NHL Rumor Mill – November 1, 2018
Latest on the Kings and GMs being patient with older pending UFA goalies in your NHL rumor mill.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 yesterday, Darren Dreger discussed recent trade speculation about Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez. “The sense that I get from L.A. – now, this is going back a week or so ago and I specifically asked about Martinez – the feedback I got back was, ‘Not yet,” he said.
Dreger feels Kings general manager Rob Blake is dealing from a position of weakness right now. While he feels there’s “a ton of interest, I’m sure, in Martinez, but not at the value that Blake would consider trading him.”
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Helene Elliott reports the Kings won’t immediately try to replace sidelined goaltender Jonathan Quick, who could be out three-to-six weeks recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. “Instead, they’ll stick with Jack Campbell and Peter Budaj and will count on goaltending coach Bill Ranford to wave his magic goalie stick over them.” She believes the Kings’ anemic scoring is the main issue and they won’t improve until it’s addressed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake would probably move Martinez for a young scoring forward but I don’t see that proposal heading his way anytime soon. The Kings are a mess right now. If there’s no help coming via trade, a coaching change could be their only option to turn things around. Even then, I doubt that move will help them. The Kings have a veteran core that seems to be struggling against younger, faster opposition. A change of coaches won’t help that.
PENDING UFA GOALIES
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports a number of “top-level netminders” are eligible for unrestricted free agent status at season’s ending. The notables include Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche, Mike Smith of the Calgary Flames and Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers.
However, the general managers of those clubs appear to be taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach toward re-signing those goalies. LeBrun reports there have been contract discussions between Rinne and the Predators. It appears doubtful Bobrovsky will re-sign with the Jackets but that could change. LeBrun suggests they could be waiting to see if backup Joonas Korpisalo is capable of taking over as a full-time starter.
The Avalanche haven’t opened contract talks yet with Varlamov, who has a history of injuries. There also hasn’t been much talk between the Oilers and Talbot. There’s been a general discussion between the Flames and the Smith camp but both sides seem comfortable of waiting until season’s end before reassessing the situation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication if any of those goaltenders will end up on the trade block before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline but we can’t rule out the possibility. So far, Bobrovsky is the only one surfacing in the rumor mill as it’s been suggested he could be a good fit with the New York Islanders.
Much will depend, of course, on the respective performances of those netminders and where their teams are in the standings in the New Year.