NHL Rumor Mill – January 14, 2019
Latest on the Leafs, Ducks, Flyers, and Stars plus speculation over the futures of goaltenders Jonathan Quick, Cam Talbot, and Jake Allen in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SHOULD THE LEAFS MOVE GARDINER AND KAPANEN?
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran recently suggested it might be time for the Maple Leafs to trade defenseman Jake Gardiner and perhaps winger Kasperi Kapanen. Gardiner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent while Kapanen will be a restricted free agent. Re-signing the pair could be difficult given the cost of signing star forwards Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner this summer will use up most of the club’s $26-million salary-cap space.
McGran believes moving Gardiner before the trade deadline might fetch the Leafs a first-round pick. His absence could be offset by younger defensemen such as Travis Dermott. Kapanen, meanwhile, could fetch a good right-side blueliner such as Carolina’s Brett Pesce, Edmonton’s Adam Larsson, or maybe even St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo if packaged in a larger deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both would be bold moves by Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and not the sort of deals usually made by a team comfortably entrenched in a playoff spot. Dubas could retain Gardiner for the playoffs despite the risk of his possible departure via free agency. Kapanen could bring the Leafs that right-side defenseman they desperately need but Dubas might consider a more affordable rental option and could perhaps peddle Kapanen this summer if a larger move is required.
COULD THE DUCKS MAKE A TRADE?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cited Bob McKenzie’s appearance Sunday on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 discussing possible moves by the struggling Anaheim Ducks, who dropped their 11th straight game yesterday. Noting Ducks GM Bob Murray’s reluctance to replace head coach Randy Carlyle, McKenzie believes he’s been very active in terms of trade options. One could be pending UFA winger Jakob Silfverberg. Another could be drawing upon the Ducks’ surplus of good young defensemen such as Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Brandon Montour or Josh Manson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKenzie also pointed out Murray knows his roster must get faster and younger. If Silfverberg doesn’t fit into their long-term plans it could make sense to move him, though they’ll need a replacement for him on their forward lines. If they’re in the market for a young scorer, peddling one of those blueliners mentioned by McKenzie should address that need. How about Montour or Manson to Toronto for Kasperi Kapanen? Discuss!
LATEST GOALTENDER SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Lisa Dillman and Josh Cooper recently examined the pros and cons of whether the Los Angeles Kings should trade long-time starting goaltender Jonathan Quick. who lacks a no-trade clause. If the Kings were to shop Quick, perhaps the Columbus Blue Jackets (depending on the status of pending UFA goalie Sergei Bobrovsky) or Philadelphia Flyers could become trade partners.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: With all the talk of the Oilers possibly adding a top-six winger before the trade deadline, Kurt Leavins recently wondered if goalie Cam Talbot and his $4.166-million cap hit might be in play. He’s due to become a UFA in July and Leavins doubts the Oilers can afford to re-sign him and fellow UFA Mikko Koskinen, who also has a no-movement clause.
STLTODAY.COM: Benjamin Hochman recently advocated for the St. Louis Blues to move on from inconsistent starter Jake Allen. While acknowledging Allen has two more seasons with an annual average value of $4.3 million remaining on his contract, Hochman suggested there are ways to get rid of that contract if the Blues can’t find any takers in the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings could trade Quick but I think they’ll want to evaluate Jack Campbell and Calvin Peterson a little longer before making that move. They could also have other deals planned that will take a higher priority.
It’s hard to say what Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has in mind as the deadline nears. If his club falls further out of playoff contention he could go into sell mode, assuming he’s not fired before then. Talbot’s inconsistency could make moving him to free up space for a winger difficult to do. He also has a modified no-trade clause listing 10 preferred trade destinations.
Like Quick, Allen lacks no-trade protection but his reputation for inconsistency makes him a tough sell. Hochman may have been referring to a contract buyout this summer when he spoke of ways to get rid of Allen’s deal.
STARS SHOPPING RITCHIE?
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Sean Shapiro cites two NHL sources claiming the Dallas Stars have looked into trade winger Brett Ritchie. He’s been a frequent healthy scratch this season and has four points in 24 games.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE FLYERS?
NBC SPORTS: Jordan Hall wondered what other moves Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher could have in store after shipping Jordan Weal last week to the Arizona Coyotes for a six-round pick and a minor-league player. Trading pending UFA winger Wayne Simmonds could be one move. Hall also suggested UFAs Michael Raffl or Christian Folin could be shopped.