Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part One) – February 25, 2018
Latest on Erik Karlsson, Max Pacioretty, Rick Nash, Evander Kane and more in your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there’s a mutual desire between Ottawa Senators’ management and defenseman Erik Karlsson to try and work out a trade by Monday’s 3 pm ET trade deadline. Friedman considers the Tampa Bay Lightning as the leading contender and believes the two clubs have exchanged proposals. He also suggests there’s could be “stealth contenders” for Karlsson, such as the Nashville Predators. Some believe Preds general manager David Poile could be attempting to drive up the price for other clubs.
Chris Johnston reports there’s the potential for Senators winger Bobby Ryan to be included in a Karlsson deal. There was word Saturday of a potential fourth club getting involved, such as the Vegas Golden Knights or Montreal Canadiens, but Johnston considers that more fiction than fact. It’s important for the Senators to get players back in any deal for Karlsson. He also reports the Senators intend to flip defenseman Ian Cole, who was acquired from Pittsburgh on Friday as part of the return for Derick Brassard. The Sens could try to push for a second-round pick.
Nick Kypreos adds Lightning GM Steve Yzerman prefers doing a deal for Karlsson without giving up any roster players, but the Sens want a significant player as part of the return. Kypreos claims Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde and Vladislav Namestnikov have come up. Friedman believes if it’s the latter the Lightning would consider it.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports it’s hard to envision the Lightning moving Gourde and thinks the Bolts would be reluctant to part with the affordable Gourde. Noting Namestnikov is a restricted free agent this summer, Smith thinks he could be difficult to re-sign. He points out the Bolts have lots of prospect depth to deal with, whether it’s for Karlsson, New York Rangers blueliner Ryan McDonagh or someone else.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Paul Gackle considers the possibility of Karlsson ending up with the Sharks unlikely, noting they already have $120 million tied up in the contracts of Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He speculates GM Doug Wilson could be looking at getting involved as perhaps a third team in a deal that sends Karlsson to another club like Tampa Bay.
TSN: Bob McKenzie believes it’s more likely Karlsson won’t be moved by the trade deadline. He noted things were quiet on the Karlsson trade front in the aftermath of the Brassard deal on Friday. Teams are inquiring about the blueliner, including contenders such as Tampa Bay, Nashville, San Jose and Vegas, but McKenzie cautioned not to read too much into it. This is a very complicated deal to do, especially by trying to include Ryan’s contract into the deal, though the Sens might be willing to pick up part of his cap hit to facilitate a trade. There’s a feeling that whatever is offered by the deadline might not be enough to get a deal done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m with McKenzie on this one. Yes, it’s possible Karlsson could be traded by tomorrow afternoon’s deadline, but I don’t see the Sens moving him simply for the sake of doing so. I realize things are getting tense for the Senators players right now, but management has to get a significant return for Karlsson. Given the rumored complexity of the deal they’re trying to make, it might be better off waiting until the offseason to make that move, where there will be more teams with cap space and the willingness to discuss a major deal.
PACIORETTY AND PLEKANEC
SPORTNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there’s a belief Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty wants to be traded. Talks between the Canadiens and Minnesota Wild broke off as the Wild aren’t willing to part with forward Charlie Coyle. Nick Kypreos said the Los Angeles Kings are “pushing hard” for Pacioretty. It’s believed the Habs would want Tanner Pearson or Tyler Toffoli in return, but Kypreos isn’t sure that’s enough to get it done. At least a first-round pick would also have to come from the Kings.
Friedman also reports the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning have some interest in Canadiens’ center Tomas Plekanec, who was a healthy scratch from yesterday’s games against the Lightning for precautionary reasons.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe reports Plekanec and Chicago’s Artem Anisimov are believed on the Jets’ trade radar. Anisimov has a no-movement clause and would have to approve a trade. The Jets scouted the Blackhawks on Friday but could’ve been watching defenceman Jan Rutta or forward Ryan Hartman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty could move at the deadline but the Habs aren’t under pressure to move him now. He’s signed through next season and they can afford to wait for the right deal if there aren’t any to be found by Monday afternoon. Can’t see the Kings parting with Toffoli or Pearson, though that’s what it likely would take to make the deal work for the Habs in terms of return and for the Kings in clearing sufficient cap space for Pacioretty. With the Wild surging in the Western Conference standings it’s understandable why they’re reluctant to move Coyle or make a blockbuster deal right now.
As for Plekanec, his $6 million cap hit is likely the only real sticking point. The Habs could pick up part of it if they can land a second-round pick or more.
**UPDATE** The Montreal Canadiens have traded Tomas Plekanec and Kyle Baun to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Rinat Valiev, Kerby Rychel and Toronto’s second round draft pick in 2018.
NASH AND KANE
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Boston Bruins are considered the front-runners for New York Rangers winger Rick Nash. However, they’ll likely have to make other moves to make the dollars fit.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty also reports dealing with Nash’s cap hit is a big issue, as it would still be over $3 million if the Rangers absorb half of it, leaving the Bruins to free up additional cap space. It’s believed it would cost the Bruins a first-round pick and a solid prospect not yet on the NHL roster. That means the Bruins wouldn’t have to part with roster players such as Brandon Carlo, Jake DeBrusk or Danton Heinen. However, it could cost them someone like Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jakub Zboril, Zach Senyshyn “or even a college hockey prospect like Trent Frederic.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Bruins try to move Ryan Spooner and his $2.8 million cap hit to make this happen? I only mention Spooner because he’s been a frequent subject of trade speculation over the last two years. Otherwise, I’m not sure who the Bruins might part with to free up sufficient cap space unless it’s center Riley Nash ($900k), who’s a UFA at season’s end. It’ll be interesting to see if they can work this out and what a final deal might look like.
**UPDATE** The Bruins have acquired Nash in exchange for “a 2018 first-round pick, 20-year-old defensive prospect Ryan Lindgren, Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey and a 2019 seventh-round pick.”
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports the Buffalo Sabres scratched left wing Evander Kane from yesterday’s game against Washington as a precautionary measure with a trade apparently imminent before the trade deadline. It’s expected he’ll also be scratched from today’s game against Boston if he’s not dealt before then. Pittsburgh, Nashville and San Jose are among those believed to be interested in Kane. The Sabres were seeking a first-round pick as part of the return but could accept a second-rounder if they get a highly-rated prospect in the deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Penguins acquiring Brassard on Friday they’re likely out of the Kane sweepstakes. The Sharks reportedly aren’t keen to make moves for rental players so they could be out of the bidding too. I can see the Predators and perhaps the St. Louis Blues getting involved, though Blues GM Doug Armstrong is also reluctant to give up quality assets for a rental player.