NHL Rumor Mill – October 20, 2018
Latest on Artemi Panarin plus an update on the Hurricanes in your NHL rumor mill.
RANGERS COULD BE EYEING PANARIN
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During a recent appearance on Ottawa’s TSN 1200, Darren Dreger said he wouldn’t be surprised if the rebuilding New York Rangers were keeping a close watch on Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Panarin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer but remains reluctant to sign a contract extension with the Jackets.
Dreger believes Panarin will want to play “either somewhere near the East Coast or somewhere on the West Coast. So I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t be interested in the New York Rangers. So there’s a name that will be attached to New York until something proves otherwise.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation has linked Panarin to the Rangers for some time but he’s given no indication as to his intentions. Don’t expect Rangers management to admit any interest in him. It’s worth noting they’ll have $59.8-million invested in 13 players for 2019-20 (stick tap to Cap Friendly), giving them plenty of cap space to pursue a big-ticket free agent like Panarin if they wish.
WILL THE HURRICANES MOVE A DEFENSEMAN OR A GOALIE?
SPORTSNET: During his recent “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman noted the Carolina Hurricanes dress “four right-shot defenders” with Justin Faulk, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, and Trevor van Riemsdyk. Those are the type of blueliners teams covet.
Friedman also noted Scott Darling will be returning soon, and with Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney also on the roster, they’ll have a surplus between the pipes. He speculated Mrazek or McElhinney could be traded or placed on waivers, suggesting one of them could be targeted by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For months, it’s been assumed the Hurricanes could shop one of those right-hand defensemen – Faulk is usually mentioned – for a scoring forward. Faulk and Pesce have surfaced in trade speculation regarding Leafs restricted free agent forward William Nylander. However, the Hurricanes are off to a good start and they’re among the top-10 in scoring thus far. Perhaps they’ll shop one of their right-shot rearguards later this season if their offense falters. For now, they’ll likely be patient and see how the season unfolds and who’s available in the trade market.
If they decide to shop or waive McElhinney I can see the Leafs trying to bring him back. They recently lost him off waivers to the Hurricanes.