NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2018
Latest on Rick Nash plus updates on the Canadiens and Senators in your NHL rumor mill.
WHERE WILL NASH GO?
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports Rangers winger Rick Nash was asked by general manager Jeff Gorton to submit his 18-team no-trade list. Cyrgalis believes Gorton “will certainly be looking for a first-round pick in exchange for Nash,” who has 431 career goals and has excelled as a defensive forward in recent years.
TSN: Bob McKenzie believes the 12 teams Nash is willing to be traded to are those that will give him the best shot of winning the Stanley Cup.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers as possible trade destinations for Nash. He acknowledges Nash, who previously declined being dealt to a Canadian club when the Blue Jackets were shopping him in 2012, could still reject joining a Canadian team. He could also prefer staying as close to New York City as possible.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s appearance on Toronto’s SiriusXM NHL Network Radio examining the Rangers’ trade mindset approaching the deadline. Regarding Nash, he noted Dallas Stars coach Ken Hitchcock is fond of the Rangers winger. Friedman also suggests Nashville and St. Louis, as well as San Jose, noting how close Nash is with currently sidelined Sharks center Joe Thornton. He also includes the Calgary Flames as a possible option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers can ask for a first-rounder as part of the return for Nash but there’s no certainty that’s what they’ll get. Unlike Buffalo’s Evander Kane, who’s in his playing prime and could reach 30 goals this season, the 33-year-old Nash is clearly on the downside of his long career. Teams could be reluctant to part with a first rounder for a fading asset.
If Nash wants to skate only with American-based clubs, we can take the Flames, Jets and Leafs out of the equation. The Blue Jackets need scoring help but I don’t know if they’re keen for a reunion with Nash or how interested he might be in returning to Columbus. The Penguins could put more focus on bolstering their depth at center. If they do pursue a scoring winger they’ll want one with speed. The Capitals’ biggest need could be adding an experienced defenseman. Ditto the Leafs and Jets. Winnipeg could also be seeking a center, not a winger.
The Sharks need a scorer but GM Doug Wilson said he’s not willing to part with his young players. They also lack second- and third-round picks in this year’s draft so Wilson probably won’t part with his first rounder. Flyers GM Ron Hextall doesn’t sound like he’s in the market for a big-name rental this year. The Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika believes the Stars would be better off finding a speedier top-six winger. The Kings could prefer waiting for sidelined forward Jeff Carter’s return to the roster, while the red-hot Bruins could stand pat with their current roster.
That leaves the Ducks, Blues and Predators as perhaps the most likely destinations for Nash.The Ducks could use some additional scoring punch on the wing. The Blues, meanwhile, lack a first-round pick in this year’s draft but have plenty of depth in promising young players to tempt the Rangers. Predators GM David Poile could be aggressive in this year’s trade market in hopes of giving his club another shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
LATEST ON THE CANADIENS AND SENATORS
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s appearance on NHL Network saying he’s not convinced Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty will be moved by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Given the Habs’ rumored high asking price (” a high pick, a good prospect, a body, and something else. Or an NHL player and something else.”), he speculates GM Marc Bergevin could be hoping to make this move at the draft when clubs that don’t do as well or those that miss the playoffs could be more keen to acquire a player like Pacioretty. Friedman lists the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks and perhaps the Calgary Flames as clubs that could have interest in the Habs winger.
Nichols also cites TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculating over what the Canadiens could get for Tomas Plekanec during an appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690. Asked if the Habs could get anything between a second-rounder or a fourth-round pick, McKenzie said he wasn’t sure because the market fluctuates for rental players from year to year. He also said he’s curious to see if the Habs move Plekanec. There’s talk they could re-sign the veteran center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible a playoff contender in need of a scoring winger could make a big pitch for Pacioretty by the trade deadline. However, I still believe that’s a move that happens in the offseason, likely around the NHL Draft weekend in late-June. As for Plekanec, Sportsnet’s Eric Engels believes Bergevin should be fired if he keeps Plekanec and re-signs him. He feels Bergervin should try to move Plekanec for a draft pick and then attempt to re-sign him in the offseason.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Calgary Flames have been scouting the Senators for two weeks and there’s talk they like winger Zack Smith or center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. It’s believed the Los Angeles Kings have “mild interest” in Sens defensemen Dion Phaneuf or Johnny Oduya. Given Phaneuf’s $7-million annual cap hit through 2020-21, moving him by the trade deadline could be a long shot.
Garrioch also notes the Tampa Bay Lightning have more than a passing interest in Senators defensemen Erik Karlsson and Cody Ceci. Despite the chatter of Karlsson being a good fit with the Lightning, Garrioch said he’s not going anywhere at the deadline. Moving Ceci could be difficult unless the Sens get what they want in return. Teams seeking forwards have called Senators GM Pierre Dorion about Mike Hoffman, Smith and Pageau. The asking price for Hoffman, however, could be a first-round pick plus either a young NHL player or a high-level prospect.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators intend to open contract extension talks with Karlsson on July 1. Not sure if the Bolts would pursue Ceci, especially given recent speculation suggesting they’re looking at New York Rangers blueliner Ryan McDonagh.
I doubt Phaneuf gets moves at the deadline but I could see it happening in the offseason, though I’m not sure the Kings would be the destination unless the Sens pick up a big chunk of his cap hit. Even then, I don’t think he’d be a fit there.
Hoffman’s been in the rumor mill a while but if the Sens maintain a high price they might have to wait until this summer to find a suitable trade partner.