NHL Rumor Mill – November 8, 2018
More William Nylander speculation plus the latest on the Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.
LATEST NYLANDER SPECULATION
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons recently weighed in on William Nylander’s contract standoff with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He considers Nylander the Leafs’ sixth most important player (behind Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, and Frederik Andersen) and suggests he should be paid as such.
Simmons notes Washington’s T.J. Oshie (the Capitals sixth most important player) earns an annual average value of $5.5 million while Pittsburgh’s Derick Brassard makes $5 million per. He also feels the Leafs cannot let this situation drag on up to the Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign Nylander and calls upon general manager Kyle Dubas “to make a deal of some kind.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmons also pointed out Dubas offered the Nylander camp more than what Oshie and Brassard are making but he doesn’t believe they’ll pay $7 million or more per season.
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen lists the Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota Wild, and Anaheim Ducks as potential trade destinations for Nylander if the Leafs decide to trade him.
Players the Leafs could target include Carolina’s Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk, and Valentin Zykov, LA’s Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez along with prospects Kale Clague and Rasmus Kupari, Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers and Robert Hagg, Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin, Jared Spurgeon and Matt Dumba, and Anaheim’s Brandon Montour, Josh Manson and prospects Josh Mahura, Troy Terry, and Max Jones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Boylen is merely listing possible trade options. He’s not saying the Leafs will want every player listed on each club in return for Nylander. The widespread assumption is Dubas would want a top-four defenseman if he puts Nylander on the trade block, though Elliotte Friedman recently suggested Dubas could surprise us by bringing in a forward to replace Nylander.
Of the teams listed, Carolina and Anaheim have considerable depth in skilled young defensemen to tempt the Leafs. The Hurricanes are reportedly very interested in Nylander but there hasn’t been much speculation suggesting the Ducks are among the suitors.
Recent reports out of Philadelphia suggest the Flyers probably won’t get into the bidding for Nylander. I doubt Dubas will part with Nylander for Martinez or Muzzin. The Wild might be willing to part with Brodin or Spurgeon but the Leafs would probably target Dumba. I don’t see the Wild parting with him.
TSN: Darren Dreger acknowledged the growing trade interest in Nylander but remains unconvinced he’ll be moved. He believes there’s progress in contract talks between the two sides and said he’d be shocked if Nylander doesn’t re-sign with the Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign Nylander is just over three weeks away. We’ll find out for sure by then.
CHANGES COULD BE COMING FOR THE PENGUINS
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn’t pleased with his club’s recent performance, suggesting changes could be on the way if their fortunes don’t improve soon. He’s already made a couple of internal moves, calling up Zach Aston-Reese and Garrett Wilson. He singled out the club’s sputtering secondary scoring as an issue.
Rutherford also criticized some players under new contracts and those in their contract years who haven’t performed up to expectations. Though the Penguins GM didn’t single them out by name, Mackey believes he was referring to Brian Dumoulin Bryan Rust, Carl Hagelin or Riley Sheahan. He was also critical of goalies Matt Murray and Casey DeSmith.
Mackey also reports multiple sources said the Penguins are listening to offers for young winger Daniel Sprong, though it’s less clear if they’re actually hearing anything. The 21-year-old Spring is struggling but still has considerable potential, which could make Rutherford prefer to slow-play this situation and remain patient with the youngster.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During a recent appearance on NBCSN, TSN’s Darren Dreger said he’d be surprised if Sprong isn’t traded. He speculates it could be a small move but suggested Rutherford could have some bigger up his sleeve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we’ve seen in recent years, Rutherford isn’t afraid to make moves at any point in the season to improve his club. For now, his unhappiness with the Penguins performance could be seen as a shot across the bow to motivate his players. But if things don’t improve soon, Rutherford could pull the trigger. He might be reluctant to trade Sprong but could jump if he’s offered a quality young winger in return.