NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2018

by | Jan 5, 2018 | Rumors | 56 comments

Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane remains a figure of interest in the NHL trade-rumor mill (Photo via NHL Images).

Updates on Evander Kane, Max Pacioretty, Anthony Duclair, Erik Gudbranson and more in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance lists the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes and Ottawa Senators as the early sellers in his primer for the 2018 NHL trade deadline, set for February 26. The Sabres are getting calls on left wing Evander Kane, who’s at nearly a point-per-game pace this season. Custance suggests the San Jose Sharks could be worth watching as they have the salary-cap space to pursue Kane this summer via free agency if they wish. Benoit Pouliot, Johan Larsson and Jacob Josefson are also garnering interest.

Custance cites an NHL source claiming Arizona Coyotes winger Anthony Duclair asked to be traded and the club is trying to accommodate his request. The Senators lacks first- and second-round picks in this year’s draft, something GM Pierre Dorion hopes to address. While defenseman Erik Karlsson could fetch a substantial return, Custance feels “that’s a monster trade to try and pull off in the middle of the season.”

The St. Louis Blues are the buyer to watch, as one NHL source believes GM Doug Armstrong could be aggressive in the trade market. Armstrong could prefer adding a player with term remaining on his contract, potentially making Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman a tempting target.  Custance also suggests the Montreal Canadiens could be a wild card in the trade market. Captain Max Pacioretty has surfaced in the rumor mill and winger Alex Galchenyuk could also become a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s been overshadowed of late by other notable players in the rumor mill but that doesn’t mean rival teams have lost interest in him. The Sharks could be a short-term destination, giving them the inside track to re-sign him if he’s a good fit. The Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues could also consider pursuing the Sabres winger. 

Pacioretty, meanwhile, continues to dominate recent media trade chatter. TSN’s Darren Dreger suggests Pittsburgh and the Nashville Predators (“That’s speculative”) as potential destinations. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman adds St. Louis and the Los Angeles Kings as possibilities. Dreger’s colleague Ray Ferraro recently kicked around the idea of Pacioretty to the Edmonton Oilers for center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, something the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples frowns upon.

While I don’t discount the notion of the Canadiens moving Pacioretty before the trade deadline, I believe that’s the type of deal that takes place in the offseason. In June, there will be teams flush with salary-cap space that could provide the Habs with better trade options.

SPORTSNET: Jonathan Willis lists Arizona’s Anthony Duclair, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green and goaltender Petr Mrazek, Vancouver Canucks blueliner Erik Gudbranson and winger Thomas Vanek, Buffalo’s Evander Kane and Benoit Pouliot, Edmonton Oilers center Mark Letestu and left wing Patrick Maroon and Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec as 10 players potentially available as rental players leading up to the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For all the big names that sometimes get floated in rumors (“Tavares!” “Karlsson!” “Pacioretty!” “Nash!”), most of the players being moved by the deadline are usually depth players, struggling youngsters or aging veterans on expiring contracts whose best seasons are behind them. Willis’ list is a fine example of the type of players likely to become trade candidates leading up to Feb. 26.

Of this group, only one (Kane) can considered a skilled talent in his playing prime. Duclair has potential to perhaps blossom into a reliable scoring forward. Maroon is on pace for his second straight 40-plus point season, but there’s some question over whether he can maintain that pace without talented teammates such as Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. 

Duclair has struggled to regain the 20-goal, 44-point form he displayed during his rookie campaign of 2015-16. Still, he could recover his scoring touch playing on a deeper, stable roster. TSN’s Darren Dreger said the Coyotes seek a young player who, like Duclair, might benefit from a fresh start elsewhere. He claims the trade talk regarding the Coyotes winger was heating up but Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan cites two sources suggesting that could be an overstatement. However, Morgan said trade discussions will continues. I wouldn’t be surprised if Duclair is dealt within the next week or two. 

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists the New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings as five teams that should move quickly to make a trade.

The Islanders need defenseman help and perhaps a goaltender. Allen suggests Vancouver defenseman Erik Gudbranson and Buffalo goalie Robin Lehner as possibilities. The Blues could use more scoring depth and have been linked to Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman. The Leafs need a defensive rearguard and Gudbranson could be a good fit.

Allen also wonders if Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has considered adding Buffalo’s Evander Kane. He also suggests the Kings have the prospects to make a pitch for Kane.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gudbranson is a rugged stay-at-home defender but there’s concern over his lack of speed and ability to adjust to the now-faster pace of the NHL game. Still, I can see a club like the Leafs or Islanders taking a chance on him as a rental for the right price. I don’t see the Sabres parting with Lehner.

Like Pacioretty, Hoffman’s been mentioned a lot of late as a trade candidate, but recent reports suggest the Sens haven’t received any solid offers yet. That might change as the deadline approaches.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Rutherford has Kane in his sights but he might not have sufficient prospects to tempt the Sabres. The Kings could look at the Sabres winger, but that depends upon whether they feel they need to bolster their offense. 



  1. Rick Nash is small name, small time player …the pressure is on Rutherford to do something big in order to get the Pens back in the playoff hunt … Mario & Ron Burkle will not be happy campers if there isn’t any playoff revenue $ this year. First thing he should do is to tell Mike Sullivan to get his head out of his ass and get Sprong away from Sheahan. What’s the point in that? Might as well send him back to Wilkes-Barre. No ragging on Kris Leturnover this morning, they all stunk out the joint last night.

    • Sheahan is simply snakebitten… Just ask Deeee. 🙂

      • I like Sheahan solid defensively has some offensive upside but looks stronger as our 4th line center.RUTHERFORD NEEDS TO get something done and now and stop put zing we still have a solid shot if we can turn it around to at least make the playoffs… times a ticking..

  2. Nash even at this stage of his career is a top 9 on ANY team. Team Canada selection on numberous occasions would indicate is not a small time player. His next contract will be more palatable.

    Pens better be careful and need to do something to not be one of a select few teams (if any) to win the cup one year and not even be in the playoffs the following.

    • I wouldn’t say he is a shoe in into any top 9. See Tampa for example or the Leafs.
      Also, with his salary no one wants a third line winger and have to pay in prospects as well.

      From the limited Rangers game action I have seen he has looked pretty invisible.

      • *Shoo-in not shoe in. haha

      • I would definitely say you’re not seeing enough of him. Broken record here… but many nights he’s the best player on the ice , regardless of whether it shows up on the scoreboard or not.

        Right now Cory Conacher is playing 3rd line RW in Tampa with 6 points…. Nash isn’t an instant upgrade?

      • These nights that Nash is the best player on the ice, is that during a game or when he is skating alone in his backyard?

        Sorry, a joke. I like Rick Nash, what happened to him is the common thing where he got a contract bigger than his talent so he looks worse than he is, it happens to many players.

  3. St. Louis is without their first rounder this year, so it may be a tough match with Ottawa for Hoffman.
    I agree with Ferraro. RNG for Pacioretty could help both teams with positional needs.

    Duclair to Philadelphia makes sense for a young Dman like Sam Morin. Flyers need young wingers and have too many defensemen

    • If PC trades RNH straight up for Patches he should have his head examined.
      RNH is a very good 2C just entering his prime with 3 years left on a good contract. He also a 200′ player and very responsible defensively.
      For a struggling LW (Which the Oil already have 2 with as good or better #’s) who will be leaving his prime in a year or 2.
      IMO that deal makes zero sense.

      • I agree 100% RNH his heavily underrated if you aske me. I would be more tempted to try and trade Draisaitl for a huge return that could fill a couple holes.

        Not saying I would trade Draisaitl,

      • Ya Dino, that would be a big flippin’ deal. Something seems off with him lately, maybe he’s playing hurt. Most nights over the last 2-3 weeks he just doesn’t have the jump he played with last year.
        His 5 on 5 numbers are actually comparable to last year, PP is off.
        PC has large nuts, but boy that is a risky move.

      • Agreed….I’m a Habs fan and would do Patches for RNH trade in a heartbeat but no way Edmonton does that trade, total pipe dream..

    • You’ve heard it 1st… MTL will trade Jacob De La Rose for Duclair. 2 young players that need a change of scenery…

    • Pacioretty and who for Slepeshev. Oil won’t move RNH. After Connor, RNH is their best forward. Why move him?

  4. Chances of Rangers trading Nash to Pitt, so not even a discussion….But he is a top 9, and his contract won’t have any bearing come deadline. Can easily see either Blues or Sharks interested.

    • Sorry, left out the ZERO!! Chances Nash goes to Pitt

    • Why would NYR move Nash. They are in their own playoff battle, I don’t see them pulling the plug. Nash walked as a UFA this summer unless NYR gets a player that helps now, it won’t be for futures.

      • Exactly. I could see a deal with SJ. Especially if we can include Smith,which I don’t know their situation or need on defense. Boedker is a guy that was rumored earlier in year and a player I think could thrive with Rangers. Much the way Grabner did. Guessing Sharks could be a team on both Nash and Smith limited ntc list…Nash/Smith for Boedker and Ward. Nash and Ward both on expiring contracts. Smith and Boedker 4m cap hits

      • SJ has no need for Smith, I’m sure the would gladly jettison Boedker for a used bag of pucks but they would have to entice NYR to take that contract. Heed has to clear waivers now, Ryan next season & 5 more Dman are locked up, 4 for more than 2 years.

        Again unless NYR is well out of the race by the trade deadline Nash won’t be moving, especially with Kreider gone indefinitely.

      • Striker, obviously Nash has more value than Boedker or a bag of pucks. Hence, including Smith who I think Gorton regrets signing. Boedker contract not bad. Cap hit is 4m, but he’s only owed 3 next year and 1 the year after which basically you can buy out if you’re not happy with him after next season. So, if SJ wanted Nash, would they be willing to take Smith?

  5. Has a true Habs fan for 20 + yrs I seen an heard alot s***, an alot of past gm’s have come in an done eff all to improve our team, with that being said. Why not pacioretty for Connor Carrick an kaspri kapanen, we get to 2 players back that can’t get in to a pretty solid leafs team, can’t believe I just said that haha. But we could use Carrick for better then Joe morrow an we could use kapanen who’s is by far better then Daniel Carr or del a rose,kapanen just needs playing time an the few times he has gotten ice in to he was making s*** happen so why not make that deal..

    • Carrick doesn’t even dress as a regular on Tor’s D now & it’s not a very good D & Zaitsev has been injured for weeks.

      No way Mon makes that trade. If Patches is traded it will return far greater value than that.

      • What about a patches for rob fabbri, Vince Dunn,Patrik berglund an Jordan kyrou,what u all think??

      • I think your dreaming in Technicolor

  6. Rutherford had better find a dance partner soon. only 3 points out of the last wildcard spot but have played 42 games. 2 more than Carolina who has 2 games in hand. Ward has vaulted them back into the playoff race doing what Darling couldn’t, stop some pucks.

    An incredibly tight race in both conferences for a playoff spot. Going to be an awesome race to the finish. Parity is alive & well.

  7. Colorado just played it’s 40th game, they have 45 points & have scored 128 goals. Last season they had 48 points & 166 goals in 82 games.

    Good thing Sakic doesn’t know what he’s doing. I’d say his rebuild plans are going fine, 1/2 way thru year 3 of his rebuild & the wing nut is long gone & he can make his own decisions now with out Roy’s interference.

    • Here Here! Stick tap to Striker…

      • *damn autocorrect

        “Hear, Hear!”

    • I’d say stick tap to Sakic. I didn’t do anything, I just supported what he was doing.

      • Is that modesty Striker? Hows the fit? not to tight in the sleeves?

      • Nope all good how do the rest of you feel?

      • My knee hurts

      • Gentleman Joe – in his prime, the perfect winger for Nathan MacKinnon; and things are definitely making a turn for the better in Colorado. Shame about Patrick Roy.

  8. Rick Nash – Over rated, over hyped and over paid. Another product of the New York media. Untradeable.

    • Ny media has been very critical of him. We eat our own. Last year of contract. Easily tradeable and probably highly coveted by a lot of teams

  9. Nielsen/2nd for Gudbranson
    2-2nds from NYI

    Discuss? Thx

    • Nielsen plays for Det now. He’s in his 2nd season there.

  10. Unless Letang stops being bad and Sid stop being blah (just circling the perimeter trying to make cutesy backhand saucer passes all day), it really doesn’t matter what Rutherford does.

    Pretty soon they might want to consider just selling. Trade the UFA’s, Cole and Hornqvist, and maybe some guys like Hunwick if they find a buyer.

    Take a page from the way the NY Yankees sold a few pieces and used young players to reload the very next year.

    Hornqvist would turn the Blues from pretender to contender. They need jam and a right shot forward. He’s exactly what they need.

    The Red Wings were successful with an older 1-2 punch at center, first with Yzerman/Fedorov and then Datsyuk/Zetterberg, by surrounding them with young players.

    The Pens can still be legit contenders for several more years. No need to mortgage that for one all in effort this year.

    • Agree MG. The Pens are out of gas after 2 long playoff runs with a world cup thrown in. One of their keys to success over the last couple years was young talent coming up and filling in roles for cheap. They have sold those picks and prospects lately and it worked, they won 2 cups.
      Key contributors moved on for $$, which is normal during the cap era as you can’t pay everybody. Time to try and repeat that process.
      They could also use a save. Don’t totally throw in the towel, but definitely don’t move young assets to try and save a season. Roll with what you got.

      I think the Pens fans would understand?

  11. The Pens are hard to write-off, especially given their history, but it does look like crunch time is right now for a team playing without much fire.Nash is not the answer for them but I cold see a deal with Leafs or with western team. Leafs could use Ian Cole. Their defensive issues are very real and while he won’t solve it alone, they have called up Dermott, who might help but long term they need to rid themselves of the myth that Gardiner will ever really be able to play defense. Gubrandson? Oh, if he suddenly is able to skate and his hockey IQ improves from the current level, maybe someone could use him but not Toronto, he cannot keep up. Girardi is a surprise in Tampa but he is smart and has the ability to make up for some obvious shortcomings plus he plays with an elite team that can cover for his weaknesses. Leafs could not cover for big Erik.

    • Gubranson would just be a rental where ever he goes, he holds himself in higher regard than the real world.

      Cole upgrades Tor’s D nominally. Is he really any better than just dressing Polak? Cole isn’t the answer for Tor, he would help but at what cost?

      The solution to Tor’s D issue won’t even be possibly addressable until this summer if then. In the short term they just need a reliable #6 guy who can kill penalties with out having to give up to much to acquire it. Say a 2nd round pick & a B grade prospect, Leivo, Shoshnikov, etc.

      • What the Leafs need is Zaitsev back and healthy.

      • Agreed, another solid 5/6 for this years playoff run wouldn’t hurt if the cost is palatable. Cole or Gubranson would be decent options as rentals. Could either be had for a 2nd & a player like Leivo or Shoshnikov?

      • Holden for Guldbranson

  12. Reading comments about Nash. I think he lost his step after he suffered that big concussion that kept him out a while. I just do not see anything on the Rangers roster to replace everything he does. Watching, you see players shift his way to defend against him which has allowed for his line mates to be open more. If he chose to shoot more, rather than defer and pass, the outlook would be different Nash. (regardless of salary..bc he will never live up to that ##)

    • Nash leads team in sog!!

  13. Duclair to Boston for Vatrano they both need a change of scenery and Arizon could use the speed.

    • That could work Obe

      • Both have upside I love Frank but not sure the coach does not sure what Duclair’s problem is just maybe it could work.

    • Probably cost a little more than Vatrano. Would definitely try to add him if the cost is fair.
      Love what Boston is doing no real need to do anything.
      Maquaid is probably available also.

      • Valid point Dave, not sure there is room at the in for Duclair or Vatrano.
        Cassidy said the other day how much he loves the chemistry on this team. Young guys infusing the vets with energy. Vets passing down knowledge to the young guys.
        Your right, why mess with that.

      • Agreed.

  14. I’m not sure that Hoffman justifies a 1st if the blues put together the right package. Maybe Sobotka (for cap purpose), Barbashev, Schmaltz, and maybe a 3rd or 4th??

  15. How about Hoffman to the Islanders for Ho Sang and one of their first round picks.

  16. Sabres should give Lenher to Islanders for free to complete the tank of Dahlin. Ok, well we know Sabres will never win lotto top pick but at least they can get a good player.