NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2018

by | Jan 4, 2018 | Rumors | 53 comments

The declining production of New York Rangers winger Rick Nash could hurt his trade value.

Updates on Rick Nash, Max Pacioretty, Evander Kane & Mike Hoffman plus the latest on the Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.


NEW YORK POST: Noting New York Rangers winger Rick Nash was taken off the club’s top power-play unit in last night’s 5-2 loss to Chicago, Larry Brooks wonders “what exactly does that say about Nash and his value to the team both on the ice and as a pending free-agent rental approaching the deadline?”

Brooks points out Nash has gone goalless in eight games and has tallied twice in his last 21 contests. He also wonders if Nash, an unrestricted free agent this summer, is worth holding onto if Rangers GM Jeff Gorton receives offers that could include a first-round pick as the trade deadline nears. 

“Seriously, would the Rangers trade Nash for say, the 56th and 95th picks in the draft if that’s the best that’s offered, or would Gorton keep the winger for the playoff push and deal with the winger’s pending free agency following the tournament?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After being red hot through November and early December, the Rangers have won five of their last 10 games and hold one of the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference. If they’re still in postseason contention they could retain Nash. But even if they decide to shop him at the deadline, the decline in his production will hurt his trade value. At this point, I don’t see another team offering up a first-round pick to acquire him as a playoff rental. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes left wing Max Pacioretty understands his tenure with the Montreal Canadiens is coming to an end. “The big question is if it happens at the trade deadline or the draft,” writes Friedman, noting Habs general manager Marc Bergevin is aware he’d be selling low at this time while Pacioretty could improve elsewhere skating alongside better linemates. He feels Bergevin is comfortable waiting to move his captain, who has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens decide to trade Pacioretty I doubt that move occurs at the Feb. 26 trade deadline. That’s a deal that likely occurs in late-June, perhaps during the NHL Draft weekend in Dallas. The Habs will get better offers at that point than they will now. With Pacioretty under contract through next season, Bergevin doesn’t have to move him now. 

While the success of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights means they won’t be sellers in this year’s trade market, there’s plenty elsewhere to tempt teams seeking scorers. Friedman lists Pacioretty, Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane and Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman as possibilities. He wonders how their respective remaining contract term (Pacioretty has a year left, Hoffman has two and Kane is a UFA this summer) might affect their trade value.

Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues could be a destination for Hoffman, as they’re loaded with prospects that could interest the Sens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman having two years left on his contract could make him more attractive and perhaps help the Sens land a solid return. Kane will be a rental player but he could fetch a first-round pick and a quality prospect for the Sabres. 


SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon lists the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild as “sensible landing spots” for Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty.

Dixon feels Pacioretty might pair well with Flames center Mikael Backlund and wonders if the Habs might have interest in Flames center Sam Bennett. He believes a Pacioretty-for- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seems less likely now. Nugent-Hopkins is among the few bright spots for the Oilers this season while the Habs might seek younger assets.

Pacioretty could be a good fit on the same line as Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell, while the Habs could focus on a young Ducks defenseman such as Brandon Montour. Dixon suggests a swap of Pacioretty to the Kings for “the always hurt” Marian Gaborik if he’s bundled with a couple of quality prospects.

The Hurricanes need scoring punch and Dixon proposes a package with young blueliner Haydn Fleury heading the other way. Wild blueliner Matt Dumba could interest the Canadiens if Minnesota was interested in boosting their offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames already have Matthew Tkachuk as their second-line left wing. Unless they shift him to the right side, Pacioretty isn’t a fit there. The Oilers, meanwhile, might prefer a younger longer-term option, as Pacioretty would prove expensive to re-sign next year.

The Ducks could be a good fit, provided they’re willing to part with one of those good young defensemen. The Habs won’t have any interest in Gaborik, regardless of the prospects packaged with him. I think the Hurricanes biggest need is a scoring center, which Pacioretty won’t address. The Wild remain committed to Dumba so I don’t see Minnesota as a destination.


SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden was “suspiciously non-committal” regarding the future of GM Jim Benning in yesterday’s mid-season press scrum discussing the state of the club. Benning is in his fourth season as Canucks GM. Earlier this season, there was talk earlier this season that he could receive a contract extension but Linden sidestepped the issue.

MacIntyre suggests the wait on Benning could be problematic for the Canucks as they have big decisions to make leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline, “especially regarding potential unrestricted free agents Erik Gudbranson and Thomas Vanek.” He gave up the equivalent of first- and second-round picks to acquire Gudbranson and if they can’t afford to re-sign him they certainly can’t risk losing him for nothing to free agency in July. If they re-sign him, they’ll probably have to move another defenseman from their crowded blueline. He could fetch a draft pick and prospect if Benning is allowed to trade him. Vanek’s trade value, meanwhile, is less certain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a surge up the standings over the next four weeks, the Canucks are likely sellers. If they can’t or won’t re-sign Gudbranson and/or Vanek, you’ll see them shopped for the best return they can get. I’ll be very surprised if either guy brings the Canucks a good young NHL-ready player. 



  1. Do the Kings have any quality prospects?

    Love the Marchessault signing. Neal and Perron left. If the resign Neal they could certainly afford to ride out Perron and have a lot of additional picks to use as deadline currency to make an add or two towards a run.

    • Chrisms, I’d consider Clague Anderson-Dolan and Vilardi very good prospects to name a few.

  2. How many times has Vanek been moved ?
    He probably keeps a suitcase packed by the door.
    Flames are not trading Bennett.
    They may be interested in a rental but they have not done that much over the years and it won’t be for Bennett.

    I hope Duncan Keith gets rewarded on his next contract.

    • Duncan Keith isn’t getting another contract the one he is on runs until he is 39/40.

      • Some people questioned Keith signing long term so quickly with the Black Hawks but he avoided all the stuff other free agents have had to deal with. Vanek has been good for the Canucks and would be a good addition to a playoff team.

  3. Montreal wants to trade Pacioretty because he isn’t scoring 8g 13a 21pts but are scared he might succeed somewhere else and they want a younger cheaper version plus prospects and picks and at the same time hope he fails elsewhere so they can say “told you so”
    NYR might want to move Nash because he isn’t scoring 9g 8a 17pts again want a lot in return.
    If i’m a team looking for a scorer I would be turning my head to Buffalo who a guy who is actually scoring; Evander Kane 15g 19a 34pts on a non playoff team.
    The weird part is Kane would probably come cheaper then both Patches and Nash, but you be getting someone that has shown he can produce right now.

    • Caper on point.

    • No way Nash gets more than Kane.

      Patches MIGHT get more in return, but only because of his pedigree and year remaining on his contract.

    • Umm Caper The fear is if he gets better over the remaining season on a different team and ups his trade value for that team. Montreal would rather get a killer of a deal now or wait so that does not happen this summer. They by no means wish Paccioretty to do poorly.

  4. if Bergevin trades Pacioretty for Gaborik then Habs fans would riot unless the prospects and picks coming back were top tier. Kempe, Amadio, Clague. Not only do the Kings get a big solid scoring forward but they rid themselves of a really bad contract that many deemed was untradeable.

  5. Vanek has been a great mentor for Boeser starting last summer when they trained together in Minnesota.
    That being said, Boeser will be fine after the mentor is traded away and now is the time while his value is at its highest right now.

    Canucks IMO were in the thick of things until injuries to Horvat came along. This team will be great once again but they are too far behind wild card spot. Time to start selling off.
    Trade Tanev too before he also gets injured again

    • Vanek was being moved at the deadline when signed, Gubranson will be gone with him as well, the returns should be decent, 2nd round picks & a B grade prospect or a no pick & a nominally better prospect, think Burrows & Hansen type deals.

      Taney won’t be moving for sometime yet. If the right deal came along he could be moved this summer but I wager we’re still over a year away from him being traded.

      • To most Canucks fans, including myself…
        Not many Canucks should be untouchable.
        Tanev is good….when not injured
        Edler, Hutton, Del Zotto, Gagner, Eriksson, Both netminders,
        Basically Horvat and Boeser. Virtanen, Goldobin are keepers but if the right deal came they can also be included

      • Agreed but this is more a retooling on the fly rebuild than a complete rip down rebuild . Ownership wants to try & get asses in seats & generate playoff revenue. A mistake from my perspective.

        Gubranson will be moved by Feb 26, next out will be Edler & Del Zotto it all ties into contract structure & having Dman in the system ready to replace them. I would like to see Edler stay if he would take day 3 years at or around 4.5 to be the elder statesmen & help solidify the youth on D in Pouliot, Stetcher, Hutton & Juolevi

      • Striker….
        Too late for asses in seats. Fans here recognize a bad product and only come when they see even a sliver of hope.
        I still go to alot of games but admit I too won’t pay full price for a ticket to see half a team. Starving scalpers here can sell good tickets for cheap.
        Fans will come of they see a young call up work his butt off but not get the most success over an overpaid Loui Eriksson

      • Agreed, I gave up my season tickets at the start of the 2016-17 season, still go to 6 to 10 games a year but haven’t even paid, given tickets or taken by someone else.

        Still over 18k paid tickets sold for every game, the last game I was at there coukdn’t Have been 14 in the building. That’s 4K+ paid seats sitting empty.

        That should tell ownership exactly what the fans want.

  6. Love these people saying If MB trades Patches now he’s selling low that is laughable … Buddy when a top goal scorer is available playing for a team that isn’t scoring and at the bottom trust me teams know that it isn’t his fault just as M.Duchesne and will still pay high … Put it this way Friedman or whoever thinks that they will pay less for him just isn’t going to happen … Patches is one of the elite goal scorers in the league for the longest time playing with no centreman all his career imagine when he actually will …. Nothing less then a 1st round pick, young prospect Dman and a young Centre prospect and a young wing prospect if the first is not a top ten pick …all A prospects …. that’s the only price MB should accept and wait as long as it takes as we saw with M. Duchesne someone will pay for a top goal scorer

    • Never trust anyone who says trust me! Doesn’t matter, he will keep him until the summer.

  7. Isles just signed Mayfield to a 5 yr deal at 1.45 per avg. Very nice signing by Garth Snow.

  8. Almost spit out my cereal when I saw the Paciorety for Bennet speculation. Their point totals aren’t all that different but their contracts sure are. Not sure why anyone would give up premium or even slightly below premium assets for Patches at this point. He’s not worth the contract he’s on right now, much like Nash so there isn’t really any surplus value there. I think getting someone to take on their contracts would look like a win for either GM.

    Would be nice to see the Canucks add some assets and it definitely look like Gudbranson and Vanek are the primary pieces to be moved. I wonder if they consider moving other pieces like Sutter or Erickson if either is willing or if there is any interest at all.

    • Consensus is that Patches’ contract is a sweet deal – the player is underpaid on that one.

      • Agreed. Patches is very valuable still. Great contract, even if only one more year. Think about this. Last 4 seasons…name the centers he has played with. I would argue none were a true top 2 center. He plays a ton with Plekanec as his center who really is a 3c defensive center who can generate slightly offensively. He has played with Danault who is a 3 c maybe a weak 2 c. Patches has scored 30 or more goals that last 4 years. He is definitely worth more than “premium or even slightly below premium assets…at this point” !!

        IF guys like Vanek and Gudbranson will garner a 2nd and some type of prospect then patches is worth at least a 1st and top prospect.

      • I believe that his contract was an absolute steal when he was scoring 30 goals. Right now, half way through the season, he has 21 pts through 40 games. I’m not sure 4.5 mil is a bargain for a 1/2 pt per game player.

        I accept the argument that he hasn’t had a lot of offensive talent at centre. But he didn’t have that before when he was producing very good pt totals in the past. It’s entirely possible that if he got in the right situation he would flourish but there may well be other 1/2 pt per game guys out there that would also flourish in that situation and wouldn’t cost 4.5 mil or much in the way of assets.

  9. Rangers still look weak down the middle and though Nasher is not scoring, he certainly is providing a big body, puck control, still generating shots and is good on the pk. IF Nash were to go….and Kreider still being out….who would replace him on the wing? I think it is still too early to bring up Chytil. I think they should wait till the deadline and reassess. Unless a 1st is coming their way today then hold off for at least 2 2nd rd picks at the deadline. Then bring up Chytil and let him finish the season with the Rangers and into the playoffs…. Only option I can see if Nash continues to not score.

    What do you think SJ would offer to reunite Nash and Thornton for a cup run?

    • Complementary passes for seniors at Denny’s

    • Rick Nash, the most overrated “so-called star” in the NHL … all he is a big body who plays like he’s 5’8″ … afraid of the rough stuff and is traveling on the down escalator. Wouldn’t even want him as rental and no way he fetches anything close to Kane or Pacioretty.

      • nash is the worst playoff scorer in the history of the NHL, what a bum

      • I think you both need to look at this player without your Pens or Sabres jammies and glasses on. Overpaid, yes. However the guy is far from a bum, and afraid of “the rough stuff” ? Lol, why he doesn’t fight?

      • You tells em ny. I’d take nash on the pens as a rental any day that ends in y… course we can’t afford him but still decent player

    • Sorry that commenter is chrisms, I somehow missed that part.

      • Man… you really got a full on robot chubby for that guy. It’s cute in a 9 or ten year old but for what I assume is an adult it’s kinda creepy

      • Ps. Kinda desperate to be quoting espn.

      • I usually just quote chrisms for all hockey related topics. And I was merely pointing out that someone else, with a little credibility, was of the same thinking after you told me I was completely crazy. It’s funny how quick you are to deflect and bash on ESPN now, yeah no one has ever heard of them. And yeah Crawford is not a bad choice but I picked Murray for the same reason they did. His age and what he will potentially mean to the Canadian national team over the next decade. Chris still has a crush on MAF and his adorable, awkward mannerisms, and that is the real issue here.

    • I would take Crawford ahead of Murray. He gets zero respect for being consistently very good year after year. I don’t get it.

  10. Edmonton’s Klefbom, 2018 first rounder and a prospect for Karlsson. Nuge would have to go over the summer but could you imagine Karlsson lobing the puck up to Mcdavid for breakaway after breakaway! Magic.

    • if it were RNH, Klefbom & a 1st then I can see OTT willing to listen further & start negotiations but if it were just Klefbom, a 1st & a random prospect…it would be a non-starter.

    • Surely Ottawa can get better than that elsewhere. At least throw Puljujarvi in or something.

      A 2 time Norris trophy winner, perennial nominee. Hit the 80 point mark for the first time since some dude named Potvin you may have heard of did it from the back end.

      Karlsson is on a Team surrounded by bums. Coming off major surgery to his foot and had no training camp. Yet he is still a star defensemen.

      Ottawa has Dzingle pretending to be a top 6 forward. Oduya pretending to be a top 2 defensemen, Ceci struggeling to discover the NHL game within this mess. Slow as mallasses Phaneuf then a bunch of rookies or bottom pairing D.

      It’s not a surprise why they suck so bad. The roster is pathetic. They have quality guys in Hoffman, Stone, Duchene(I think), Brassard, Pageau, and Karlsson but I only count 4 top 6 forwards in those names. 1 3rd line centre and 1 defensemen.

      The rest of the roster won’t get Ottawa much in return unless they try and trade youth and prospects like White, Brown or Chabot but that concept seems self defeating.

      If they manage to dump the dead weight surrounding these guys and bring in 2 more top 6 forwards and a top pairing D they may return to respectability.

      But Karlsson playing on a bad team coming from surgery is still worth more than that.

      • Not to pick knits here but Paul Coffey had 93 points in 90-91. I’m pretty sure Potvin was done by then. He had 103 the year before and 113 the year before that. Although your main point is valid and on point.

  11. That was a great contract giving Marian Gaborik all those years lol, he has 4 more years left and is 33 years old, how many dumb GMs would take on that salary?

    • GM Lombardi signed him to that after he came over and had a strong playoffs the year they won the cup I believe. With such an injury history I was surprised at a 5 yr deal. I could not envision any other GM, at the time, offering a 5 yr deal.

  12. With all the rumors of OTT maybe trade off Hoffman and other assets, I am curious why they do not offer a 2020 1st rd pick along with Bobby Ryan to someone and take back some pieces with shorter term. This way Hoffmans 9 goals stays while Bobby’s 5 goals leaves. Hoffman is over 2 million cheaper per year and younger by 2.

    EDM has currently I think 8.5 million cap space

    TO EDM: Bobby Ryan & Brassard & a 2nd (or another round)
    TO OTT: RNH, Strome & Maroon & a 1st (or another round)

    Bobby can slot with McDavid or Leon D. He played well with Getzlaf when he had that top line center to be the focus of the offense.

    This years cap it fits under and the Cap space should balance out in the off season if they let Letestu & Cammalleri walk which i think they should…

    Brassard is better offensively than Strome, Latest, Maroon & Camm. He can slot 3C for one more year with EDM. MCD gets a big body winger (thought a reclamation now) But I am confident his pace will be able to serve what McD needs.

    RNH gets a #2 center locked for a few more years. They get another young winger in Strome. They can let Maroon walk.

    Also more cap space long term to make a pitch for their own player Karlsson when he is eligible?

    Going forward EDM would be better balanced for scoring on the wing. McD #1C Leon D #2C Brassard #3c

    • MCD’s contract hasn’t kicked in yet, starts next year. They also wouldn’t want Ryan’s contract if they didn’t give OTT anything in return. OTT would need to take a toxic contract in return, which EDM doesn’t have, to that extreme anyway.

    • How does this deal help Edmonton? They are giving up the better players and they have to give up a first too? I’ll take RNH any day over Brassard and at this point Maroon is a better fit than Ryan. And including Strome and a first for what purpose?

  13. Rumor circulating in EDM: RNH for Patches as the key pieces involved.

    • I can see that as a base for conversation. I’d be curious if MTL works to get more top draft picks back in exchange OR it is only part of a larger players for players swap.

      Have you heard or read any other pieces being thrown around?

      • Nope, just going around the office and my kid heard the same thing. Who knows where it started. Just throwing it out there.
        Straight up is all I heard. Not sure I like that deal for EDM. I think they are better than their record and will make a run, but they are running out of highway for this year. RNH has been a really good player for them this year.

      • RNH & Strome for Pacioretty and Galchenyuk were the names being thrown around today.

  14. Nugent-Hopkins, from what I’ve seen, is a keeper. He has played solid two-way hockey for Edmonton – there must be another way to find a scorer for McDavid’s line.

  15. I could see Vanek being traded to Winnipeg. He could fit in nicely for a long playoff run on the Jets. The Canucks would get a nice prospect and the Jets wouldn’t have to break the bank. Win Win.

  16. I’d like to see the Pens go get Kane and Pax.

    Maata and 2nd rounder for Kane and Girgensons.

    Sheary, Blueger, Hornqvist and Hagelin for Pax and Plecanek

    Will also give Pens about $12 mil cap space next year to resign Kane and add 2-3 guys for the bottom 9.

    With Guentzel, Sprong, Aston-Reese and others the Pens will still have good, young scoring depth on the wings to complement Croby, Malkin, Pax and Kane and assuming they can stay healthy (a big if) they have depth in D too, can retain Cole and easily sign vet D guys like Andrej Sustr, Luke Schenn, John Moore or Brandon Manning to fill out the D with cap friendly deals.

    • Wow even I don’t see either of those happening. There is no incentive for Buffalo or Montreal(especially) to make those moves. That definitely doesn’t help Montreal, except to the bottom of the standings. And those are literally 4 of the worst dmen in the league. Non of them fit the Pens system. Id rather play Pedan or Tinordi or Corrado.

  17. Nash and Smith to SJ for Boedker and Ward