NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2018
Latest on the Flyers and an update on Artemi Panarin in your NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE FLYERS?
NBC SPORTS: In the wake of the Philadelphia Flyers firing general manager Ron Hextall, John Boruk wonders what other moves might be in store for the struggling club. Flyers president Paul Holmgren said he’s begun the process of finding and selecting Hextall’s replacement, leading to questions over whether head coach Dave Hakstol could be replaced.
As for possible player moves, Boruk notes only Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds have some form of no-trade protection. Simmonds, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July, is said to be seeking a six-year contract extension.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports former Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher and former Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis are among the early candidates to replace Hextall. Pierre LeBrun reports the Hurricanes haven’t been asked yet by the Flyers for permission to speak to Francis.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see who the Flyers eventually hire and what route their new GM takes. Hextall’s patient approach was said to clash with Holmgren’s desire for quicker action.
A coaching change could be in order as the new GM could bring in their own staff right away. They might want to assess the club’s performance under a new bench boss before pulling the trigger on a significant trade.
I don’t see Giroux, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier, Nolan Patrick, Travis Konency, Ivan Provorov, or Shayne Gostisbhere going anywhere. Simmonds’ performance has declined this season, likely due to the wear and tear of his physical style over the years. Nevertheless, he could have value for Stanley Cup contenders seeking rental players near the trade deadline.
The Flyers’ biggest need is goaltending. Given the lack of viable options in the trade market, they could promote promising Carter Hart in the short term.
UPDATE ON PANARIN
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline yesterday reported Columbus Blue Jackets management met with Artemi Panarin’s agent, Dan Milstein, on Sunday in Detroit. The meeting, however, was to discuss other Milstein clients in the Jackets system, including KHL defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and AHL forward Nikita Korostelev.
Portzline said the Jackets haven’t given up hope of convincing Panarin, a pending UFA, to re-sign before next July. The window of opportunity could be during the All-Star break from Jan. 20-28. Milstein said his client is happy with the way things are going and they’ll talk business during the break. Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said he hasn’t had a trade discussion regarding Panarin in weeks and he isn’t monitoring the market.
By playing the waiting game, Portzline suggests Kekalainen has the possibility of moving Panarin to a struggling club or an aging Cup contender before the deadline. It’s also possible Panarin could have a change of heart and re-sign. However, the risk is Panarin could suffer a season-ending injury that prevents them from moving him at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Milstein may have also been referring to the Blue Jacket’s bye week in January for discussing his client’s future with management. Despite uncertainty over the futures of Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, the Jackets are playing well. If this continues into January or February, maybe he’ll decide his future is in Columbus.
Then again, Panarin could still prefer testing the market in July. That would leave the Jackets facing a tough decision: move Panarin at the trade deadline for the best offer at the risk of hurting their position in the standings, or keep him in hopes he’ll power them to a long playoff run even at the risk of losing him for nothing to free agency.