NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2018
The NHL Christmas trade freeze has ended. Check out the latest on the Blues, Hurricanes, and Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.
LATEST BLUES CLUES
STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon believes if the St. Louis Blues decided to ship out talents such as Alex Pietrangelo, Vladimir Tarasenko or Colton Parayko, they must get talent back.
Gordon wondered what would be a fair price for Parayko, a player many general managers would love to have on their rosters. He dismissed the notion that an offer of an unproven player, such as Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, would be enough to tempt the Blues.
Gordon acknowledged an all-around defenseman such as Pietrangelo, with a year remaining on his contract ($6.5-million annual salary-cap hit), could help a club like the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. However, he rejected the idea of the Blues accepting a role player such as Andreas Johnsson or a blueliner like Nikita Zaitsev as part of the return, suggesting someone such as Mitch Marner would be more appropriate.
As for Tarasenko, Gordon noted the Carolina Hurricanes need scoring. He felt the only forwards worth discussing in a trade of that magnitude are Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov and the Hurricanes aren’t parting with those two.
Gordon’s colleague Jim Thomas touched on the recent spate of Blues trade rumors during his latest live chat with Blues fans.
Noting Tarasenko is second to Washington’s Alex Ovechkin in goals over the past “four-plus” seasons, Thomas believes it would take “a heck of a deal” to pry him away from the Blues.
Thomas thought there was more talk about Parayko last offseason compared to now. Given the Blues’ underachievement this season, it’s understandable why he’s come up in trade rumors.
A lot of teams would be interested in Brayden Schenn but Thomas felt trading him would be a mistake. He also believes Tyler Bozak’s contract would make him difficult to trade, noting his $5 million per season for the next two years is expensive for a third-line center.
He doesn’t expect veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will fetch much at his age before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Blues general manager Doug Armstrong intends on blowing up the roster before the trade deadline and engaging in a major roster rebuild, he’s probably not accepting offers composed of draft picks, prospects, and unproven young players. He’ll want talent that can help his club now and over the long term.
Yes, NHL history is rife with instances of general managers making bad trades, but that doesn’t mean Armstrong will do the same. Moving top players such as Tarasenko and Pietrangelo will be blockbuster moves, and he’ll want a quality return for each guy. Same goes for Parayko and Schenn.
LATEST ON THE HURRICANES
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance yesterday on Toronto’s TSN 1050, Darren Dreger said the Carolina Hurricanes remain a club he’s keeping an eye on leading up to the NHL trade deadline. He notes Hurricanes GM Don Waddell has talked openly about their need to acquire a scorer, while team owner Tom Dundon said he doesn’t value or covet high-end defense when going into a draft.
Dreger believes they’ll continue to link the Hurricanes with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He pointed out their previous interest in William Nylander before he re-signed with the Leafs, and they’re said to be interested in Leafs winger Kaspari Kapanen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The two clubs seem, as Dreger pointed out, to be a good fit. The Leafs need to bolster their blueline, especially on the right side. The Hurricanes need scoring forwards. The Leafs have good young offensive forwards while the Hurricanes have depth in quality defensemen.
Both sides appear to be slow-dancing toward a possible deal in the coming weeks. Then again, perhaps they’ll find other options to address their respective needs.
POTENTIAL LEAFS TRADE TARGETS
SPORTSNET: On Dec. 22, Luke Fox noted Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas saying he’d explore an upgrade on defense prior to the trade deadline if he didn’t see enough gains from his blueline before then. He wondered if Dubas might find a quality rearguard this season like the Washington Capitals did last season when they acquire Michal Kempny.
Assessing the list of veteran defensemen who might become available by the deadline, Fox listed Vancouver’s Alexander Edler, St. Louis’ Jay Bouwmeester, Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall or Nick Jensen, New Jersey’s Ben Lovejoy, and Dallas’ Marc Methot as potential rental options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Except for Edler, I can hear most of Leafs Nation replying, “Oh, hell no!” to these other options. Apart from the 28-year-old Jensen, the rest are in the mid to late thirties with a lot of mileage on them.
Edler 32, remains a skilled puck-moving defenseman who can still log big minutes. He could be a decent fit with the Leafs, provided he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause.