NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2018
Latest on the Senators, Flames, Oilers, Maple Leafs and Canadiens in an all-Canadian edition of your NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE SENATORS?
THE ATHLETIC: Prior to the Ottawa Senators shipping center Derick Brassard to the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday, Pierre LeBrun noted Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman’s apparent unwillingness to part with roster players in a trade. The Lightning have been linked to Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. LeBrun also noted the Senators’ preference to include winger Bobby Ryan and his $7.25-million salary-cap hit could complicate a potential Karlsson trade and wonders if a three-team deal might get it done by the 3 pm ET trade deadline.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith also noted Yzerman’s reluctance to part with roster players and how the Senators’ desire to include Ryan in the deal complicates things further. He points out the Lightning are still believed in on New York Rangers blueliner Ryan McDonagh, who could be an expensive acquisition but far more affordable than Karlsson. Detroit’s Mike Green and Columbus’ Jack Johnson could be affordable rental options.
TSN’s Travis Yost cites sources claiming ” Ottawa in serious discussions to engage third and fourth-party teams to further develop an Erik Karlsson trade. Working to include Bobby Ryan.” Yost added, “Tampa Bay is working Ottawa extremely hard and has been for three days now.”
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators decision to trade Brassard likely means they won’t be shopping center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, as his role with the club will likely expand with Brassard gone. The Senators are also talking to teams about Erik Karlsson, while the futures of forwards Mike Hoffman and Zack Smith and defenceman Johnny Oduya remain uncertain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The three-way deal that sent Brassard to the Penguins certainly adds credence to the possibility of the Sens bringing in a third or fourth team to move Karlsson and Ryan. Pulling it off, however, remains difficult.
The Brassard deal was complex and at one point had to be reworked after it was rejected by NHL headquarters. A three- or four-team swap involving Karlsson and Ryan could get quite complicated. I’m not saying it can’t happen before Monday’s trade deadline, but it could become so complex that it becomes a Rube Goldberg machine that fails to pass the league’s smell test. At this point, it’s more likely Hoffman, Smith or Oduya get moved at the deadline.
FLAMES AND OILERS
SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently examined the Calgary Flames’ needs approaching the trade deadline, suggesting they require a top-six winger and potentially a goaltender if currently sidelined starter Mike Smith is out longer than expected. He also feels their third line, which he called “an embarrassment this year”, is in dire need of an upgrade.
Francis lists forward Sam Bennett, defenseman T.J. Brodie and prospects Jon Gillies and Adam Fox as possible trade chips. While Brodie could fetch the Flames a top-six winger, Francis doesn’t see him getting moved.
CALGARY SUN: Francis followed up by reporting GM Brad Treliving has until the trade deadline to determine if his club needs to bring in a goaltender. With Smith sidelined, the Flames are making due with rookies such as Gillies and David Rittich as they struggle to remain in the Western Conference playoff race. He notes Carolina’s Cam Ward and Buffalo’s Robin Lehner are available but wonders if either guy would be an upgrade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Hurricanes jockeying for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, I don’t think Ward’s available. The Sabres could entertain offers for Lehner but I’m not certain they’re ready to part ways with him yet. I agree with Francis that the Flames are unlikely to shop Brodie. If they do make a move for a winger or a goalie, I expect they’ll draw from their prospect depth.
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector recently examined the Edmonton Oilers’ needs at the NHL trade deadline. He pointed out their ongoing need for a right-handed defenseman who can run the power play and for speedy wingers. He noted pending free-agent winger Patrick Maroon as a possible trade chip, linking him to the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues. Spector also doubts they’ll be able to dump winger Milan Lucic and his $6-million annual cap hit. He suggested a bold move would be shipping center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a No. 1 defenseman, such as Colorado’s Tyson Barrie. Spector said he’d be shocked if the Oilers shopped their 2018 first-round pick at the deadline.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Terry Jones reports Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli indicated yesterday he had no interest in blowing up his roster but will attempt to remodel it. In other words, perhaps moving assets for “almost-ready-for-prime-time prospects,” especially those with speed. He’s also not shopping prized players such as Leon Draisaitl. Chiarelli also acknowledged receiving interest in pending UFAs Maroon and Mark Letestu.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Maroon and Letestu will be goners, likely for draft picks and/or prospects. Chiarelli’s most significant “remodeling” attempts will likely come in the offseason. I don’t see Nugent-Hopkins getting dealt at the trade deadline, but I wouldn’t rule it out for the offseason if there’s a good return to be had. I agree with Spector that Chiarelli won’t trade his 2018 first-rounder at the deadline. He’ll could perhaps peddle it leading up to the 2018 Draft.
LEAFS AND CANADIENS
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined the trade needs for the Toronto Maple Leafs approaching the trade deadline. He feels they require a top-four, right-shot defenseman and more depth at center. He speculated they could look at “Detroit’s Luke Glendening, Edmonton’s Mark Letestu, or New York’s David Desharnais as a bottom-six centre.” Potential trade assets could include winger Matt Martin, forwards Josh Leivo and Kasperi Kapanen and goalies Calvin Pickard and Garret Sparks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Leafs have been linked to the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh, Fox points out he’s a left-handed shot. The Leafs could instead look at a rental such as Mike Green and perhaps seek that right-shot rearguard via trade or free agency this summer. I expect they’ll make a move but it could be for short-term depth. Having dealt away Nikita Soshnikov last week to St. Louis, I don’t see Kapanen going anywhere. Leivo or one of those goalies could be used as trade bait.
Volume of calls started to pick up on Plekanec today as soon as news leaked out of Brassard trade. Habs should have enough there by Monday to make a decision.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 23, 2018