NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2018
Latest on the Penguins goaltending plus updates on Rick Nash and Jordan Schmaltz in your NHL rumor mill.
PENGUINS LOOK TO WITHIN TO REPLACE SIDELINED MURRAY
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t seek external help in goal with starter Matt Murray sidelined by a concussion. The Penguins are optimistic Murray won’t be sidelined for long. Backup Casey DeSmith is expected to start against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday while Tristan Jarry is returning from injury.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton also noted the Penguins intend to use DeSmith and Jarry while Murray’s recovering from his concussion. Both could be stop-gaps rather than long-term solutions. Clinton wonders if the Penguins seeks help if Murray’s sidelined longer than expected or “the seemingly inevitable happens and Murray falls injured once again?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the Penguins do if the oft-injured Murray ends up sidelined for a lengthy period of time. Perhaps DeSmith or Jarry can step up to replace him. There are not many long-term solutions currently available to them. This could be worth keeping an eye on over the course of the season.
NASH DENIES RETIREMENT RUMOR
TSN: Rick Nash’s agent Joe Resnick denied rumors on social media yesterday claiming his client had filed retirement papers with the NHL. Nash is an unrestricted free agent but has yet to decide if he’ll continue his playing career citing medical concerns.
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Nash remains keen to resume his playing career but he’s waiting for concussion symptoms to clear before deciding if he’ll return. Citing his family, Nash said it was important for him to “get my health in the right spot before I figure out what my plans are, and I don’t know when that will be.”
Portzline said if Nash returns it will “almost certainly be with the (Columbus)Blue Jackets or one of five or six other teams he’s identified as Stanley Cup contenders.” The winger said he had a good meeting with Jackets president John Davidson and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen this summer in Columbus.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication who those other clubs might be. There was some speculation earlier this year suggesting he was interested in returning to the Boston Bruins. He also didn’t rule out signing with a Canadian team. For now, what’s important is Nash makes a full recovery.
DOES JORDAN SCHMALTZ HAVE A FUTURE IN ST. LOUIS?
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports defenseman Jordan Schmaltz is struggling to crack the St. Louis Blues defense corps on a full-time basis. The Blues don’t want to assign him to their AHL affiliate for fear of losing him on waivers. He’s currently on a two-year, $1.4 million contract, with this season being a two-way deal.
Schmaltz’s agent Kevin Overhardt declined to say if he’s asked the Blues for a trade but “it’s clear that Overhardt wishes his client had more of a chance to play in St. Louis, and if not here, then somewhere.” Rutherford reports a pair of NHL scouts, one from each conference, said Schmaltz’s mobility and puck-moving skills are attractive to other clubs.
Consistency and assertiveness appear to be the issues holding the blueliner back. Both scouts feel a trade is possible and there’s believed to be legitimate interest in Schmaltz.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some might wonder if Schmaltz’s inconsistency could affect his trade value. Rutherford suggests this situation is comparable to that of Ian Cole, who was traded by the Blues to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015 for Roberto Bortuzzo and a seventh-round pick. Cole went on to win two Stanley Cups with the Penguins while the Blues got a blueline regular in Bortuzzo.
If Schmaltz still can’t crack the Blues defense, other clubs could be willing to take a chance on him as a reclamation project for a reasonable return. Perhaps Blues general manager Doug Armstrong can use him as a trade chip to bring in a decent player or a promising prospect.