NHL Rumor Mill – November 14, 2018
Latest William Nylander speculation plus an update on the Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Toronto Maple Leafs’ priority is to re-sign restricted free agent winger William Nylander, but they’re considering their trade options in case they cannot get a deal done before the Dec. 1 deadline. He said Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddel remains interested in Nylander and will likely continue dialogue with Leafs GM Kyle Dubas over the course of this week. It’s believed the Hurricanes are willing to part with defenseman Brett Pesce but not Jaccob Slavin.
McKenzie also said the Minnesota Wild are interested but aren’t willing to part with a young defenseman. The Los Angeles Kings are another potential suitor but McKenzie doubts they have the salary-cap space and the trade pieces to land Nylander. He also speculates the Florida Panthers could “kick tires.”
Darren Dreger believes the Leafs’ asking price will be expensive, citing sources claiming it could be a top-four defenseman and a top-nine forward. McKenzie also points out most teams can’t afford the accelerated salary-cap hit in the first season of Nylander’s new contract if he’s signed before Dec. 1.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance Tuesday on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, Elliotte Friedman also speculated over possible trade destinations for Nylander. Like McKenzie, he believes the Hurricanes, Wild, and Kings have been involved. He also suggests the Philadelphia Flyers could be another, “though I can’t prove it.” He also said he wouldn’t be surprised if a struggling club such as the Pittsburgh Penguins looked into Nylander’s availability.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Anaheim Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour has popped up in the Nylander trade-rumor chatter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Leafs willing to at least listen to trade offers, it’s not surprising we’re starting to hear of more teams getting linked to Nylander, especially with that Dec. 1 deadline drawing ever closer. If the Leafs are indeed seeking a top-four defenseman and a top-nine forward, most interested clubs could play the waiting game in hopes Dubas will grow desperate by late-November and more open to lesser offers. Unless someone makes a significant pitch now, I think the Leafs GM will use as much time as possible trying to get Nylander under contract before considering the trade option.
Of the teams mentioned, the Hurricanes still seem the most likely destination. They have the cap space and depth in defensemen to make a Nylander deal happen. If the Wild won’t part with a young defenseman (hello there, Matt Dumba), I don’t think they can win a possible bidding war. Cap Friendly indicates the Kings are handcuffed by limited cap space and few viable trade options.
The Panthers have limited cap room this season to take on a new contract for Nylander, so they’ll have to shed significant salary heading to Toronto to make this deal work. Same goes for the Ducks. As for the Flyers, the local media is skeptical, pointing out the cost of acquiring Nylander and the difficulty finding a suitable spot for him among their top-six forwards.
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen lists Daniel Sprong, Carl Hagelin, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust as four players the Pittsburgh Penguins to shake up their struggling roster.
A healthy scratch of late, Sprong has just four points in 12 games. Hagelin has considerable speed and works well on the penalty kill but he’s not scoring.
After being taken off the Crosby line, Guentzel went goalless from Oct 25 until last night’s loss against the Devils. Rust has only one goal and four points in 15 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports out of Pittsburgh indicate Sprong is attracting interest but it remains to be seen if the Penguins received any firm offers. While there’s a risk Sprong could blossom elsewhere, GM Jim Rutherford could take that chance if he gets a return that provides immediate help.
Despite Guentzel’s recent scoring woes, he would still attract lots of interest in the trade market. I doubt Rutherford is willing to part with the 24-year-old winger, who appears to be snapping out of his funk with three points in his last two games. Hagelin or Rust could hit the trade block but they probably won’t fetch a return that helps the Penguins right away.