NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2018
A look at TSN’s first “trade bait” list of the season in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, New York Rangers forwards Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez and Detroit Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist top Frank Seravalli’s season-opening NHL “trade bait” list.
Seravalli believes Nylander’s ongoing contract standoff with the Leafs increases the possibility of a trade, noting the Carolina Hurricanes are among a handful of teams with interest in the young forward. The Kings’ early-season struggles and the Rangers ongoing rebuild explains the inclusion of Hayes, Zuccarello, and Martinez on the board.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander’s status is the hot topic in the rumor mill. With the Dec. 1 deadline for signing restricted free agents approaching, the interest in his trade status will only increase. Hayes and Zuccarello are pending unrestricted free agents and likely to be shopped at some point before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. Martinez could be available but the asking price is likely to be an affordable scoring forward. Nyquist said he’s not surprised he’s on the list. Like Hayes and Zuccarello, he’s skating on a rebuilding team and is eligible for UFA status in July.
Kings winger Tanner Pearson, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce, Winnipeg Jets blueliner Tyler Myers, and Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin are ranked sixth through 10 on the list.
Seravalli notes the combination of Bobrovsky’s poor start and his stalled contract talks suggests things could go off the rails between the netminder and Jackets’ management. He also believes the Jackets seem content on playing out the season with UFA winger Panarin before making another attempt at re-signing him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s TSN colleague Pierre LeBrun and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also noted the seemingly frosty relationship between Bobrovsky and the Jackets right now. Friedman points out Bobrovsky has a full no-move clause but believes the goalie has given them an idea where he’d like to go and the Jackets may be exploring the possibility.
There’s speculation linking Bobrovsky to the New York Islanders but no indication they’re on the goalie’s list of preferred destinations. However, if Bobrovsky’s performance improves and the Jackets are in the thick of the playoff chase by the trade deadline, I believe they’ll keep him for the rest of the season.
Pesce has been mentioned as a trade chip by the Hurricanes if they pursue a Nylander trade. The Jets are all-in for the Stanley Cup this season and I don’t see them shopping Myers, even at the risk of losing him to free agency in July.
Rangers forward Vladislav Namestnikov, Montreal Canadiens winger Charles Hudon, Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian, Kings forward Kyle Clifford and Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds round out the list. Seravalli believes the Flyers have no idea how things will go with UFA Simmonds, who could be re-signed or traded by the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Flyers want to keep Simmonds but they also want to ensure his offseason pelvic surgery hasn’t adversely affected his game before committing to a long-term deal.
Kassian recently denied requesting a trade from the Oilers, clarifying that his agent had spoken with Oilers management regarding his status and the option of a trade was mentioned if he wasn’t happy in Edmonton. He insists he wants to remain an Oiler.
Cap Friendly indicates Namestnikov is signed through 2019-20 with a $4 million annual average value. That might make him more attractive to clubs seeking more than a playoff rental this season.