NHL Rumor Mill – November 29, 2018
Potential goaltender trade candidates plus the latest on William Nylander in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Frank Seravalli lists Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings, Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers, and Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators as five possible trade candidates.
Seravalli admits it’s unlikely the Blue Jackets will trade Bobrovsky, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. However, he believes “Bob” is worth watching in the rumor mill and wonders if his former club, the Philadelphia Flyers, will try to bring him back. Seravalli suggests Murray’s injury history and inconsistency might test the Penguins’ patience.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve said for weeks I don’t believe the Jackets will trade Bobrovsky as long as they’re in the playoff chase this season. I see no reason to change my mind. Given the Flyers’ recent management change, I wouldn’t be shocked if they pursue Bobrovsky if he hits the open market next summer, though it remains to be seen if he wants to return to the city where his NHL career began.
As for Murray, his inconsistency is likely tied to his injury history. I don’t think Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is running out of patience with Murray but he might be growing concerned over his goalie’s frequent absences.
Wings general manager Ken Holland attempted to move Howard two years ago but his contract made him a tough sell at the time. With Howard playing well this season and slated to become a UFA in July, Seravalli said the Wings GM is believed to be holding out for a first-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s colleague Bob McKenzie noted the possibility the Wings could re-sign Howard, adding there’s no rush to move him. However, he doesn’t rule out a trade, suggesting it depends upon what they get offered.
McKenzie pointed out the St. Louis Blues are believed to be scouting Howard but they lack a first-round pick in 2019 and aren’t inclined to part with top prospects like Robert Thomas or Jordan Kyrou. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch believes the Blues would have to shed current starter Jake Allen if they were to acquire Howard, noting there would also be salary-cap concerns with both clubs up against the cap ceiling this season.
Earlier this month, MLive.com’s Ansar Khan reported “The Red Wings are happy with Howard, and Howard is happy in Detroit. That is why the sides are sure to agree on a contract extension this season.” Unless Howard or Wings GM Ken Holland have changed their minds, the long-time Detroit netminder won’t be moving anytime soon.
Talbot’s numbers this season aren’t as good as backup Mikko Koskinen. Seravalli said the Oilers aren’t in any hurry to move Talbot, who’s also a UFA in July, but his availability could become clearer near the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Talbot fails to regain his form and Koskinen keeps sporting better numbers, perhaps the Oilers management (be it Peter Chiarelli or someone else) will decide to move him by the trade deadline.
Anderson’s strong play and the extra year left on his contract is believed the reasons why he’s still with the Senators. Seravalli wonders if a contender would make a pitch for Anderson if the Senators ate part of his salary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anderson requested a trade earlier in the summer but there was no feasible deal to be found. As Seravalli pointed out, the Senators lack a suitable replacement to step in and take over for Anderson so he’s unlikely to be going anywhere for now.
LATEST ON NYLANDER
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders if William Nylander has a future with the Toronto Maple Leafs beyond this season. “Whether he signs or whether he doesn’t sign, this is going to be it. And even if he does sign, I think Toronto trades him by the draft at the latest. One way or the other, I think this is over. I would be surprised if he plays for Toronto next season.”
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons wonders if the Leafs can afford to keep Nylander beyond this season. Speculating it could cost $22 million annually to re-sign Auston Matthew and Mitch Marner, and noting the $11 million annually being earned by John Tavares, and the estimated $7 million per season it could take to keep Nylander in the fold, Simmons notes that’s $40 million tied up in just those few players. Patrick Marleau is also earning over $6 million next season plus there’s the cost of re-signing UFA Jake Gardiner and restricted free agents Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson.
“Assuming contracts for Matthews and Marner, the Leafs will be over $70 million in salaries. That’s without including Nylander. That’s without including Kapanen and Johnsson. That’s without including Gardiner. Do the math. It doesn’t add up. (GM Kyle) Dubas knows this. The challenge is to sign Nylander and have a plan for what comes next.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since the summer, I’ve been questioning how the Leafs can fit everybody under the cap for 2019-20. Unless they shed a significant salary or two, re-signing Nylander, Matthews, and Marner won’t leave much to re-sign Kapanen and Johnsson, let alone re-sign or replace Gardiner and Ron Hainsey, who’s also a UFA next summer.