NHL Rumor Mill – October 3, 2018
Latest on Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, William Nylander and more in your season-opening NHL rumor mill.
HIGHLIGHT’S FROM GARRIOCH’S “INSIDER TRADING”.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators forwards Mark Stone and Matt Duchene will be big trade chips by the NHL trade deadline. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents next July. While it’s possible one or both re-sign with the Senators they’re currently in a waiting game.
Stone is under a one-year contract, meaning the earliest the Senators can open contract-extension talks is January 1, 2019. The Senators have had informal discussions with the Duchene camp. While both could become the centerpieces of the Senators’ rebuild, they’ll remain a hot topic for conjecture heading toward the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the two, Stone seems the more amenable to re-signing with the Senators. Retaining both could be expensive. Stone is making over $7 million this season and will likely want to stay in that neighborhood on his next deal. Duchene’s annual cap hit is $6 million and he could also push for over $7 million per season.
The club’s performance and the atmosphere in the dressing room will also factor into the duo’s plans. If the Senators keep struggling and the bad vibes continue the pair could be reluctant to stay.
The Columbus Blue Jackets face a similar problem with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and left wing Artemi Panarin. Like Stone and Duchene, the Jackets’ stars are due to become UFA next summer. If Columbus remains in playoff contention by the trade deadline, Garrioch doubts either guy will be moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Bobrovsky is a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and Panarin led the Jackets with 82 points last season. Both are invaluable to Columbus’ playoff hopes this season.
If they fall out of contention by February, however, I think Panarin is more likely to be traded. The Jackets have at least held some contract talks with Bobrovsky during the summer. Panarin, however, was unwilling to talk extension.
With Corey Perry sidelined for five months by knee surgery, Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray could face pressure to go shopping for help. Murray is currently trying to address the issue from within but a poor start to this season could force him into the trade market for more immediate help.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are still missing center Ryan Kesler (offseason hip surgery) and they recently placed winger Ondrej Kase (concussion) on injured reserve. Pursuing a scoring forward, however, could force Murray to draw upon his blueline depth for trade bait.
The recent addition of defenseman Erik Karlsson doesn’t mean the San Jose Sharks are done shopping. Garrioch notes GM Doug Wilson got into the bidding for John Tavares before the center signed with Toronto in July. Wilson could feel there’s a need to add another scorer up front.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The addition of Karlsson indicates the Sharks remain in ‘win-now’ mode. Wilson also got winger Evander Kane at last season’s trade deadline for a song and could swing another steal next February. For now, he’ll evaluate his roster over the course of the season while monitoring the trade market for available talent.
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t shown any interest in trading unsigned forward William Nylander. Garrioch feels he’ll be inked to a two-year bridge deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both sides reportedly seek a long-term deal. However, it could take settling on a bridge deal to break the impasse.