NHL Rumor Mill – October 27, 2018
The latest on Wayne Simmonds, Nazem Kadri, and Karl Alzner in your NHL rumor mill.
WILL SIMMONDS STAY OR GO?
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently noted Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds will be “a fascinating player to monitor this season”. Simmond is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. LeBrun wonders if the Flyers will re-sign him during the season, if they’ll try to move him if they’re out of a playoff berth by the trade deadline, or if they’ll retain him if they’re still in the postseason chase at the risk of losing him to free agency.
Given Simmonds’ role as a physical top-six forward, LeBrun ponders what the two-time 30-goal scorer could get on his next contract, noting Washington’s Tom Wilson got $31 million over six years. However, his age (30), the decline in offense last season (24 goals) and physicality suggest the Flyers want to ensure he’s not a deteriorating asset before committing to him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend upon Simmonds’ performance and that of the Flyers. So far, he’s (six goals, seven points in 10 games) on pace for a 49-goal season but I don’t think that’s sustainable. However, another 30-goal output will go a long way toward determining if the Flyers re-sign him. It could also improve his value near the trade deadline if general manager Ron Hextall decides to shake things up.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance yesterday on Toronto’s TSN 1050, Darren Dreger said an executive from an Eastern Conference team recently asked him about the possibility of the Toronto Maple Leafs trading Nazem Kadri. “You guys spend all this time in Toronto talking about trading Nylander, could Kasperi Kapanen be the guy they move.’ He said, ‘What about Kadri?’ Why does it have to be Nylander or Kapanen that gets traded because of the salary crunch at the end of the year.’
SPECTOR’S NOTE: To be clear, Dreger and the executive aren’t saying Kadri will be traded. This is merely speculation over the Leafs’ options if they’re forced to make a cost-cutting trade. It’s an interesting idea. Kadri is a two-time 30-goal scorer and a gritty two-way center, making him an attractive trade chip if the Leafs decide to go that route. However, I think they’re comfortable with Kadri centering their third line. Nylander could go into that spot but they prefer playing him on the wing. So if somebody has to be moved in a cost-cutting deal, I don’t think Kadri is their first choice.
LA PRESSE: Richard Labbe wonders if defenseman Karl Alzner has an immediate future with the Montreal Canadiens. Alzner was a healthy scratch in all but two games thus far this season. Canadiens coach Claude Julien said as long as Alzner’s with them, he’s certainly part of their plans. Alzner is in the second year of a five-year contract worth over $4.6 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Labbe was merely wondering where Alzner fits into the Canadiens’ plans this season. If the veteran blueliner keeps spending more time in the press box, however, questions over his long-term future in Montreal could arise. Given Alzer’s contract and struggles to keep pace in a now faster-paced league, trading him won’t be easy.