NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2018
Latest on the Blues, Leafs, Penguins, Hurricanes, Ducks, and Kings in your NHL rumor mill.
ARE THE BLUES GROWING UNHAPPY WITH TARASENKO?
SPORTSNET: During his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman wrote of indications with the St. Louis Blues’ organization with winger Vladimir Tarasenko. He claims no one ever spoke of it on the record and he hasn’t heard Tarasenko mentioned in any trade rumor. Friedman notes that’s a hard trade to win because the Blues would be giving up a great talent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman followed up on this during an appearance yesterday on the NHL Network saying the Blues haven’t always been happy with Tarasenko since he signed his eight-year, $60-million contract in July 2015.
The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford considers Tarasenko among the Blues’ “almost untouchables,” adding there’s a belief among the organization that the winger should be a bigger scoring threat and concern over whether he’ll ever reach that level. Still, the chances of Tarasenko being traded are low.
If the Blues go that route they’ll have to consider doing so before July 1, as that’s when his full no-trade clause kicks in. Yes, Tarasenko could still be traded after that but it’ll be easier for the Blues to make that move (assuming they want to) before July 1.
Speaking of possible trade candidates, Rutherford suggested Brayden Schenn, Alexander Steen, Pat Maroon, Sammy Blais, Carl Gunnarsson, and Jay Bouwmeester as possibilities. He’s not advocating a trade of Scheen but suggests it’s possible if there’s concern over the cost of re-signing him when his contract expires in 2019-20.
Steen has a no-trade clause and two years left on his deal. Maroon could attract interest from playoff contenders near the trade deadline. The oft-injured Gunnarsson probably won’t fetch much of a return, and it’s doubtful anyone will take the aging, fading Bouwmeester off their hands.
Rutherford also wonders if there’s a slim chance the Blues might move struggling goalie Jake Allen, perhaps by retaining some of his remaining salary. He also considers Jordan Schmaltz as the most likely to be traded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If things don’t improve soon for the Blues, management will face some tough decisions. I doubt it involves moving Taranseko but one shouldn’t fully dismiss that possibility. They could retain Schenn, especially if promising Robert Thomas fails to develop as hoped. Steen’s no-trade clause could make him difficult to move. Allen’s struggles won’t help his trade value even if the Blues ate some of his remaining salary.
PENGUINS AIMING AT DUCKS?
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also reports it sounds like the Pittsburgh Penguins “tried to get its hands” on Anaheim Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour but he doesn’t believe the Ducks want to part with him. Friedman also speculates Ducks pending UFA winger Jakob Silfverberg could interest the Penguins, who need more scoring outside of their top-six forwards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In a recent column on which Ducks are most likely to be traded, The Athletic’s Eric Stephens listed Montour among “the conceiveables” but doubts the Ducks will part with him unless he’s part of a big return. Silfverberg, on the other hand, fills most of Stephens’ trade boxes, including being on an expiring contract with enough value to perhaps fetch a first-round draft pick. The Penguins, however, might prefer offering up someone such as Daniel Sprong or Bryan Rust.
LATEST NYLANDER SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun wonders if the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes will take their trade discussions regarding restricted free agent winger William Nylander to the next level. He also notes the Hurricanes’ surplus on defense is attracting interest from other clubs. “Which sets up an interesting scenario for Waddell at some point — wait to see how the Nylander situation plays out or consider other options that present themselves over the next few weeks.”
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites Elliotte Friedman’s Tuesday appearance on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 discussing the possibility of Nylander being traded to the Florida Panthers. He feels they have the assets but wonders how much they’d be willing to pay him. Team captain Aleksander Barkov makes just under $6 million per season while the Nylander camp seeks between $7-$8 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander is a talented young forward who could one day be worth over $7 million annually but I don’t think the Panthers are keen to fork over that much to him at this point.
As for the Hurricanes, GM Don Waddell recently admitted interest in Nylander but also said he thought the Leafs would re-sign the winger and was considering other trade options. We’ll find out by Dec.1 what direction Waddell takes.
LATEST ON THE KINGS
THE ATHLETIC: Lisa Dillman and Josh Cooper recently listed Carl Hagelin, Alex Martinez, Jake Muzzin, and Nate Thompson as the most likely trade candidates for the Los Angeles Kings. Other possibilities include Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, and Jack Campbell.
SPORTSNET: With the Kings having made a coaching change and a trade this month, Elliotte Friedman believes they might choose “to see how things evolve before anything else.