NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2018
Latest on Erik Karlsson, Ryan McDonagh, the Golden Knights, Canadiens and more in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Ottawa Senators are waiting to see if they’ll get offers from clubs with interest in defenseman Erik Karlsson. If they don’t receive any or none they deem acceptable, they’re willing to wait until this summer when teams have more salary-cap room and roster flexibility. Trade speculation remains regarding Senators forwards Derick Brassard, Mike Hoffman and Zack Smith, as well as defenseman Johnny Oduya.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports teams with interest in Karlsson had better be prepared to step up with a big offer. So far, only the Tampa Bay Lightning are considered a serious contender. Garrioch considers it a long shot that Karlsson gets moved by Monday’s 3 pm ET trade deadline because the Sens likely don’t have any tangible offers.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Nashville Predators could be one of the clubs that called the Senators to inquire about Karlsson. Given the Predators already have the best top-four defense in the league, LeBrun considers it unlikely they’ll land him, but points out Nashville general manager David Poile leaves no stone unturned. Noting the Lightning’s supposed interest in Karlsson, LeBrun doubts they’re willing to pay too much for the Senators captain and thinks they’d rather not draw too much from their current roster.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said he doesn’t intend to deal from his current roster, “including young core players such as Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev”. That make the possibility of landing Karlsson at the trade deadline remote. Other possible trade targets for the Lightning could include New York’s Ryan McDonagh, Detroit’s Mike Green or Columbus’ Jack Johnson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because Karlsson is signed through next season, the Senators don’t have to move him at the deadline. They can wait until the summer to get a suitable trade offer if they feel they cannot afford to re-sign him. As I’ve said before, it’s possible Karlsson could be traded, but there’s a lot of hurdles that must be overcome, including his modified no-trade clause, his $6.5-million annual cap hit and what’s expected to be a hefty asking price by the Senators. For a Cup contender like the Lightning who could be looking for additional blueline depth for the playoffs, acquiring a superstar such as Karlsson could come at the cost of losing depth elsewhere in the lineup. They could look at more affordable options now and revisit Karlsson’s trade status this summer.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Lightning, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs have all contacted the New York Rangers about defenseman Ryan McDonagh. He adds a couple of other unnamed clubs are also believed keeping tabs on the Rangers captain. A source tells him the Rangers’ asking price will have to come down for the Bruins to go after McDonagh. Earlier in the day, LeBrun tweeted the Leafs aren’t on McDonagh’s no-trade list.
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos acknowledged the speculation linking the Leafs to McDonagh but he believes they’ll knock on the door for Detroit’s Mike Green more than anyone else. Because McDonagh still has term on his contract he’ll be more expensive to acquire and can’t see them doing that.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh’s situation is somewhat similar to Karlsson’s. He’s got another year left on his contract and the Rangers will seek a significant return, likely a good young NHL player, a first-round pick and a top prospect. If the Bruins want that asking price to drop, you can bet the Leafs and Lightning and anyone else interested in him expect the same thing. Like the Senators with Karlsson, the Rangers can afford to wait until this summer for better offers.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS BUYERS OR SELLERS?
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Vegas Golden Knights definitely aren’t sellers approaching the trade deadline and could become buyers. He believes Vegas GM George McPhee and his staff are examining all possibilities, but they could be unwilling to mortgage too much of their future for short-term gain. McKenzie also suggests they could be among the teams at least looking into the trade status of Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Steve Carp reports McPhee isn’t likely to deal away any draft picks or prospects. He’s also aware of his club’s strong chemistry right now. If McPhee does make a move, Carp suspects it’ll be for some speed and scoring help on their bottom two lines. He notes Ottawa’s Derick Brassard, the Islanders Brock Nelson and Edmonton’s Mark Letestu are rumored to be available. If McPhee seeks blueline help, Detroit’s Mike Green and Columbus’ Jack Johnson could be had for perhaps a reasonable price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McPhee’s sitting in a good situation right now. His team has exceeded expectations in its inaugural season and is a lock to reach the playoffs. He doesn’t have to swing a trade if he doesn’t want to. Still, I think he’ll look at making an affordable depth acquisition up front. Maybe he can peddle one of his little-used players if he’s unwilling to part with a draft pick or prospect.
UPDATES ON THE CANADIENS, HURRICANES AND CANUCKS
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels recently reported Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergervin has set a high asking price (“reportedly a first, a second, a prospect and a roster player”) for left wing Max Pacioretty. However, Engels believes he’ll settle for “a first-rounder and a prospect who projects to be a top centre.” Pacioretty’s been linked to the St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames. Engels speculates the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets could also take a serious look. As for other Habs potentially on the trade block, Engels thinks Tomas Plekanec could be a good fit with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Karlsson and McDonagh, Pacioretty is signed through next season. The only difference is he lacks a no-trade clause. Still, Bergevin doesn’t have to move Pacioretty at the deadline. He can afford to wait until this summer if he believes he’ll get a better offer.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is unlikely to make a big move by the trade deadline. The Hurricanes haven’t proven themselves competitive enough to overpay for a big-name rental player and doesn’t have any expiring contracts that would be worth much to contenders.
Been told the #Canucks have not asked Edler to waive his no trade clause and they will not ask at this deadline.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) February 22, 2018