NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2018
Latest on Mike Hoffman, Jack Johnson and Robin Lehner in your NHL rumor mill.
FLYERS INQUIRED ABOUT HOFFMAN
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: John Boruk reports sources say the Philadelphia Flyers “kicked the tires” on Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman. However, the Senators’ asking price of defenseman Travis Sanheim and a first-round draft pick proved too expensive for the Flyers. Boruk feels Hoffman, who’s under contract through 2019-20 “at a very reasonable cap hit of just over $5 million a season”, would be “an ideal fit” with the Flyers.
With center Valtteri Filppula an unrestricted free agent this summer and the possibility of Jori Lehtera could be bought out, Boruk suggests the Flyers could have the salary-cap flexibility to add a veteran forward this summer if they wish. If the Sens insist on Sanheim as a return, perhaps the Flyers will have to add a third team to get a deal done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman will likely attract considerable interest in this summer’s trade market. Rumors this season linked him to the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues. It wouldn’t be surprising if Flyers general manager Ron Hextall revisits his interest in Hoffman leading up to the draft weekend (June 22-23) in Dallas.
JOHNSON OPEN TO STAYING IN COLUMBUS
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Steve Gorten recently reported defenseman Jack Johnson is open to the notion of re-signing with the Blue Jackets. Earlier in the season, Johnson had requested a trade in hopes of improving his value in this summer’s free-agent market. He’s since garnered more playing time on the Jackets’ second defense pairing. GM Jarmo Kekalainen said he’d entertain trading Johnson before the deadline if he got an offer that made sense for the Jackets. The deadline passed with Johnson still a member of the Blue Jackets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jackets management and the Johnson camp still have a good relationship. There have been on-again, off-again discussions regarding a contract extension. I can see Johnson testing the market on July 1 and circling back to the Jackets if he fails to find a suitable offer.
LEHNER DENIES REQUESTING A TRADE
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner recently rebuked a report by a local blogger claiming he’d requested a trade leading up to Monday’s deadline. “A local blogger who does not cover the Sabres, or professional sports for that matter, suddenly emerged with an unsourced tweet that Lehner had “made it known” to management he wanted to be traded prior to the deadline,” wrote Harrington. Lehner called the story “fake news”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner’s future with the Sabres remains uncertain. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $4-million contract. He’s a year away from unrestricted free agency.