NHL Rumor Mill – November 6, 2018
Latest on the Kings and William Nylander in your NHL rumor mill.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman yesterday appeared on NHL Network discussion the Los Angeles Kings’ recent coaching change and some possible roster moves going forward. He believes they have looked at potentially making moves, “and one name I keep hearing out there is Tanner Pearson to see what he can do in terms of creating a market for his services and what’s out there for him.” For now, however, he believes “they’re going to look to try to find ways to coach and create offense, and see what they can do.”
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Writing about the Kings’ coaching change, Helene Elliott believes if this move fails the next step will be breaking up the team. “That wouldn’t be easy with an older group that carries a bunch of hefty, difficult-to-move contracts. In addition, he has consistently said that the Cup-winning core has another championship in it. Shaking up the roster would be conceding the season and starting a rebuild.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That older group carrying those expensive contracts (many with no-trade clauses) includes goaltender Jonathan Quick, defensemen Drew Doughty and Dion Phaneuf, and forwards Anze Kopitar, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jeff Carter, and Dustin Brown. Sure, there will be teams interested in some of those players, especially Kopitar, Doughty, and Carter, but not a lot of teams have both the cap space to take on their contracts and available depth in promising young talent to dangle as trade bait.
If the Kings decide to shake things up, their most tradeable assets could be younger, less expensive players such as Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, and Alex Iafallo, or affordable defensemen such as Alec Martinez or Jake Muzzin, who’ve both recently surfaced in trade speculation. Pearson has really struggled this season, with one point in 13 games, but a rival club could gamble on a change of scenery rekindling his offensive game.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, Elliotte Friedman discussed the ongoing contract standoff between the Toronto Maple Leafs and forward William Nylander. He believes the Carolina Hurricanes are very interested and have the trade pieces that might interest the Leafs.
Friedman also thinks the Kings and Minnesota Wild are interested but doesn’t believe they have what the Leafs want (a right-shot defenseman). He still believes the Leafs want to re-sign Nylander but there’s a realization that might not be possible. “I think you would have to assume everything,” considered Friedman. “I think they would love to get a defenseman or a right-shot D, but if you’re taking Nylander off your roster, you might need another forward.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Dec. 1 deadline for getting Nylander re-signed fast approaching we can expect to see and hear a lot more about his trade status in the coming weeks. If the Leafs decide to trade him, I believe the Hurricanes are the best fit given their blueline depth.
Wild defenseman Matt Dumba frequently appeared in trade rumors during the last two seasons. However, I doubt they’ll part with him now as he blossoms into a reliable top-pairing blueliner.
I don’t consider the Kings a serious trade destination for Nylander. The Leafs would probably love to land Drew Doughty but I don’t believe the Kings are even considering moving him. Assuming Doughty waived his no-trade clause to accept a trade to Toronto, his new contract ($11 million annual average value) is far too expensive for a club with two young stars (Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner) in line for big raises next summer. Alex Martinez or Jake Muzzin probably aren’t enticing trade options for the Leafs.