NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2018
Check out recent speculation about Phil Kessel, Max Domi, Noah Hanifin and more in your NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON THE PENGUINS
THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports all isn’t well in the relationship between Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan and winger Phil Kessel. While Kessel isn’t a problem in the dressing room, Yohe believes the winger and the coach don’t like each other very much. He also observed the Penguins traded defenseman Ian Cole because he didn’t see eye-to-eye with Sullivan.
Yohe feels if their relationship is beyond repair, the Penguins should explore a trade, though it’s unlikely whatever return they get will improve their overall production. “From what I’ve been told, the Penguins aren’t actively seeking a trade involving Kessel,” said Yohe,”but they’re willing to listen if anyone makes an offer.”
FRS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating over the Penguins possible interest in Arizona Coyotes winger Max Domi during his latest “31 Thoughts” podcast. He believes the Penguins are going to make some changes and he’s hearing they have “some real interest” in Domi. Friedman doesn’t think Coyotes general manager John Chayka is going to deal Domi for less simply because the young forward had a rough season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cue the “Kessel-for-Domi” fantasy trade proposals.
I don’t doubt the Penguins could entertain offers for Kessel. His reputation for clashing with coaches aside, he’s coming off a career-best 92-point season and will attract interest from teams seeking scoring punch. However, Cap Friendly indicates he’s carrying a $6.8-million annual cap hit (his actual cap hit is $8 million, but Toronto is picking up $1.2 million) through 2021-22 with an eight-team trade list.
Despite Kessel’s tensions with Sullivan, the Penguins won’t just give away. They’ll want a decent return, likely with a good young player as the centerpiece.
As for Domi, I think Chayka’s willing to listen to offer but I agree with Friedman that it’ll take a significant pitch to convince the Coyotes GM to part with him.
UPDATES ON THE HURRICANES
FRS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited Elliotte Friedman’s appearance on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 discussing his recent speculation claiming the Canucks could be a “stealth team” for Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin. He wasn’t sure what the trade price might be, but “I do know that Vancouver is interested.”
Friedman guesses the Hurricanes could want the Canucks first-round pick (seventh overall) in this year’s draft as part of the return. Hanifin is a restricted free agent and Friedman said if he were the Canucks he’d want an opportunity to speak with the blueliner about re-signing him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot of teams will be interested in Hanifin. If the Hurricanes are listening to offers, having that seventh overall pick could give the Canucks an edge if they’re willing to add a young player or top prospect in the deal. The Hurricanes, however, need more offensive punch. Any club willing to part with a good young scorer (preferably a center) will likely attract their attention. Unless the Canucks are willing to part with promising prospect Elias Pettersson (and I don’t believe they are), I don’t think they have what the Hurricanes need right now.
OILERS TO KEEP THEIR FIRST-ROUND PICK?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Oilers insider Bob Stauffer saying he’d be very surprised if the club moved their first-round pick (10th overall) for immediate help. Staples notes Stauffer has been telling Oilers followers not to expect big moves this summer, in part because of their salary-cap situation. While GM Peter Chiarelli has indicated he’d be willing to consider shopping that pick, he also said such a move would have to make sense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it’s possible the Oilers could package that pick with a salaried player to bring in someone who can help them right now, I think they’ll have a tough time making it happen. Chiarelli will have to get creative to pull it off.
Maybe the Oilers are trying to throw rumormongers off the scent by lowering trade expectations, but the simple truth could be there’s no foreseeable solution that works for them. We’ll find out when the opening round of the draft commences on June 22.