Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 28, 2018
Updates on the Leafs, Canadiens, Senators, Red Wings and Bruins in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
LEAFS, SENATORS AND CANADIENS
TSN: On Friday, NHL insider Darren Dreger told Toronto’s TSN 1050 he wouldn’t be shocked if Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello called the Columbus Blue Jackets expressing interest in defenseman Jack Johnson. He noted Johnson no longer felt he’s a fit with the Blue Jackets and requested a trade. Dreger said he doesn’t know for certain if there’s been dialogue between the two clubs but he’d be surprised if Lamoriello hadn’t inquired about Johnson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t hurt for the Leafs to explore that option, though I doubt they’re willing to give up much to get him. The Jackets, however, will try to get the best return possible, which could be a second-round draft pick if they’re looking long term or perhaps a roster player who can help them now. I think the Leafs want to add a rental defenseman but they won’t overpay to get one.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens need to retool at the trade deadline, rather than engage in fire sales.
He believes the Senators want more than just a first-round draft pick for winger Mike Hoffman, who’s under contract for two more seasons at an annual salary-cap hit of $5.18 million. The Sens are also getting calls about winger Zack Smith and center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Defenseman Cody Ceci is also garnering some interest but LeBrun believes a team will have to overpay to get him. He also thinks a few Western Conference clubs could look at defenseman Dion Phaneuf but his $7-million annual cap hit limits his appeal.
Regarding the Canadiens, LeBrun believes they, like the Sens, are interested in hockey trades rather than sell-offs. Some teams have interest in left wing Max Pacioretty but they don’t have (or want to part with) a young center, which would have to be part of the deal. The Habs also have one pending UFA of note in Tomas Plekanec. They’ll likely want to retain Nicolas Deslauriers and Jakub Jerabek. An interesting debate for Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is whether offers he gets before the deadline for players under contract beyond this season will be better than those he might get for them in June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the Senators mentioned in the rumor mill, Hoffman is the guy who pops up the most. Doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll get dealt but he could be the Sens’ best trade chip. He’s been linked to the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues. The Senators apparently want a good young roster player in return.
As for the Canadiens, Bergevin will move Pacioretty for the right price, but I still have the feeling that trade (if it comes at all) takes place in the offseason. I think Plekanec is the most likely to move given his UFA status. I don’t see Deslauriers and Jerabek being dealt. They’ve been among the few pleasant surprises in an otherwise horrible season for the Canadiens.
ISLANDERS, BRUINS AND RED WINGS
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited insider Elliotte Friedman telling Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 that he knows the New York Islanders are looking for a defenseman. Calvin de Haan could be sidelined for the rest of the season while Johnny Boychuk’s been out for several weeks. Friedman said he wouldn’t be surprised if Islanders GM Garth Snow could be looking at Colorado Avalanche blueliner Tyson Barrie, who’s due to return to action soon from a hand injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs could move Barrie but I don’t think they’re under pressure to do so. While the Avs played well during Barrie’s absence, his return could provide a further boost to their lineup. Perhaps Columbus’ Jack Johnson might also be a short-term option for the Islanders.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the Boston Bruins could use a winger for their second line. They’re current using rookie Jake DeBrusk and a natural center in Ryan Spooner as their wingers. That’s resulted in Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy being reluctant to give that line more defensive-zone assignments. Shinzawa speculates the Bruins could target a more experienced all-around winger for their second line. He suggests Vancouver’s Thomas Vanek, Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman and Chicago’s Patrick Sharp as possible options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vanek and Sharp would be affordable rental options for the Bruins. Hoffman might be a better long-term fit but the Senators will want a good young player in return. The Bruins are apparently unwilling to part with any of their young assets.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports impending UFA defenseman Mike Green hasn’t had any contract talks yet with the Detroit Red Wings. Green claims to be unworried about the situation. He said he’d love to return with the Wings but acknowledged that remains to be seen.