NHL Rumor Mill – January 29, 2019
Updates on the Flyers and Kings plus the latest on Artemi Panarin and Chris Kunitz in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FLYERS COULD BE BUSY IN THE COMING MONTHS
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: John Boruk reports a new contract for Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds doesn’t appear likely. General manager Chuck Fletcher won’t get into details other than saying he’s spoken with Simmonds and his representatives. Boruk believes Simmonds seeks a long-term deal while the Flyers appear reluctant to make that investment. Factor in reports Simmonds could be highly-prized on the trade market and Boruk believes Simmonds will be traded.
Fletcher also suggested no one other than team captain Claude Giroux is untouchable. “We have a lot of good players here, but I would never say never to almost anybody besides Giroux,” Fletcher said, adding he could be a buyer and a seller leading up to the Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline. The Flyers GM also added he’ll attempt to move veteran forward Dale Weise in a package deal. Boruk speculates the Flyers could absorb part of Weise’s salary.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Donnellon reports Flyers chairman Dave Scott indicated Fletcher also intends to be active in this summer’s NHL free-agent market. Scott said the Flyers will be “cap spenders” this summer to build the best team possible.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cited insider Bob McKenzie discussing the Flyers on Montreal’s TSN 690 yesterday. Asked if the Flyers might move a defenseman like Shayne Gostisbehere, McKenzie said he doesn’t feel there’s an agenda to move the blueliner out of Philadelphia. He believes they’re willing to listen to offers on almost everyone.
As for possible Flyers trade targets, McKenzie said they’d like to add a veteran goalie to mentor promising Carter Hart, a veteran top-four defenseman to insulate some of their younger rearguards, and a veteran forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher might be willing to listen to offers on everyone but Giroux but I think it’s safe to say Hart is close to untouchable. Sure sounds like Simmonds will be a goner unless he’s willing to accept a short-term extension.
I doubt Jakub Voracek ($8.25 million annually through 2023-24) will be going anywhere, in part because of his hefty contract. Ditto James van Riemsdyk ($7 million annually through 2022-23). Sean Couturier ($4.33 million annually through 2021-22) could also be safe, as well as youngsters Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick, and Ivan Provorov.
Of course, Fletcher will listen to offers for those guys and could pull the trigger if he gets one too good to pass up. Nevertheless, I’ll be very surprised if any of the aforementioned (other than Simmonds) are skating elsewhere by the start of next season.
Weise is signed through 2019-20 with an annual average value of $2.35 million. They might have to pick up part of that to move him even in a package deal.
The Flyers have over $47.9 million invested in 12 players for 2019-20 and could have more if they shed another salary or two before the summer. Even by re-signing restricted free agents like Provorov and Konecny, they’ll still have plenty of cap room to make a big splash in next summer’s UFA market.
PANARIN WON’T TALK CONTRACT THIS SEASON
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger reports the agent for Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin released a statement yesterday indicating they’ve informed the club of their unwillingness to discuss a contract during the season. Panarin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen is expected to comment on the situation today.
Hedger believes the Jackets now have two options: trading Panarin by the Feb. 25 trade deadline or trying to re-sign him before July 1. The latter is risky as they could lose him to free agency for nothing. Last week, team president John Davidson said his club will have some things to take care of “one way or another” before the trade deadline.
THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required): Aaron Portzline believes the Blue Jackets will likely move Panarin before the trade deadline. He noted the Jackets fielded offers last summer but didn’t receive anything that could replace the winger’s offensive production. Panarin lacks no-trade protection and can be moved anywhere without his permission.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still have my doubt that they’ll trade Panarin before the deadline. They could make that move if they can land a suitable replacement but that return could be difficult to find. Moving him without getting some immediate offensive help could hurt their hopes for a lengthy playoff run this spring.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE KINGS?
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): With the Los Angeles Kings trading defenseman Jake Muzzin last night to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Lisa Dillman wondered who they could trade next. She noted forwards Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli frequently surfaced in the trade market. Carter could be reluctant to leave but the younger Toffoli has a more attractive $4.6 million annual salary. Winger Carl Hagelin is on an expiring contract and could be a rental player. Defenseman Alec Martinez could also draw some interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams with interest in Carter will have to ensure he’d be willing to join them. Toffoli is probably their most attractive trade chip. With Muzzin gone, the Kings might prefer hanging onto Martinez. Hagelin could become a cheap rental, perhaps for a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick.
Don’t see why Kunitz would waive his NMC. He’s got 3 small kids, came to Chicago to stay put and already has four rings. Plus, he might be healthy scratched where he goes anyway. https://t.co/u81PMlsQaM
— Jimmy Greenfield (@jcgreenx) January 24, 2019