NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2018
Updates on William Nylander, Jacob Trouba, Alec Martinez and Sam Bennett in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes there’s a “sense of optimism” regarding a possible end to the contract standoff between the Toronto Maple Leafs and forward William Nylander following recent meetings between Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and Nylander’s agent Lewis Gross. He said long- and short-term deals are being discussed, though he feels there’s a gap to be overcome and more work to be done.
Bob McKenzie took note of the recent rise in Nylander trade rumors. While the Leafs maintain they’re not trading the young forward that isn’t stopping people from speculating over a possible trade. “And way way-way down the road that might be an option, but this is not even something that’s being considered,” said McKenzie.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ongoing impasse between the Leafs and Nylander combined with the Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign him is stoking the trade chatter among some media observers. While I don’t doubt the Leafs determination to keep Nylander, the longer he’s without a new contract the more that trade speculation will grow.
Darren Dreger believes it’s a long shot to expect the Winnipeg Jets to trade defenseman Jacob Trouba before this season’s trade deadline as he’s too valuable their pursuit of the Stanley Cup this season. Trouba will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. The Jets face a potential salary-cap crunch for next season with Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor also due for big raises.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on Trouba’s contentious contract negotiation history it’s expected the Jets will trade him next summer. Unless the Jets collapse in the standings before next February’s trade deadline, he won’t be dealt this season.
Dreger said some observers feel Los Angeles Kings head coach John Stevens is in the hot seat over his club’s poor start but feels GM Rob Blake doesn’t want to make replacing his coach to be his first move. “There’s been speculation around Alec Martinez as a trade possibility but I think that Blake needs his best players to be better first before he does anything drastic,” said Dreger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez’s name also popped up early last season when the Kings went through a rough patch. I don’t think it’s a case of the Kings’ best players having to be better so much as it’s simply an aging core built for a slower, more physical style struggling to adjust to a faster-paced game. A coaching change probably won’t help but it’s a more likely option than swinging a major trade at this point. I don’t see Martinez, or any of the Kings’ other core players, being traded right now.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Dreger also appeared yesterday on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing the trade speculation that sometimes swirls around Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett. He points out Flames GM Brad Treliving always rolls his eyes and quickly shoots down those rumors whenever they pop up. Given Bennett’s youth, Dreger feels Treliving is reluctant to give up on him at this point.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve noted earlier this season, Treliving may be willing to remain patient with Bennett but his tolerance isn’t limitless. If Bennett doesn’t improve this season, Treliving might be willing to entertain trade offers next summer.