NHL Rumor Mill – December 8, 2018
Should the Chicago Blackhawks try to trade Duncan Keith? Is now the right time for the Ottawa Senators to trade Craig Anderson? Check out the latest in your NHL rumor mill.
BLACKHAWKS SHOPPING A DEFENSEMAN. SHOULD IT BE KEITH?
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers cites a source claiming Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is looking at potentially moving a defenseman. He’s considering this move with Connor Murphy due to return from a back injury, giving the club eight blueliners. They’re reportedly shopping Brandon Manning and Jan Rutta, with the Blackhawks willing to accept a return that clears the roster and salary-cap space.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests the struggling Blackhawks should hit the reset button on their ailing defense and attempt to convince Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook to waive their no-trade clauses in hopes of finding trade partners for one or both rearguards. He considers Keith to still be a useful defenseman but the longer the Hawks hang onto the 35-year-old, the greater the risk of his stock declining as he ages. Finding a taker for Seabrook would be harder, given the 33-year-old’s $6.875-million annual cap hit through 2023-24.
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek suggests the Blackhawks should consider moving Keith while scoring is still up around the league. He also proposes the Los Angeles Kings do the same with forward Jeff Carter.
Duhatschek points out the salary-cap hit for both is reasonable. Keith’s is over $5.5 million through 2022-23 but his actual salary declines sharply over the final years of the deal. Same goes for Carter, whose annual cap hit is over $5.272-million through 2021-22. Both could prove attractive to Stanley Cup contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keith may be aging, but he’s still well-respected around the league. With his experience and leadership, he could prove a useful short-term addition to teams with championship aspirations. The same goes for Carter.
Of course, trading those two depend on the willingness of their respective general managers to consider that options and what they’d want in return. Right now, there’s no indication they’re even mulling the possibility.
Keith’s no-movement clause also gives him firm control over his trade status. Carter lacks no-trade protection, though I suspect Kings management would try to accommodate him by asking for preferred destinations.
Seabrook’s stock, on the other hand, has tumbled in recent years. Assuming he’d be willing to waive his no-trade, the Blackhawks would have to pick up a big chunk of his cap hit to make him enticing to other clubs or take back a toxic contract.
SHOULD THE SENATORS SHOP ANDERSON NOW?
THE ATHLETIC: Graeme Nichols suggests now is the time for the Ottawa Senators to trade goaltender Craig Anderson. He noted Anderson’s request to be traded in June, citing the drama that surrounded the club at the time. In August, the netminder followed up by saying he had no interest in moving as long as those issues had been addressed.
At the time, Anderson’s trade value wasn’t good because of his struggles the previous season. While he’s overworked this season, Nichols wonders if some rival GMs might be fooled into thinking a reduced workload on a team with a better defense might do Anderson a world of good.
Nichols feels this could be the last season providing the Senators the best opportunity to move Anderson for some assets to aid in a rebuild. It might also be a good time “for the Senators to start looking for alternatives who should be able to outperform Anderson at a lesser cost.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Senators GM Pierre Dorion moving Anderson at this time. He’ll want another month or so to evaluate his roster to determine if they can stay in the playoff chase. If they fail to do so, Dorion could again become a seller. While the Senators lack a reasonable replacement for Anderson within their system, perhaps (as Nichols suggest) they can find a suitable short-term option near the trade deadline.