NHL Rumor Mill – December 12, 2018
Latest on the Flyers, Wild, and Blackhawks in your NHL rumor mill.
FLYERS GM LOOKING FOR A TRADE
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher is trying to be active in the trade market in search of a goaltending upgrade, speaking to half the teams in the league. He’d also like to add a veteran defenseman to his young blueline and a top-nine forward before the Dec. 19th holiday trade freeze. LeBrun said Fletcher won’t force a move if it’s not there, but he’d like to give his roster a shot of adrenaline to remain competitive this year.
Darren Dreger added someone will try to link the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Flyers because of ongoing speculation they need a power forward like Wayne Simmonds or the Carolina Hurricanes’ Micheal Ferland. Leafs management, however, appears more interested in finding a right-shot defenseman.
NBC SPORTS: John Boruk looked at potential free-agent options for Fletcher to target if the Flyers fail to sign Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky this summer. He suggests targets such as Ottawa Senators forwards Mark Stone and Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman.
Boruk also suggests winger Michael Raffl could become a trade chip if Fletcher decides he doesn’t have a future with the Flyers beyond this season. Raffl is due to become an unrestricted free agent next July and could interest a club seeking bottom-six depth. He also has an affordable $2.35-million cap hit for this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers aren’t the only club believed seeking trades before the upcoming holiday freeze. The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues are also said to be shopping around.
Pending UFAs such as Simmonds and Raffl could become trade candidates, though at this stage they will be considered playoff rental players. Maybe Fletcher will consider swapping one of them for another pending UFA with the thought of re-signing the new addition if he helps improve the Flyers’ performance this season.
WILD STILL SHOPPING COYLE
TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted a recent report from The Athletic’s Michael Russo claiming Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton is shopping the likes of forward Charlie Coyle. LeBrun believes Fenton is making more calls to see what’s available in the trade market. He believes the Boston Bruins have “kicked tires” on Coyle. While he doesn’t know if anything’s imminent, LeBrun thinks Fenton might be finally ready to act.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since being hired back in May, Fenton has yet to swing a significant trade as he preferred to take some time to evaluate his roster before making a move. He’s now had over two months and could be ready to pull the trigger.
Russo also said the Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Montreal Canadiens were monitoring Coyle and noted Fenton would also consider moving winger Nino Niederreiter. Coyle or Niederreiter could attract interest from clubs like the Bruins, Senators, and Canadiens that are believed looking around for depth on their forward lines.
COULD THE BLACKHAWKS TRY TO MOVE A CORE PLAYER?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun doesn’t believe any of the Chicago Blackhawks core players are in play, in part because they all have no-move contracts. He doubts legacy players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are going anywhere.
LeBrun believes defenseman Duncan Keith would still attract plenty of interest around the league if he became available in the trade market. So far, there’s no evidence to suggest he will be.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun suggested that’s an offseason conversation. If Keith, or any of the Blackhawks carrying full no-movement clauses, doesn’t want to be traded there’s nothing Hawks management can do about it. They can’t bury those players in the minors and won’t banish them to the press box or cut their playing time.