NHL Rumor Mill – February 19, 2018
Latest on the Flyers plus several general managers are reluctant to spend big on rental players. Details in your NHL rumor mill.
COULD THE FLYERS SHOP FOR A GOALTENDER?
COURIER-POST: With Philadelphia Flyers starting goaltender Brian Elliott sidelined several week and backup Michal Neuvirth suffering an injury in yesterday’s 7-4 win over the New York Rangers, Dave Isaac wonders if general manager Ron Hextall will be forced into the trade market for help between the pipes. Even if Neuvirth isn’t seriously hurt, Isaac notes he’s been inconsistent throughout this season.
Isaac noted Hextall had recently rejected an offer by the Detroit Red Wings of Petr Mrazek for a third-round pick and wasn’t interested in Wings veteran Jimmy Howard. It also seems unlikely the Arizona Coyotes will part with Annti Raanta. He lists Buffalo’s Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson, Toronto’s Calvin Pickard, San Jose’s Aaron Dell and Colorado’s Jonathan Bernier as possible trade options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan wondered if Hextall might change his mind about Mrazek if Neuvirth is also out for a lengthy period. He also suggests the Calgary Flames could be a trade option for Mrazek if their starter, Mike Smith, remains out longer than expected with a lower-body injury.
Of those on Isaac’s list, I don’t see Lehner, Dell or Bernier being available. Johnson or Pickard, on the other hand, could be had for the right price but that depends upon Hextall’s willingness to pay it.
BRUINS, DUCKS, BLUES RELUCTANT TO OVERPAY FOR RENTAL PLAYERS
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney is reluctant to part with his high draft picks, top prospects or good young players, such as defenseman Brandon Carlo, for a rental player. Regarding Carlo, Shinzawa suggests if another team believes there’s more to the 21-year-old blueliner than he’s shown thus far, it could be the Bruins’ best chance to do something big at the deadline.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray is no fan of acquiring rental players, preferring to acquire those he can re-sign. Murray is also unwilling to pay what he considers high prices (according to Stephens, a first-round pick, a top prospect and a young NHL roster player “for starters”) for the best players currently available in the trade market.
STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong isn’t in any mood to part with young talent for a playoff rental. While he still considers his club as a top-10 team, he feels their championship window could be a year or two away from opening. Armstrong could, however, have interest in players with term on his contract, though he’s keeping his cards close to the vest.
Over the weekend, there were reports the Blues were in discussion with the Ottawa Senators regarding forwards Mike Hoffman or Derick Brassard, with St. Louis forwards Robby Fabbri, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka coming up in speculation. Hoffman and Brassard are signed beyond this season. Cap Friendly indicates the Blues also don’t have a lot of salary-cap space for the remainder of 2017-18.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney, Murray and Armstrong could make a move to acquire a good player before the trade deadline. However, it’s clear they won’t cave to pressure and overpay for a rental. If those asking prices aren’t lowered, it sounds like they’re willing to pass or consider much more affordable options.
LATEST ON THE CANUCKS
VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports Canucks GM Jim Benning attempted to clarify the comments he made Saturday during an intermission-panel appearance on Hockey Night in Canada. Benning had said he’d like to add a big player. “Maybe a forward with some physicality, who has the skill to make plays.” On Sunday, however, he told Kuzma his club wants to make hockey trades. “We have some UFAs to see if there’s interest in them and the point I was trying to make is there a hockey trade to be made for somebody with size and strength, who can play in our top nine?”
Regarding struggling defenseman Ben Hutton, Kuzma noted there’s little league interest in the recently-scratched 24-year-old blueliner plus the Canucks are unwilling to give up on him. There’s also little to report on management’s contract negotiations with pending UFA rearguard Erik Gudbranson. Benning indicated conversations are continuing and he remains hopeful of getting a deal done.
The Canucks GM rejected recent trade speculation concerning d-man Chris Tanev. “I’m not looking to trade Chris,” stressed Benning. “General managers call and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t listen, but he’s an important guy who will help our young guys develop.”