NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2018
Latest on the Maple Leafs and Stars in your NHL rumor mill.
KAPANEN COULD ADD INTRIGUE TO NYLANDER IMPASSE
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Kasperi Kapanen’s play could make the Toronto Maple Leafs miss William Nylander less. He cites Kapanen looked good playing alongside Auston Matthews and Patrick Marleau during Sunday’s wild 7-6 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Hornby doesn’t expect the Leafs offensive surge in their first three games to spur Nylander to return but it also won’t force management into hurrying to close the $2 million gap between the two sides.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers have suggested the Leafs are wasting Kapanen’s speed and skills on the checking lines. If he takes full advantage of his current situation and plays well as a top-six forward, maybe Leafs management reconsiders Nylander’s future in Toronto. If they’re committed to getting Nylander under contract, perhaps Kapanen becomes a trade chip to land a decent defenseman.
UPDATE ON THE STARS
THE ATHLETIC: During a recent mailbag segment, Sean Shapiro was asked about the chances of the Dallas Stars trading right wing Brett Ritchie and what he might fetch for a return. He doesn’t see them moving Ritchie at this point and doubts he’d bring back much as the centerpiece of a deal. “The more likely situation includes Ritchie being part of a larger package for a top-six forward, perhaps at the trade deadline.”
A reader asked if the recent addition of defenseman Connor Carrick might make Julius Honka more expendable. Shapiro believes it does but also thinks “the Stars wouldn’t have had much of a problem trading him for the right piece even if they hadn’t picked up Carrick.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ritchie showed some promise as a scorer with a 16-goal performance in 2016-17 but regressed last season. The 6-foot-3, 217-pounder has good size and power-forward potential but now appears to be more of an agitator. I agree with Shapiro that he won’t fetch much of a return.
Honka, a first-round pick (14th overall) in the 2014 draft, has struggled to crack the Stars roster. He’s been a healthy scratch thus far this season and doesn’t appear to have much of a future in Dallas. Honka possesses good offensive skills but his defensive play still leaves something to be desired. Perhaps a club looking for more offense from the blueline might be willing to take a chance on him.