NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2019
Latest on the Blues plus updates on Kevin Hayes and Artemi Panarin in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL THE BLUES BUY OR SELL AT THE DEADLINE?
STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said it remains to be determined if he’ll be a buyer or a seller by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He believes the performance of his players will determine his actions.
Armstrong was a seller before last season’s deadline. While the club’s record is worse compared to this point last season he sounds more hopeful, pointing out top players such as Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo have performed better in recent games. Armstong also believes there’s a different vibe on the team entering this year’s All-Star break compared to last season.
During a recent live chat, Thomas was asked by a reader if there would be any teams interested in Alex Steen or Tyler Bozak. Given Steen’s age (he turns 35 in March) and the two years remaining on his contract (at $5.75 million per season), he doesn’t see him having much trade value. He felt Bozak hasn’t played badly this season but notes his contract ($5 million annually for two more years plus a modified no-trade clause) could be an issue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues entered the All-Star break having won six of their last 10 games to sit just three points out of a playoff berth in the Western Conference. If they remain in contention over the next four weeks, Armstrong could become a buyer. The Blues’ improvement in recent weeks has quieted the trade rumors that were swirling around Tarasenko and Pietrangelo earlier in the season.
RANGERS MUST DECIDE ABOUT HAYES SOON
NEW YORK POST: With the NHL trade deadline less than a month away, Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers must soon reach a decision on whether to re-sign center Kevin Hayes or trade him.
The two sides haven’t ruled out a contract extension but Brooks feels Rangers GM Jeff Gorton will aggressively shop Hayes to determine his trade value. He feels it could take a five- or six-year contract worth around $6 million per season to keep him in the fold. Hayes’ trade value may not be determined “until the fates of prospective available forwards Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Artemi Panarin, Brayden Schenn and perhaps Vladimir Tarasenko are established.”
Brooks believes it’ll take more than a late first-round pick to tempt Gorton into moving Hayes, who Brooks called the club’s best player over the past two seasons. Hayes will return to the Rangers lineup on Tuesday after missing nine games with a “middle-body injury.” He has 33 points in 39 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At 26, Hayes is young enough to remain part of the Rangers’ rebuild and part of their long-term future. The money, however, is the sticking point. He’s currently on a one-year, $5.175-million contract. The Blueshirts could prefer keeping him for around $5.5-million but Hayes could get much more than that on the open market. If he hits the trade block, the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins or Winnipeg Jets could come calling.
Artemi Panarin’s agent, Daniel Milstein, said he wants another meeting with his client before he informs #CBJ of Panarin’s willingness to negotiate a contract w Blue Jackets. The two met over the weekend in Miami, but a second meeting now is necessary.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 27, 2019