NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2018
Latest on Jacob Trouba and Sam Bennett plus concern over the Penguins goaltending in your NHL rumor mill.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s NHL insider Bob McKenzie recently addressed a question regarding the potential return for defenseman Jacob Trouba if the Winnipeg Jets opt to trade him next summer. Trouba is slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next July and will be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
Given Trouba’s contentious contract negotiation history, McKenzie feels next summer is the optimal time to move the blueliner if he remains unwilling to commit to a long-term deal. However, he also believes Trouba would be considered an “extended rental” by rival clubs unless somebody can negotiate a lengthier contract term with him. That will affect whatever the Jets can get in return for Trouba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve summarized McKenzie’s take as he goes into greater detail on the subject. Well worth the read. He also points out the Jets aren’t concerned about that now because they’re putting their focus on this season. Trouba remains an important part of their blueline corps.
Unless the Jets fall out of playoff contention near the February 25, 2019 trade deadline, I don’t see them moving Trouba during this season. As we get closer to June and the offseason we can expect him to once again become a fixture in the trade-rumor mill.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During a Friday interview with Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman was asked if the Flames ever came close to trading forward Sam Bennett. While they’ve “gone down the road at times,” Friedman doesn’t believe management reached the point where a deal was imminent. “I think at the end of the day, the Flames have always looked at what happened with Taylor Hall in Edmonton and said, ‘Yeah, I’m not sure we really want to do this,” said Friedman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: During last week’s “31 Thoughts” column, Friedman listed the Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning as clubs that previously expressed interest in Bennett over the years.
I understand why the Flames are willing to remain patient with the 22-year-old Bennett, who still has time to develop into a solid second-line forward but, as I’ve said before, their patience isn’t limitless. If Bennett doesn’t make significant improvement this season, they could consider shopping him. That could happen next summer when he becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: During a recent mailbag segment, Paul Zeise was asked if he was worried about the long-term health of Penguins goaltender Matt Murray and if the club should try to trade for a veteran goaltender as insurance. He admits he is concerned about Murray and agreed that they probably should look for help between the pipes in case he gets hurt again before the playoffs. While acknowledging the Penguins have two young netminders in Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith, neither seems ready to become a full-time goalie.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Penguins will explore adding a more experienced goalie later in the season but that depends upon Murray’s health and the performance of DeSmith and Jarry. So far, DeSmith’s been okay filling in for Murray, who’s due back soon.