NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2019

by | Jan 3, 2019 | Rumors | 19 comments

Latest on the Blackhawks, Flames, Canucks, Rangers, Penguins, Wild, Flyers, Senators, and Hurricanes in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Among the five questions the Blackhawks must answer in the second half of this season, Jimmy Greenfield wonders if GM Stan Bowman will keep dealing. He already shipped Nick Schmaltz to the Arizona Coyotes for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini, and on Sunday traded defenseman Brandon Manning to the Edmonton Oilers for Drake Caggiula and blueliner Jason Garrison, who’s now on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.

Should the Chicago Blackhawks attempt to trade defenseman Duncan Keith? (Photo via NHL Images)

If Bowman plans more significant moves, Greenfield suggests they could include Brandon Saad or Artem Anisimov. “Saad doesn’t have a no-trade clause and Anisimov can be dealt to 10 teams from a list he submitted to the Hawks.”

THE ATHLETIC: If the Blackhawks become sellers, Scott Powers feels it’ll be interesting to see who hits the trade block. He wondered if Bowman will approach defenseman Duncan Keith about a trade. Artem Anisimov’s performance has improved since returning to Patrick Kane’s line. Powers wondered if Erik Gustafsson has a future with the Blackhawks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad or Anisimov would have the most trade value. Moving either guy would also shed considerable salary-cap room that could be put toward other moves in the offseason. However, they’re both under contract beyond this season and could be difficult to move before the trade deadline.

Keith has a full no-movement clause, another four seasons left on his contract with a cap hit of over $5.5 million, and at 35 is on the downside of his long career. If, and that’s a big if, Keith is willing to accept a trade, that type of deal won’t take place until the offseason. He’ll probably want to go to a Stanley Cup contender, limiting where the Blackhawks can send him. 


SPORTSNET: In his first “31 Thoughts” column of 2019, Elliotte Friedman reported the Calgary Flames are looking for left-handed options on defense. Blueliner Jusso Valimaki is sidelined until late-January with a high-ankle sprain. Noting Michael Frolik’s agent recently raised questions about his client’s role with the Flames, Friedman speculates they could check the winger’s value in the trade market but doesn’t see him moving unless it’s for a return that makes them better. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So, unless the Flames can move Frolik for a good left-shot blueliner, he won’t be going anywhere before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. 

Friedman believes the Vancouver Canucks could be “looking to see what’s out there for Nikolay Goldobin. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goldobin, 23,  sits fourth among Canucks scorers this season (23 points in 41 games) and is on pace for a career-best 45 points. However, he’s been frequently shuffled among Vancouver’s forward lines and was a healthy scratch last night against the Senators, increasing speculation he could be on the trade block. There are also ongoing concerns over his defensive game. Could be worth monitoring in the coming weeks, especially with the Canucks surging back into playoff contention.  

Friedman suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins could be looking to better themselves, as could the struggling Minnesota Wild. He also wondered if the Philadelphia Flyers are buying or selling, and believes the New York Rangers will sell by the trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is among the league’s most aggressive wheeler-dealers. He’s already swung two trades this season and could make more to improve his club’s playoff chances. I expect Wild GM Paul Fenton would love to make a deal to snap his club out of yet another midseason funk but there might not be much help in the trade market right now.

The Flyers should sell by the deadline. They’ve already changed management and coaches. It’s time to retool for next season.

As for the Rangers, TSN’s Darren Dreger expects they’ll shop pending UFAs such as Mats Zuccarello and Adam McQuaid, but said they haven’t decided yet if they’ll peddle Kevin Hayes. The 26-year-old center still has value to the Blueshirts now and in the future but it’ll depend upon how much he’s seeking on his next contract. 

Friedman believes contenders will wonder how long the Ottawa Senators wait for commitments from pending UFA forwards Mark Stone and/or Matt Duchene. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If possible, Senators management could wait until up to deadline day, though I daresay they’ll prefer a firm decision one way or the other from both guys well before then. Stone indicated he wants to stay and said contract talks should intensify later this month. Duchene’s been vague over the status of his negotiations. 

Friedman also believes there will be a market for Carolina Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland if he doesn’t re-sign. Like Stone and Duchene, he’s slated to become a UFA in July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ferland has struggled since missing a couple of weeks with a concussion about a month ago. That could affect his negotiations with the Hurricanes and his trade value if they decide to shop him. 



    If this game last night doesn’t show you what this team is when they cannot lean on Lundqvist to be on the top of his game all the time… I don’t know what to tell you?

    At this point they are pretenders, not contenders. They have so much more to gain by embracing what they are then pretending they need to get into a playoff spot.

    This is exactly what should be expected of this young team. Some nice games and some really ugly ones. They are a team that cannot play 60 minutes a night. I believe they’ve had 17-18 3rd period leads and have blown about 10 of them.

    There is no question they should be sellers at the deadline or sooner. Colorado’s slide, may be helpful with shopping Hayes.

    Write down a number and term and give him until mid January to either sign, or go. Then start working the phones for the best offer you can between now and the deadline.

    Side note. Staal has a beautiful redirect goal last night! Wow! What hands !!!! It was his first as a Pittsburgh Penguin.

    • They are rebuilding no?
      Let them rebuild then.
      Nothing wrong with winning a few games during the 1st year of the rebuilding process.
      The false hope in the fan base is the real tricky part to navigate.
      Ranger fans generally feel like they deserve more than they’ve paid for. I get it.
      I just hope it takes 30 years to get it back on track.

    • Hardest part of being a Ranger fan is watching players like Namestnikov, Strome,McLeod etc on the ice at all.
      Patience is not a common word @ MSG

      Most of the trades have worked out so far(McDonagh might not be replaced for a decade…) and the 2017 draft was not as deep as 2015, 2016 or 2018.. just Rangers luck with a #7 pick and no cant miss player left.

      I wanted a shot @ Jack Hughes but the team will finish just outside the playoffs and pick 8-12

      • I don’t mind the Namestikovs, Stromes etc. imo, they should have more stop gap players so they can let Chytl, Andersson etc develop.

        These 2 should both be full time Ahl players right now. Andersson more so than Chytl.
        Because like you said, they weren’t exactly players that were NHL ready when drafted. Imo, let them be 1-2 line centers on Hartford rather than wingers or Yo-yo’s between the NHL and Ahl (Andersson) playing 7 minutes a night with McLeod .

        They both have played very well while down.

        I hope they aren’t picking 7-8+ again.

    • I don’t see 30 years. But nothing wrong with a 3-4 year process.

      The real tricky part is the pressure from the media and fans. It’s still a shocker to Larry Brooks and co. That this team will have these type of ugly games. Somehow expecting instant results from these young players.

      I give it 6 months before they start calling for guys like Chytl and Anderssons heads to roll.

      • There’s no doubt in my mind that will happen.
        I also agree that media driven nonsense (Brooksie) is enough to make anyone ask questions of their teams future.
        The Rangers will be fine in less than 5 seasons.
        I wasn’t predicting 30 years, that was wishful thinking on my part.

      • Penguins pound the king and the Rangers 7-2..still rangers better than expected what has happened to zuccarello 4 goals.?

      • He’s missed 12 games, and was inserted in games in between unhealthy. Zuccarello isn’t a goal scorer. He’s a playmaker.

    • I found myself sarcastically muttering “nice d” on four of those goals. The th it’s goal was a great assist from letang holding shattenkirk’s stick, and he couldn’t reset in time to make a defensive play. Really the only one we can fault Lundqvist with was that terrible 5hole goal. Pittsburg had the time and space to pick corners, and the skill to hit them, all night.

      You’ll find no hank sympathy from me. He had the opportunity to be traded for years and insisted he wanted this. So play 70 games and win less than 40 for the first time in your career. Unfortunately it means the team will be better in record than it is on paper.

      At this point I hope they miss the playoffs so that they’re eligible to win the draft lottery, pull Hughes or the Finnish kid whose name escapes me, and maybe reach out to panarin.

      • Kaako. And yes please!

      • Seems like zuccarello usually an 18 to 20 goal scorer..surprised he only has 4.
        Injury explains some of that for sure.thanks…hearing rangers might move shattenkirk they just got him? These teams get a player then move him…

  2. I think the Flames stay status quo. Why monkey with that chemistry. Ease Valimaki back who is a left shot by the way and is going to be a stud. Stone is out long term but should be available at some point. They do not need backend help except in goal. They will need a tough guy down the home stretch but not for playoffs
    Hawks made a good deal for Perlini and Strome. The Pacioretty trade looks real good for the Habs and the Pens move of Sprong was also a nice move. That’s it ? There has to be more coming of significance and hopefully soon.

    • SilverSeven,
      I agree on your comments about the Flames it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go out and Trade a Frolik for a left shooting defensemen.
      In my mind it would make more sense to trade Frolik at the draft for a Draft pick. I would think they could easily get a second and a 4th.
      Who ever makes that trade would be very happy as Frolik is a very dependable veteran player that would add stability to a young team in need of veteran help.

      A comment on Ferland, this is not surprising to me as last year the same thing happened he came out and scored 20 of his 22 goals in the first half then got injured with a concussion and he was not the same player when he came back. Buyer beware as he has a history of concussion issues

  3. Where is the Canes owner now? That ‘big’ trade was just the shakeup the Flames needed….

    Ronnie Francis had the team on the right course and yes the team could spare trading a young D away but the Canes lost heavy so far

    • Best trade of Tre’s career.

    • DS, I agree with your comments.

      Now that Tom Dundon has a year of experience I’m hoping he has learned enough to know that he has to hire a GM that has a track record of building playoff teams. Carolina should not make another player for player trade until the new GM is in place.

      • We’ll find out soon enough what Dundon and Waddell have in store. They reportedly had interest in Nylander before he re-signed with the Leafs.

  4. With Frolik being a healthy scratch you would think in Calgary hope it kicks starts him and with Frolik agent speaking out, there could be a trade but I don’t think there would be much of a return.