NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2018
Latest on William Nylander plus updates on the Blues, Panthers, and Canadiens in your NHL rumor mill.
NYLANDER NEGOTIATIONS COULD GO DOWN TO THE WIRE
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Toronto Maple Leafs and restricted free agent winger William Nylander are “around $300,000/year apart.” However, both sides feel they’ve moved far enough from their original positions and could reach the point where they’re unwilling to move further.
It’s believed the Nylander camp might accept a six-year contract worth around $6.9 million per season but Friedman said that hasn’t been tabled yet by the Leafs. Their unwillingness to take on salary makes a Nylander trade unlikely, as are possible three-way trade scenarios. Their preferred option remains to re-sign him.
TSN: Bob McKenzie dismissed recent rumors of Nylander having returned in Toronto or that a deal has already been agreed to but not officially announced. There’s a strong feeling on both sides that they could get their best offer from the other near the 5 pm ET deadline on December 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While a deal could be announced before Saturday, it appears negotiations could continue up to Saturday. If the Leafs aren’t willing to take on salary in a trade, I don’t see the sense of trying to ship him to another club. Yes, they could get a package of draft picks and prospects but that’s not going to help the Leafs this season, and this is a club looking at Stanley Cup contention next spring.
BLUES GOALIE SHOPPING?
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues “are open for business. A lot of possibilities, and few things they won’t consider.”
TSN: Darren Dreger reports sources said the Blues “have paid considerable attention” to Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. Landing Howard could come at ” a considerable cost”, leading Dreger to wonder if the Blues are willing to part with the assets to get him. They don’t have a first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and Dreger asks if they’re willing to part with a promising prospect such as Jordan Kyrou or Robert Thomas.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports out of Detroit earlier this month claimed the Wings were happy with Howard’s performance, sparking talk of a possible short-term contract extension for the pending UFA goaltender. With the Wings within reach of a wild-card spot, they could be unwilling to part with him.
LATEST ON THE PANTHERS
THE ATHLETIC: George Richards recently listed forward Nick Bjugstad, goaltender James Reimer, forwards Colton Sceviour, Denis Malgin and Frank Vatrano and defenseman Mark Pysyk as possible Florida Panthers trade candidates. Nevertheless, the struggling club isn’t ready to become a seller…yet. If they don’t soon improve and move up the standings, GM Dale Tallon could become “a reluctant seller”. Bjugstad frequently surfaced in the rumor mill in recent years. Reimer might be attractive to a contender in need of help between the pipes.
Pierre LeBrun reports the Panthers would love to upgrade their goaltending behind oft-injured starter Roberto Luongo. Prior to last night’s games, they had the second-highest goals-against per game. However, they’ll need to find a taker for Reimer’s contract. He has “two more years after the season on his deal at a $3.4-million cap hit including a $2.25-million signing bonus payable July 1, 2020, which also complicates matters.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reimer’s stats also complicates things. He’s won just four games in 14 appearances with a 3.39 goals-against average and .895 save percentage. Bjugstad’s exceeded 40 points twice since 2015-16 and the Panthers have been reluctant to consider moving him. Still, if someone came calling with the right offer later in this season, Tallon could listen.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens have given permission to the agent of recently demoted defenseman Karl Alzner is working with GM Marc Bergevin to try and find his client a new NHL home. Given his contract, that won’t be easy. LeBrun suggests they could absorb part of his salary, take a contract back, or trade another defenseman to make room for Alzner. His agent has permission to speak with other clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, Alzner is signed through 2021-22 with an annual salary-cap hit of $4.625 million and a seven-team “no-trade” list. His lack of speed could also make him difficult to trade.