NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2018
Updates on Max Pacioretty and Mike Hoffman plus the latest Coyotes speculation in your NHL rumor mill.
PACIORETTY TRADE TALK GROWING
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger being asked by Montreal’s TSN 690 how seriously we should take recent reports claiming the Canadiens are shopping Max Pacioretty. While admitting it’s possible Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could trade the left winger for the right offer, Dreger suggests his scoring slump this season could create a “buyer beware” scenario. Speaking of Bergevin’s job security, Dreger believes he’s on solid footing with team owner Geoff Molson.
Nichols also cites Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun’s Tuesday appearance on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 discussing the growing Pacioretty trade chatter. He said he “probably talked to eight or nine teams in the last three days that some of them I would see as potential fits that put it very bluntly – sources in those front offices – that they don’t believe they had talked to Montreal.” However, he notes there could be clubs that see this growing speculation and could contact the Canadiens to inquire into Pacioretty’s availability. Given the winger has another season remaining on his contract, LeBrun feels the Habs aren’t going out of their way to move him, but acknowledges Bergevin could be at least listening to offers.
Nichols noted insider Elliotte Friedman’s Tuesday appearance on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 discussing the Pittsburgh Penguins. He believes the Pens are trying to add some offense. “I think they’ve had some interest in Evander Kane. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were interested in Pacioretty. They’re looking. I think if they could, they’d add a winger and a center. I wouldn’t be surprised if they could do both,” said Friedman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Bergevin is willing to listen to offers for Pacioretty, but I don’t believe he’ll move him before the trade deadline. With Pacioretty still under contract through next season, Bergevin’s in no rush to move him. Barring a great offer before the Feb. 26 trade deadline, I still think a Pacioretty trade takes place in late-June, perhaps during the NHL draft weekend in Dallas.
NO FIRM OFFERS YET FOR HOFFMAN
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger discussing the trade status of Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman with Montreal’s TSN 690. Dreger said he recently spoke with Sens GM Pierre Dorion, who acknowledged there’s interest in Hoffman but no concrete offers yet. Dreger also said there’s no fire sale in Ottawa yet but that could change if team owner Eugene Melnyk decides it’s time to cut payroll.
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren reports Hoffman admits he’s heard the trade speculation but he’s trying to block it out as much as he can. Warren said the St. Louis Blues are believed to have interest in Hoffman and Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams pursuing Hoffman are likely playoff contenders like the Blues. His offensive streakiness could be why the Sens haven’t received firm offers yet. Those clubs could also be considering other options before circling back to Hoffman. As the Feb. 26 trade deadline draws closer, Dorion should start getting some firm offers.
LATEST ON THE COYOTES
AZCENTRAL.COM: Among his eight suggested New Year’s resolutions for the struggling Arizona Coyotes, Richard Morin wondered which players could end up on the block this year. He notes Coyotes GM John Chayka has consistently shot down talk of moving defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. “Still, the Coyotes do have several veterans (Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brad Richardson, Tobias Rieder) who could be attractive to some teams.”
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith recently considered Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair “a low-risk, high-reward option in filling a need at top-nine wing.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks also suggested the Rangers should consider bringing back Duclair if the asking price is reasonable. It wouldn’t be surprising if Duclair, who’s on an affordable one-year deal and struggling to regain the form that saw him net 20 goals and 44 points in his 2015-16 NHL debut, ends up playing elsewhere later this year.
Hjalmarsson has also popped up in the rumor mill as an option for playoff contenders seeking an experienced blueliner. Rieder, who turns 25 on Jan. 10, could also be enticing for clubs in need of forward depth.