NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2019
Latest on Sergei Bobrovsky, Wayne Simmonds, Micheal Ferland, Andre Burakovsky and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT ABOUT BOB?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing yesterday on Toronto’s Sportsnet 590, Elliotte Friedman said he doesn’t think goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in July, has a future with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He noted Bobrovsky didn’t show up last summer to a meeting with general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, suggesting the goaltender never got over some criticism aimed at him following last spring’s playoffs.
Friedman also noted the difference between Bobrovsky and fellow pending UFA Artemi Panarin, as Panarin has handled things professionally while Bobrovsky’s been unhappy all season. The goaltender has a full no-trade clause and Friedman suggested moving him would be difficult right now, especially as his poor play this season isn’t helping his value. Ultimately, he believes the Jackets have little choice but to stick with Bobrovsky (and Panarin) for the remainder of the season, even at the risk of their departures this summer.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis suggests Bobrovsky’s recent blowup with the Blue Jackets is casting a shadow over the February trade deadline. Suggesting the goalie already has one foot out the door and assuming he’d have no problem waiving his no-trade clause, Cyrgalis believes there are countless suitors, though the netminder’s attitude and his poor playoff record could hurt his value. Bobrovsky also balked at consulting a sports psychologist following last spring’s postseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this stage, I think the Jackets have no choice but to stick with Bobrovsky for the remainder of the season and hope that he can finally carry them to their first postseason series win and more.
Of course, another “incident” like the one following their loss to Tampa Bay earlier this week could finally break management’s patience. If they shop him now, however, they’re not going to get much of a return because of his unhappiness and struggling effort this season.
That’s not to say there won’t be teams interested and willing to take a chance on a change of scenery improving his attitude and performance. His poor play and lousy playoff record dampens his trade value.
UPDATES ON SIMMONDS AND FERLAND
THE ATHLETIC (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED): Pierre LeBrun speculates there’s a good chance Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers and Micheal Ferland of the Carolina Hurricanes could be shopped at the trade deadline as rental power forwards. LeBrun said he’d love to see the Tampa Bay Lightning inquire into Simmonds’ availability. Possible destinations for both could include Nashville, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vegas and perhaps Boston. He doesn’t see Toronto in that mix because of their need for depth on defense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those guys will get plenty of interest if they hit the trade market next month. The Flyers and Hurricanes could set their initial asking price as a promising young roster player but could end up settling for a draft pick (a first- or a second-rounder) and a prospect.
I think Winnipeg could put more emphasis on adding a second-line center as they did last year when they acquired Paul Stastny. While there are Leafs fans who’d love to see Simmonds in Toronto, I concur with LeBrun that a defenseman (preferably a top-four, right-side blueliner) is their biggest need.
POSSIBLE AVALANCHE TRADE OPTIONS
LeBrun also suggested the Colorado Avalanche could be in the market for an affordable rental forward or a player with term remaining on his contract. The New York Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello or the Los Angeles Kings’ Tyler Toffoli were among his suggested targets.
LATEST ON THE CAPITALS
NBC SPORTS: Brian McNally reports Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan isn’t interested in a rental player at this year’s trade deadline. “I think the only thing we’re going to look for is, is there a hockey trade to be made, salary for salary, player for player in the forward group,” MacLellan said on Friday.
McNally speculates forward Andre Burakovsky could be available, noting he’ll be expensive to qualify this summer ($3.25 million) given his sputtering production (nine points in 38 games) this season. Still, MacLellan seemed reluctant to give up on Burakovsky, citing his youth and they’ll hold his rights for two more years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burakovsky has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill in recent weeks. MacLellan won’t move him for a draft pick or prospect but I think he would if he was offered a promising youngster who can contribute right away.