NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2018
With the deadline for signing William Nylander set at 5 pm ET today, are the Philadelphia Flyers looking into acquiring him? Check out the latest plus updates on Artem Anisimov, Mats Zuccarello and more in your NHL rumor mill.
FLYERS KICKING TIRES ON NYLANDER?
TSN’s Frank Seravalli yesterday tweeted the Philadelphia Flyers are among the teams believed to have contacted Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas about winger William Nylander. Seravalli isn’t sure if there’s a fit there, and how involved the Flyers were under now-former GM Ron Hextall. Still, Seravalli claims Dubas and Flyers team president Paul Holmgren did chat.
Seravalli’s colleague Gord Miller yesterday cited a Philadelphia source saying the “previous regime” (Hextall) was contacted by the Leafs last weekend. The Leafs “wanted to tap into the Flyers’ young D,” but were informed Ivan Provorov was “not touchable.” The source also said the focus shifted to Shayne Gostisbehere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll know by 5 pm ET today if Nylander re-signs with the Leafs, gets traded to a new club and re-signs with them, or misses the remainder of this season.
Unless the Flyers are willing to part with Provorov, I agree with Seravalli that there might not be a fit there. The Leafs need to shore up their depth on the right side of their blueline but Provorov and Gostisbehere are left-handed shots who skate on the left side.
DOES ANISIMOV HAVE A FUTURE IN CHICAGO?
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently noted center Artem Anisimov’s role with the Chicago Blackhawks became less defined following Artemi Panarin’s departure two seasons ago. He’s since bounced between the second and third line and recently saw fourth-line duty. Anisimov’s annual salary-cap hit ($4.55-million) makes him rather expensive to be in that role. He has two years left on his contract and a modified no-trade clause that expires at the end of this season.
One league source told Powers the Blackhawks “wished” they could move Anisimov while another claimed they attempted to trade him in the past but he hasn’t heard anything recently. That source also believes the Blackhawks would have to absorb part of his cap hit to make a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Powers also noted there’s an outside chance Panarin might return with the Blackhawks as a free agent next summer. Perhaps the Blackhawks will retain Anisimov in hopes of reuniting him with Panarin and Patrick Kane. Otherwise, unless GM Stan Bowman can convince the center to widen his list of trade destinations, they’ll likely hang onto him for the remainder of this season and attempt to move him next summer when his clause expires.
ZUCCARELLO ACKNOWLEDGED HE COULD BE TRADED
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello told a Norwegian journalist he believes a trade appears most likely. “I guess I am prepared for it. Basically, I’m just waiting for it to happen. It’s a tough spot to be in if I’m being honest.” Zuccarello subsequently clarified his comments through a Rangers spokesman, saying it “wasn’t what he said” while acknowledging he has to be prepared for anything while in the final season of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Entering this season it was assumed Zuccarello and fellow pending UFA Kevin Hayes would be trade candidates because the Rangers were rebuilding. The club’s solid performance thus far this season could, as Cyrgalis noted, muddy the waters. If they’re in the playoff chase by the trade deadline, perhaps management will retain both.
CANADIENS LOOKING FOR EXPERIENCE DEFENSEMAN
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin could face deciding how much of his club’s future he’s willing to sacrifice to find a suitable defense partner for captain Shea Weber, who recently returned from offseason knee surgery. They tried David Schlemko in that role and will turn to Brett Kulak for tonight’s game against the New York Rangers.
Engels note Los Angeles Kings blueliner Jake Muzzin has surfaced in trade rumors this season. He carries an affordable $4 million per season through 2020 and is an established top-pairing guy. However, “the cost to acquire him could be prohibitive”, especially for a player who could depart via free agency when his contract expires. A riskier notion would be giving up a high draft pick or a top prospect for a stopgap measure like St. Louis Blue defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who’s in the final season of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Finding a suitable defense partner for Weber is a priority for Bergevin, whose club is playing much better than expected this season. Muzzin could be a good addition but the Kings will want a decent return that could include a good young (and affordable) roster player. Bergevin should stay far, far away from the 35-year-old Bouwmeester, as age and injuries have caught up with him.