NHL Rumor Mill – November 21, 2018
Latest on the Blackhawks, Devils, Red Wings and Senators in your NHL rumor mill.
SENATORS POTENTIAL TRADE CANDIDATES
THE ATHLETIC: Chris Stevenson recently looked at which Ottawa Senators could hit the trade block this season. He considers defenseman Chris Wideman “most likely to go”. He also thinks Cody Ceci could be gone at the trade deadline as his salary-arbitration hearing last summer was said to be “particularly acidic.” Center Tom Pyatt could also be shopped.
Stevenson considers forwards Mikkel Boedker, Magnus Paajarvi, and Mac McCormick “dependable but expendable”. He also noted the Senators recently attempted to move forward Zack Smith and they could try again.
Pending unrestricted free agents Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel could also hit the block if unsigned before the trade deadline. Stevenson guesses the Senators could put the emphasis on re-signing Stone.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the latest report from TSN is anything to go by, Duchene could be staying put. Bob McKenzie yesterday said it appears talks between the two sides are progressing, though they still have work to do to get it done. He speculates it could be an eight-year extension worth between $8-$9 million per season.
If they get Duchene re-signed soon, they will definitely put their focus in January on keeping Stone in the fold. They could also put try to retain Dzingel.
As for Ceci, he’ll become an RFA with arbitration rights again next summer. If the relationship between the two sides has deteriorated, they could peddle him at the NHL Draft in June.
POTENTIAL RED WINGS TRADE CANDIDATES
THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman considers forward Gustav Nyquist as the Detroit Red Wings’ most likely trade option this season. He’s an unrestricted free agent in July and it makes sense for the Wings to try to get something in return for him. Bultman thinks he could be appealing to most playoff contenders but cautions the Wings are unlikely to get a significant return.
He also considered pending UFAs Jimmy Howard and Nick Jensen as possible trade options. Forwards Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou fall under the “not likely but not impossible” category.
Craig Custance doesn’t expect the Red Wings to move veteran defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who’s slated to become a UFA next summer. The long-time Wing said he hasn’t thought about a trade. Custance notes Kronwall still has some no-trade protection in which the Wings would request a 10-team trade list from him but a source said Wings management haven’t asked for that list.
Given this is probably the oft-injured Kronwall’s final NHL campaign, he won’t fetch much of a return. “There’s no reason for them to trade him,” said an NHL source. “I think that would have to be something he’d have to want and I can’t see that as a scenario. He’s valuable for them.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Kronwall asks for a trade, I don’t see the Wings moving him. He’ll finish his career as a Red Wing and retire. I concur with Bultman that Nyquist is the Wings’ most likely trade candidate this season. It also sounds as though the Wings and Howard could be interested in working out a short-term contract so he’s probably no longer a trade possibility this season.
COULD SCHMALTZ BECOME A BLACKHAWKS’ TRADE CHIP?
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Assuming the Blackhawks become sellers this season, Jimmy Greenfield suggests center Nick Schmaltz could become an intriguing trade possibility. Schmaltz is a restricted free agent next summer and has just two goals in 20 games this season after potting 21 as a sophomore in 2017-18. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has some cap space to work with next season but Greenfield believes he’s not in a position to give Schmaltz a big raise unless he deserves one.
In a subsequent Q&A with his readers. Greenfield was asked about Schmaltz’s trade status. He feels Bowman will have to think long and hard about trading Schmaltz or letting him depart as a free agent. While the Blackhawks are thin at forward and don’t have any dynamic prospects ready for the NHL, Greenfield suggests this is starting to feel similar to when they traded Ryan Hartman at last season’s trade deadline. ” If the Hawks are out of the playoff picture Schmaltz could be their most valuable trade chip.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Schmaltz is in the final season of his entry-level contract so the only way he departs as a free agent is if the Blackhawks opt not to tender a qualifying offer. That’s not going to happen. The Hawks could trade Schmaltz but I think Bowman will hang onto him and sign him to an affordable short-term bridge deal if his current offensive struggles persist.
POSSIBLE DEVILS TRADE CANDIDATES AND TARGETS
THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak examines two options for the New Jersey Devils if they’re in playoff contention or fall out of the postseason chase. Under the first option, Marcus Johansson, Mirco Mueller, Stefan Noesen, John Quenneville, Michael McLeod, and future draft picks could be used as bait to bolster their roster for the playoffs. Under the second option, Johansson and Ben Lovejoy could be shopped. Pending UFA goaltender Keith Kinkaid could also be a fascinating trade asset, though the Devils might wish to keep him.
Masisak also looked at potential trade targets for the Devils. Those with term still on their contracts could include Chicago’s Brandon Saad, Columbus’ Alexander Wennberg, Edmonton’s Jesse Puljujarvi, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli, Jake Muzzin, and Alec Martinez, Detroit’s Andreas Athanasiou, Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle, Arizona’s Alex Goligoski, Anaheim’s Brandon Montour and Dallas’ Julius Honka.
Pending UFA targets could include Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg, Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, the New York Rangers’ Kevin Hayes, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, and Ottawa’s Matt Duchene. He also suggests trying to bring back Adam Henrique from the Ducks.
NJ.COM: Abbey Mastracco expects the Devils will stay the course for now. While the Devils have all their picks in the first three rounds of the next three drafts (except for their third-rounder in 2019), they’re valuable to their efforts to build from within. They also lack depth in NHL-ready prospects that would net a big return. Still, she doesn’t rule out that they could be looking for an upgrade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils raised hopes by reaching the playoffs in 2017-18 but they’re currently mired in a lengthy slump that threatens to derail their postseason chances this season. GM Ray Shero was able to turn Adam Larsson into Taylor Hall, so maybe he can pull off another steal.