanche. They’ve been on a tear while he’s been sidelined by a hand injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Avs have identified the need for a winger and will decide about a week leading up to the trade deadline if they’ll splurge and add one. Perhaps Barrie could be used as trade bait to land such a winger. Then again, they could retain Barrie as insurance in case of injuries down the stretch. They can probably land a rental winger without having to part with a roster player.
LATEST FROM TSN INSIDERS
TSN: During the latest “Insider Trading” segment, Darren Dreger said the New York Rangers recent slide could have them leaning toward being open for business on the trade front. He expects pending UFA forward Rick Nash and Michael Grabner could be highly-sought after, though it’ll take a lot to acquire Nash and he’s yet to be asked for his 12-team trade list.
Dreger also notes defenseman Ryan McDonagh has come up a lot in recent trade chatter. While Dreger expects a McDonagh trade seems more likely in the summer, GM Jeff Gorton is willing to listen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks recently suggested the Rangers offer up McDonagh to the Toronto Maple Leafs for William Nylander or perhaps dangle the Minnesota native to the Wild. Gorton could listen to offers but if he’s going to move an asset like McDonagh he’ll likely see better trade pitches in the offseason. Anyway, as long as the Rangers remain in playoff contention, they won’t go into sell mode. They’ll have to slide a lot further in the standings for that to happen.
Pierre LeBrun reports the Nashville Predators have set adding a top-six winger as a priority. However, they’ve yet to make a decision if they’ll get into the bidding for Buffalo’s Evander Kane, Montreal’s Max Pacioretty or Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman. They could wait until after the All-Star break.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The asking price for those players will be youthful assets such as draft picks and either a promising young NHL player or a top prospect. With the Predators considered a Stanley Cup contender this season, perhaps GM David Poile might consider packaging his 2018 first-round pick for one of those forwards.
Bob McKenzie reports the Detroit Red Wings have let it be known that defenseman Xavier Ouellet is available.