Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part Two) – February 25, 2018
Latest on Jack Johnson, Thomas Vanek and Brian Gionta plus updates on the Leafs, Oilers and Panthers in Part Two of your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
JOHNSON AND VANEK
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the Columbus Blue Jackets’ on-again, off-again contract extension talks with defenseman Jack Johnson appear off again for the moment. They’ll decide on Monday if they’ll trade him before the 3 pm ET deadline if he’s not re-signed by then.
Elliotte Friedman suggests the Anaheim Ducks could be a landing spot for Vancouver Canucks winger Thomas Vanek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets need additional scoring, especially at center. They could move Johnson for a scoring forward, though such a move could create a hole on defense. Not an easy decision while they’re jockeying for a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
With the Ducks also in a tough fight for a wild-card spot in the West, general manager Bob Murray could consider an affordable rental option such as Vanek.
GREEN AND GIONTA
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports a recent neck injury suffered by Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green isn’t considered serious, but it could affect his value leading up to Monday’s NHL trade deadline. Green has agreed to waive his no-movement clause if a deal can be reached with the Tampa Bay Lightning by the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Green’s neck injury, I believe teams that fail to land Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson or the New York Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh or those unwilling to pursue such expensive talent could consider the Detroit rearguard as a more affordable option. The Wings are also reportedly believed willing to absorb part of his $6-million cap hit to get a deal done.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Team USA captain Brian Gionta could be returning to the NHL before tomorrow’s trade deadline. Various reports indicate several Eastern Conference clubs, including the Boston Bruins, could be interested in signing the 39-year-old forward.
LEAFS, OILERS AND PANTHERS
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello is believed among those with interest in New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. He was also said to have earlier interest in Detroit Red Wings blueliner Mike Green and checking forward Luke Glendening.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Oilers forwards Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu have been told they’re getting moved by tomorrow’s trade deadline. Letestu’s been linked to “Pittsburgh, Toronto, Winnipeg, Columbus. Calgary, too.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Potential trade destinations for Maroon include Boston and St. Louis.
**UPDATE** The Edmonton Oilers traded Mark Letestu to the Nashville Predators for forward Pontus Aberg. The Predators then dealt Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Matthew DeFranks reports rumors have linked the Florida Panthers to the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh, the Senators Erik Karlsson and the Canadiens Max Pacioretty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers could be one of those “stealth teams” in on McDonagh or Karlsson. However, if the Panthers aren’t on either player’s list of preferred trade destinations, I don’t see that club having a serious chance in landing one of them.
Pacioretty lacks no-trade protection and the Panthers have some good young forwards that would interest the Canadiens. But with Florida surging of late and gaining ground in the Eastern Conference wild-card chase, I’m not sure GM Dale Tallon is in the market for a major move right now.