NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2019
Latest on William Nylander, Vladimir Tarasenko, Wayne Simmonds, Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Talbot and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
COULD THE LEAFS TRADE NYLANDER THIS SUMMER?
SPORTSNET (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Brian Burke predicts the Toronto Maple Leafs will move William Nylander this summer. He feels the winger’s contract is structured in such a way (front-loaded) that it’ll make it easy for the club to move him this summer.
Burke suggested several factors as to why Nylander could be traded so soon after the Leafs re-signed him. He considers the winger a valuable asset who’ll fetch a good return, noted the Leafs have too many highly-skilled forwards “who aren’t big”, and he’s a good player but not a difference maker.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago, it would’ve been laughable to suggest the Leafs could trade Nylander next summer. After all, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas told Nylander he won’t be traded.
But with Nylander struggling since returning to action last month following a lengthy contract standoff, there’s growing discontent over his performance and how much the Leafs have invested in him. If he fails to improve over the remainder of this season and the Leafs suffer another early playoff exit, the Nylander trade chatter will intensify in the offseason.
SIMMONDS TO BE SIGNED OR TRADED BY DEADLINE
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said Wayne Simmonds will be re-signed or moved by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. The club isn’t willing to lose Simmonds to free agency this summer for nothing.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cited Elliotte Friedman’s appearance yesterday on Edmonton’s 630 CHED discussing Simmonds’ future. He believes it more likely than not that the 30-year-old winger will be traded. He suggests Nashville or Boston as possible destinations.
THE TENNESSEAN: Joe Rexrode acknowledged Simmonds would bring the Predators a strong net-front presence but believes the Flyers’ asking price will be too expensive.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also believe Simmonds is more likely to be traded and I think the Bruins will be among the frontrunners. I don’t doubt the Predators would have interest but not at any cost. Simmonds isn’t the only Flyer available in the trade market. After forward Dale Weise cleared waivers, Fletcher reportedly told him to stay home and wait for a trade.
ARE THE BLUES BUYERS OR SELLERS?
STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with his readers, Tom Timmermann said he believes the St. Louis Blues will be sellers at the trade deadline unless the Central Division standings do a complete 180-degree turn. He doesn’t see them trading prospects to make a run for the postseason, suggesting unrestricted free agents such as Carl Gunnarsson and Jay Bouwmeester could be moved.
While the Blues might get better returns for Brayden Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo by trading them with a year left on their contracts, moving them if they can’t get a good return now would be a bad idea.
BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter noted the trade speculation surrounding Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. While he would be a great fit with the Bruins, the Blues would probably want a combination of top draft picks, high-end prospects and young standouts such as Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk in return. Porter also notes the Bruins have only $3.8 million in salary-cap space while Tarasenko carries an annual average value of $7.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the Bruins want to add another scoring winger but I daresay they’re looking at affordable rental options. Tarasenko is well out of their price range.
LATEST ON BRASSARD, SHATTENKIRK, AND TALBOT
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the San Jose Sharks are in the market for a center. He thinks they checked into the availability of Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford apparently wants a roster player who can fill the third-line center position. The Sharks won’t be able to help them there unless Rutherford uses assets received from the Sharks to bring in a center in a separate deal.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested the recent improvement of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could hasten his departure from the Rangers. He has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.65 million and a 10-team no-trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shattenkirk is a right-shot puck-moving defenseman with five 40-plus point seasons on his resume. He’s also been hampered by injuries in recent years. Unless the Rangers are willing to pick up part of his cap hit or take back a toxic contract, I’m not sure they’ll find much interest in his services.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Sportsnet’s Brian Burke talking about the trade value of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, who’s due to become a UFA this summer. “I don’t think you can move him at that salary. I just don’t think he’s moveable. But I don’t think anyone is going to take a UFA that is making that kind of money and hope he gets his game straightened out for the last month of the year.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Staples points out, Burke is telling Oilers fans a hard truth: Talbot has little or no trade value. His salary-cap hit is $4.16 million and he’s playing poorly this season.
STARS NOT DONE DEALING?
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: During a recent live chat with his readers, Matthew DeFranks speculates Stars GM Jim Nill isn’t done dealing after shipping Devin Shore earlier this week to Anaheim for Andrew Cogliano. While the Stars are pressed for cap space to add a top-six forward, DeFranks suggested putting Martin Hanzal, Marc Methot or Stephen Johns on LTIR could clear some room. He also doesn’t rule out the possibility of Nill trying to find a trade partner for someone like Brett Ritchie, Valeri Nichushkin, or Julius Honka.