NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2018
A look at the likely trade candidates for the Rangers, Flames, and Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello recently listed Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes, and Adam McQuaid as the players most likely to be traded by the New York Rangers this season. The trio is eligible to become unrestricted free agents in July and could be shopped by the February trade deadline. Zuccarello might fetch a first-round pick but more likely a second and a prospect. Hayes could prove expensive for the Rangers to re-sign. His current play could potentially fetch a first-round pick.
Carpiniello also thinks there could be a market for defenseman Marc Staal, provided the Rangers are willing to absorb part of his remaining contract ($5.7 million annually through 2020-21). However, Staal also carries a no-movement clause. The Rangers would also have to eat some salary if they want to move Kevin Shattenkirk or Brendan Smith.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes there are two legitimate reasons to trade Hayes which have nothing to do with rebuilding.
The first is if general manager Jeff Gorton doesn’t believe the center is worth the money it would take to keep him off the free-agent market. The second is if Gorton “could acquire either a goal-scoring winger or top-four defenseman under multiple years of contract control who would enhance the Rangers’ chance of contending over the next three or four years, max.”
Unless the Rangers believe they won’t be contenders over the next two or three years, Brooks considers it pointless trading Hayes “for the traditional rental return of a bottom-end first-rounder and a prospect or two.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those potential trade candidates, Hayes has the most value. It could cost the Rangers over $6 million per season on a long-term contract to keep him in the fold. If they don’t believe he’s worth it, they could put him on the trade block before the deadline even if they’re still in playoff contention. The problem, however, is interested clubs could be only willing to part with that traditional rental return, rather than a quality player who can step in and have an immediate effect upon the Rangers’ roster.
THE ATHLETIC: Mike Halford recently listed defensemen Alex Edler and Michael Del Zotto as the Vancouver Canucks’ most likely trade candidates. Both are pending UFAs this season. Of the two, Edler would have the most value. He’d like to stay with the only NHL club he’s ever played for, but the Canucks haven’t opened contract extension talks. He has a full no-trade clause so it’ll be interesting to see how GM Jim Benning handles this.
Center Brandon Sutter could be another trade candidate. While he has a full no-trade this season, it reverts to a modified NTC next summer. He carries a “digestible” $4.375-million cap hit. Other possible trade candidates could include Chris Tanev, Derrick Pouliot and Erik Gudbranson.
Halford also suggests shopping Jake Virtanen while his stock has increased could be a shrewd “sell high” move. Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, Ben Hutton and Troy Stecher fall under Halford’s “conceivable, but be careful” category.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following a promising October, and despite the best efforts of budding superstar Elias Pettersson, the Canucks have come crashing back to earth in November. If management has no intention of re-signing Edler he might bow to the inevitable and accept a trade. There won’t be as much interest in Del Zotto but a contender could see him as an affordable depth rental.
Once Sutter returns from a shoulder injury, the Canucks might test the market but that move like takes place in the offseason. The Canucks have resisted the temptation to trade Tanev but maybe they decide to move him this season while he still has value. As for shopping Virtanen, his improvement this season could make Benning leery of parting with the 22-year-old forward.
THE ATHLETIC: Darren Haynes recently suggested defenseman Michael Stone as a possible Calgary Flames trade candidate. As they appear set on the right side with T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, and Rasmus Andersson, Haynes feels the Flames could try to move the 28-year-old Stone to free up salary-cap space and give him more playing time. With Stone having been scratched several times from the roster and earning $3.5-million annually, there might not be much of a market for his services.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A few days after this was published, the Flames placed Stone (blood clot) on injured reserve with no timetable for his return.
Haynes also noted Sam Bennett’s appeared in trade speculation but the Flames are staying patient in hopes he’ll reach his full potential. While Flames fans unhappy with goalie Mike Smith’s performance would love to see him traded, Haynes pointed out his struggles would make him difficult to move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames will stay patient with Bennett and Smith for the remainder of this season. They’ll likely re-evaluate Bennett’s performance at season’s end while Smith will be allowed to depart via free agency in July.