Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 4, 2018
Updates on the Rangers plus the latest Max Pacioretty, Rick Nash, Erik Karlsson, Max Domi and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
UPDATES ON THE RANGERS
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks noted that Tampa Bay Lightning assistant general manager Pat Verbeek took in a New York Rangers game last week while Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury attended the Lightning’s AHL Syracuse game at Utica on Friday. While suggesting it would be “ill-advised” to make too much out of that, he claims there’s “definitely mutual interest” in exploring the possibility of a deal that could send Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh to the Lightning. The Rangers are apparently willing to absorb up to half of McDonagh’s $4.7 million annual cap hit through 2018-19 if they can get a suitable return. Brooks said the Minnesota Wild could be a point of interest.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa calls McDonagh “a good example of the left-shot defenseman the Bruins would like.” Given the Rangers’ captain’s performance, character and value, however, Shinzawa believes the asking price would be too expensive. He speculates it could cost the Bruins “at least a young NHL player, prospect, and first-round pick.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers and Lightning do have a trade history, the most notable being the deal that sent Martin St. Louis to New York in 2014. I wouldn’t dismiss the notion of McDonagh heading to Tampa Bay. It’ll depend, of course, on the Blueshirts’ asking price. The Lightning definitely have lots of promising young NHL players that would fit into the Rangers’ plan of retooling with youth. Remains to be seen if that deal can be worked out before the trade deadline but it’s worth monitoring.
Regarding Rick Nash, Brooks claims the Rangers are also willing to pick up half of the remainder of Rick Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit to facilitate a trade. ” Nashville, Columbus, Dallas, St. Louis, San Jose and perhaps Pittsburgh” could be interested parties.
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos believes the Winnipeg Jets would like to add an experienced defenseman but aren’t seeking a right-side guy to replace the sidelined Jacob Trouba. He wouldn’t be surprised if they shop for a top-six forward, perhaps on the left side. He thinks the Rangers’ Rick Nash could be a fit there but he’s uncertain if the Jets would be on his list of trade destinations.
Speaking of Nash, Friedman believes the Rangers could soon go to Nash and ask for his list of destinations. He also said there’s some teams that believe Nash and fellow Rangers UFA Michael Grabner could get traded and then return to New York next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been conflicting reports regarding Nash’s 12-team no-trade list, with some saying the Rangers have yet to approach him and some saying the list is submitted annually. Regardless, it appears likely that Nash could be on the move to a playoff contender before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. I doubt he’ll agree to join the Jets. Prior to being dealt to the Rangers by Columbus, his no-trade list included all seven Canadian teams. As for he and Grabner returning to the Rangers, that conflicts with reports out of New York indicating the Rangers want to retool with younger talent. They might want to return to New York, but that might not be possible.
LATEST ON PACIORETTY, NASH AND LEIVO
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports asking prices around the league are high right now but they could drop as the Feb 26 trade deadline approaches. For example, some teams are telling him the Montreal Canadiens seek a first-rounder, a second-rounder, a “warm roster body” and a top prospect, which is a non-starter for most teams seeking a scorer. Chris Johnston chimed in noting clubs that are selling aren’t getting real offers at this stage.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That “warm roster body” is likely a top-six forward, preferably a center. Other insiders have speculated the Habs seek a young player – either a first-line center, a winger comparable to Pacioretty or a top-four left-side defenseman – as part of the return. Bear in mind that Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin doesn’t have to move Pacioretty by the trade deadline. With the winger under contract through next season, he can wait until the offseason if he feels he’s not getting decent offers right now.
Kypreos reports Toronto Maple Leafs winger Josh Leivo told management he’d like to be traded before the Feb. 26 trade deadline if they’re not going to use him. His colleague Elliotte Friedman notes the Leafs sent forward Nikita Soshnikov to the minors on a conditioning stint and wouldn’t be surprised if this was also to showcase him for a trade.
COULD THE LIGHTNING LAND KARLSSON?
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith noted the friendship between Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson during the recent 2018 NHL All-Star Game in Tampa could have Lightning fans dreaming of a permanent reunion. He feels it’s a pipe dream but not impossible. Smith notes the Lightning are deep in good young talent to tempt the Ottawa Senators, plus GM Steve Yzerman could clear cap space to absorb Karlsson’s $6.5-million annual cap hit through 2018-19. However, Smith notes the Senators’ asking price would be expensive and the Bolts probably can’t afford to re-sign Karlsson long-term after next season.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Senators could accelerate their rebuild by acquiring center Brayden Point and futures from the Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson isn’t going anywhere at the trade deadline. The Senators still hope to re-sign their captain and intend to open contract talks on July 1. However, if Karlsson appears interested in testing the 2019 UFA market, perhaps the Sens will consider putting him on the trade block this summer.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports learning the Arizona Coyotes “have made it known that Max Domi, with three goals this season and 12 in the two years following his 18-goal rookie season, is there for the taking.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi’s stats have really tumbled this season. He’s seventh among Coyotes scorers (22 points) and on pace for just 35 points in 82 games. That’s well below his 52-point rookie performance in 81 games back in 2015-16. Still, he’s only 22 and in just his third NHL season. However, Domi’s also playing a different role this season, centering the second line and taking on more defensive responsibilities. The Coyotes could remain reluctant to part with him.
LIST OF POTENTIAL TRADE DEADLINE BUYERS.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s Friday appearance on Edmonton’s 630 CHED listing the teams he expects to be buyers at the trade deadline. Friedman believes the Pittsburgh Penguins are motivated to deal. Despite Mike Fisher coming out of retirement, Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if the Nashville Predators added another scoring forward. He thinks the Los Angeles Kings would like to add a defenseman or a scorer. The San Jose Sharks could be motivated following Joe Thornton’s knee injury but they don’t like the asking prices. The Calgary Flames might like to add but it would mean perhaps parting with someone off their roster.
COURIER POST: Dave Isaac believes Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall has to balance winning now with bringing along young talent for the future. Hextall doesn’t want to part with a young player who could have an impact in the future. If Hextall were to add, Isaac believes it’ll be a bottom-six forward or a penalty-killing defenseman.
…NSH, meanwhile, would be looking at all scoring winger possibilities and that list may include guys like Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar in DET, though no one is suggesting DET is for sure moving those guys…
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 3, 2018