Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 25, 2018
Updates on William Nylander’s contract standoff with the Leafs plus the latest on the Flyers, Canadiens, and Hurricanes in your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
NYLANDER STANDOFF APPROACHING DEADLINE
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the clock is ticking on the Toronto Maple Leafs ending their contract impasse with restricted free agent William Nylander. If no agreement is reached on a new deal by Dec. 1, he’ll be ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season.
Johnston said a six-year deal remains possible, with the Nylander camp perhaps willing to accept something around $6.9 million per season. Elliotte Friedman reports the two sides aren’t that far apart, “within about half-a-million dollars with each other and they both feel like they’ve come a long way.”
TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski speculates the Leafs could trade Nylander if they cannot hammer out a new contract by Dec. 1. He feels blueline help is key to any swap.
He notes the Carolina Hurricanes discussed trade scenarios with the Leafs, and while they won’t part with Jaccob Slavin, they have high-end defensemen such as Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk, and Dougie Hamilton. There’s was talk suggesting Anaheim Ducks rearguard Brandon Montour would be a good fit with the Leafs.
Minnesota Wild d-man Matt Dumba was linked to the Leafs but the Wild couldn’t pay Nylander more than $7 million annually if they hope to re-sign Eric Staal and Mikael Granlund. The Philadelphia Flyers need offensive help but probably won’t part with defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.
Some pending free agent targets that might work include “Columbus winger Artemi Panarin, Winnipeg defencemen Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba, Ottawa center Matt Duchene, Philadelphia winger Wayne Simmonds, and Buffalo winger Jeff Skinner.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One way or another, folks, the Nylander contract saga will be coming to a close by the end of this week. Of course, if he’s unsigned and the Leafs opt not to trade him, it’ll pick back up again next summer, but at least we’ll have a respite from it over the remainder of this season.
It wouldn’t surprise me if negotiations between the Leafs and the Nylander camp go down to the wire. If they’re as close as Friedman believes, Nylander will re-sign by next Saturday.
As for those trade targets, the Hurricanes would be the best option and they’re likely waiting to see what happens with Nylander but they could look elsewhere for a scorer. The Ducks probably won’t part with Montour, especially with Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm sidelined.
The Wild aren’t parting with Dumba while it’s obvious the Flyers’ priority is finding a quality goaltender. Of those possible free-agent targets, Simmonds is the only one who might be available at this time. Speaking of the Flyers…
LATEST FLYERS SPECULATION
THE INQUIRER: Sam Carchidi suggests changes might be coming soon for the struggling Philadelphia Flyers if they don’t turn things around soon. Noting the club’s inconsistent play during head coach Dave Hakstol’s tenure, Carchidi wonders if general manager Ron Hextall will make a major move via trade (Wayne Simmonds?) or behind the bench. He points out former Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is available, “at least for now.”
THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor recently pointed out that Simmonds, a pending UFA next summer, is skating on the Flyers’ third line and is no longer being used as a core player. He thinks the winger could be the Flyer most likely to be moved in a “shake-up” trade this season.
Other trade candidates could include forward Jordan Weal and defenseman Radko Gudas. Forward Jori Lehtera, defenseman Andrew MacDonald, and goaltender Michal Neuvirth could be available but O’Connor doesn’t see a market for their services.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending is the Flyers’ biggest weakness. Hextall would probably love to trade for a reliable starter but there’s really no one available to fill that role right now. Despite the decline in Simmond’s play, he could be a valuable trade chip for clubs seeking a physical scoring presence on the wing. Whether he’ll fetch a return that helps the Flyers right away, however, is another matter.
CANADIENS TO SEEK EXPERIENCE DEFENSEMAN?
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos said the feeling is if the Montreal Canadiens remain in the playoff chase they could pursue an experienced defenseman. He speculates they could target the St. Louis Blues or Los Angeles Kings if those clubs continue to falter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings blueliners Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin have frequently surfaced of late in the rumor mill. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Canadiens looked at one of those guys. Forget about prying Drew Doughty away from the Kings as that’s not happening.
As for the Blues, they’re probably willing to part with the fading Jay Bouwmeester, the struggling Jordan Schmaltz or the oft-injured Carl Gunnarsson. However, I don’t see any of them filling the Habs’ need for an experienced blueliner who can help them right away.
DARLING NEARLY DONE IN CAROLINA?
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the Carolina Hurricanes could have a logjam in goal with Scott Darling, Petr Mrazek, and Curtis McElhinney, who’s played very well for Carolina since being plucked off the waiver wire earlier this season from the Maple Leafs. Some are wondering if this could mean the end of the struggling Darling’s tenure with the Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Darling’s been a big disappointment since joining the Hurricanes in 2017 as their starting goalie. Hampered by injuries (and poor conditioning last season), he’s in danger of losing the starter’s job to McElhinney. Cap Friendly indicates he two years left on his contract with a $4.15 million salary cap hit and a 15-team trade list. Good luck peddling that.