Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 21, 2018
Updates on Erik Karlsson, the Sedins, Evander Kane and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
KARLSSON, PAGEAU, THE LEAFS AND THE SEDINS
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports he doesn’t expect the Ottawa Senators to trade defenseman Erik Karlsson. Though Senators general manager Pierre Dorion made an off-hand flippant remark last week over how if Wayne Gretzky could be traded anyone could, Johnston said Dorion isn’t listening to offers on Karlsson.
Nick Kypreos said teams that had conversations with Dorion regarding Karlsson don’t expect him to be moved at the trade deadline. A lot of clubs won’t give up a big portion of their futures without knowing what his contract demands might be. Karlsson’s future, however, could be a hot topic leading up to the NHL Draft weekend in June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: What some folks overlooked (a little too conveniently, perhaps) was Dorion’s earlier remarks stating quite clearly that his first priority was re-signing Karlsson. Instead, they seized on his “If Gretzky can be traded…” comment and ran with it. Sure, it’s possible somebody could make a huge offer for Karlsson that’s simply irresistible for Dorion, but that’s probably not going to happen leading up to the trade deadline.
As Kypreos noted, no one yet knows what Karlsson will be seeking on his next contract. Yes, I know, he’s indicated that he won’t take a hometown discount and will likely want top dollar, but actual term and salary cannot be discussed until July 1 at the earlier, one year prior to his eligibility for unrestricted free agent status. By the draft weekend, which will be a week before July 1, we’ll have a better idea of whether Karlsson believes his long-term future remains in Ottawa.
Johnston said one Senator worth keeping any eye on is center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. He’s apparently drawn the most interest, including a trade offer which the Sens aren’t prepared at the moment to make. Ellliotte Friedman chimed in with his belief the Pittsburgh Penguins are among the clubs interested in Pageau.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pageau’s an effective two-way forward who can play center or wing. Though he’s on pace for only 30 points this season, he’s just two years removed from a career-high 43-point effort in 2015-16. That could make him tempting for the Penguins, who still haven’t suitably replaced Nick Bonino, who departed last summer via free agency.
Regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs’ recent struggles, Friedman noted this is the first real adversity the club has faced in a year and a half. With seven players due for new contracts next year and a hard-driving coach, there are conflicting agendas. He pointed out Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello, during the height of his powers with the New Jersey Devils, would ship people out if there were conflicting agendas. Some are wondering if he might do the same thing now with the Leafs.
Nick Kypreos reports there’s still uncertainty over Lamoriello with his contract expiration coming up, which might not be addressed until the end of the season. He suggests that could create an “interesting dynamic” at the upcoming trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have hit a rough patch of late, but I don’t think there’s going to be any panicky decisions here. The “conflicting agendas” appear to be that between some of the veteran Leafs and their rising young talent. It’s a long season and these things can be ironed out over time. Still, if the front office feels there’s a need for a bit of a shakeup, perhaps they might pursue a deal by the trade deadline.
Chris Johnston said the Sedin Twins are interested in returning with the Vancouver Canucks. So far, there’s been no discussions regarding contact extensions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though no longer the Canucks’ dominant stars, the Sedins have settled in nicely as secondary talent, providing the rebuilding club with invaluable depth and experience. The 37-year-old twins are on track for respectable 50-point campaigns. If their asking price is right, I can see them getting one-year deals with Vancouver.
POTENTIAL SUITORS FOR EVANDER KANE
NBC SPORTS: Scott Billeck suggests the Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights as possible suitors for Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane. Of the sixteen teams currently holding playoff berths, the Sharks and Jackets are the lowest scoring.
The Penguins are up against the cap and would have to shed salary, though it’s no secret defenseman Ian Cole is available. The Kings are struggling of late and could use a shot in the arm. The Golden Knights have cap room and Kane could boost their already-potent offense but they won’t overpay for the privilege.
Billeck doubts anyone is going to pay GM Jason Botterill’s high asking price for Kane. It’s believed he wants as many as four assets, including an NHL player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt some of the teams on Billeck’s list are interested in Kane, though I don’t think the Golden Knights will pursue him. Those clubs aren’t going to give up four assets to get him. I think Botterill knows this and will eventually move Kane for the best return he can get at the deadline.