NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2019

by | Jan 4, 2019 | Rumors | 32 comments

Latest on the Avalanche, Jets, and Maple Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Colorado Avalanche possess a lethal first line in Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog, but Jared Clinton believes it’s masked the club’s lack of secondary scoring. which has contributed to their current 2-5-3 skid. He suggests it’s time to consider making some noise in the trade market.

Clinton wonders if now might be a good time to shop goaltender Semyon Varlamov and his expiring contract, or listen on blueliner Nikita Zadorov or shopping pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Patrick Nemeth. He also proposes entertaining the option of shopping one of their two first-round picks in the 2019 draft, one of which belonged to the Ottawa Senators and could become the first-overall pick. 

Should the Colorado Avalanche shop goalie Semyon Varlamov for a scoring forward? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t hurt to see what Varlamov, Zadorov or Nemeth might fetch in the trade market, but I doubt any of those three can bring the type of return that would provide immediate help to their secondary scoring.

Varlamov is frequently injured and inconsistent, Zadorov (who’s currently sidelined with a lower-body injury) has struggled to establish himself as a reliable top-four blueliner. Nemeth is a third-pairing rearguard.

If general manager Joe Sakic seeks scoring punch, he’ll have to dangle one of those first-round picks. 


WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff should bolster his club’s depth at center and on the left side of the blueline. He points out Cheveldayoff made a big splash at last year’s trade deadline by acquiring rental center Paul Stastny, who played a significant role in the Jets’ march to the 2018 Western Conference Finals.

McIntyre’s suggested trade targets include Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene, Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin, New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes, and St. Louis Blues rearguard Jay Bouwmeester.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duchene and Muzzin are the best options on McIntyre’s list. The Senators are trying to re-sign Duchene but he could become available before the trade deadline if they cannot hammer out an agreement on a new contract. He’d also be the most expensive on McIntyre’s list to acquire. Muzzin, meanwhile, is under contract for one more season at an affordable $4 million cap hit. The Kings, however, will want a decent return, preferably a promising young player. 

Staal could be more affordable but the Wild could hang onto him if they’re still in playoff contention. He also has a 10-team no-trade list and could veto a move to Winnipeg. Like Duchene, Hayes is a pending UFA but the Rangers could still try to re-sign him.

Bouwmeester would be the most affordable of this bunch but at 35 he’s no longer a reliable top-four defenseman. The Jets would be better off looking elsewhere. 


TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski reports Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said yesterday following a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild that his club might still be in the market for a goaltender. Starter Frederik Andersen and backup Garret Sparks are currently sidelined, resulting in GM Kyle Dubas’ recent acquisition of Michael Hutchinson from the Florida Panthers and calling up Kasimir Kaskisuo. They’d prefer returning Kaskisuo to the minors, which could put them in the market for another goalie with NHL experience. 

“I don’t know what’s going on, we were just talking about maybe finding another goalie,” said Leafs coach Mike Babcock. “We’d like (Kaskisuo) to get playing, we don’t want him to be sitting around. So maybe we’ve got to find another goalie and go from there.”


  1. Last time Avs won a game was the last one Zadorov dressed for. Probably just coincidence, right?:p I’d be very disappointed to see him traded.

  2. The Avs should look no further than those same Ottawa Senators for some offense and also the Flyers.

    With 2 first rounders, and 5 picks in the first 3 rounds in 2019 they should give the Sens back their first rounder for Duchene and then give the Sens 3 rounder they own in 2019 and their own 2nd rounder in 2020 to the Flyers for Simmonds.

    Make new 2nd line of Duchene, Simmonds and Kerfoot (move back to LW) and place Compher and Jost on the 3rd line with Soder-pop.

    Depending on how effective Simmonds and Duchene were the Avs could even consider splitting up the top line on occasion (gasp!) swapping Kerfoot and Landeskog.

    • There is less than 0 chance that the Avs trade the sens first back to the sens for Duchene.
      With all the talk about offer sheets this year, who’s to say that the AVs won’t be a team considering this, they certainly have the pick depth to do this.

      Not a whole lot available in scoring forwards at the moment and I was surprised when they weren’t a team pushing for Nylander (as it turns out, probably the right move)

    • I’m pretty positive Joe Sakic called “no backsies” before Dorion could.

    • and your 1st round pick next yr if simmonds is resigned.

      the other trade is mentioned would require a lot more coming back from Ottawa. Not sure how that trade makes sense for Sakic for a lot of reasons.

  3. Colorado should not trade that top pick could be Hughes.
    Would be stupid. Maybe their own first rounder.
    Colorado’s problem sounds like Boston and many other teams. With the cap every team will turn into a one line team.

  4. Took Salic over a year to move Duchene. I would target Hayes for Colorado’s first and a prospect and a fringe roster. Player

    • I would not give up this first rounder for that.
      Very deep draft and the Avs are sitting well, drafting a player this year is worth keeping plus they have Shane Bowers from the Sens deal also…who will slide nice into a mid depth player soon..Hayes is too expensive and way too much to give up for an unknown signing….not to mention he is just not worth that investment to the AVS that #1 pick is really big, high quality draft!

  5. I could see the Avs wanting to move Wilson, Nemeth, Varly and maybe Barrie. Barrie would obviously bring the biggest return but at the moment he is playing well lets just say not his best so the reutrn would be lower. Oh BTW EJH hell would frezze over before the Avs went after Dutchy but Stone I would be all over 😉

  6. Why is there no Howard/Kronwall to Toronto rumours?

    • There have been some, but there are other teams in the NHL as well.

      • haha, nice one Double Minor. Funny without being overly aggressive.

        As for the initial question, Kronwall to the Leafs is rumored and possible.
        I like Howard in Vegas as the back up or to the Flames, outside shot of New jersey if they climb back in the race

  7. Colorado is not trading Ottawa 1st rnd pick and if they were to trade their own 1st rnd pick it should not be for a potential ufa.
    This is a young team with time on their hands, with 2 1st round pick. Maybe look at dealing depending on where they are slotted for a proven defenseman with their own pick.

    • If a decent D was offered for the Avs 1st I could see that happening. Sens pick has to be off the table unless its a silly offer

  8. Winnipeg doesn’t need a dman, with Byfuglien sideline they can weather the storm. There main need could be a second line center.
    Last year management wasn’t comfortable going into the playoff with Little as their 2nd line center so they traded for Paul Stastny, this season they/are hoping Jack Roslovic would take the job and he hasn’t as of date, so that leaves Bryan Little as their second line center again. Will they go with that or once again look for another 2nd line center.

  9. Once again, last nights game between the Flames and Bruins highlight the importance of good goaltending.
    Smith was brutal once again letting in 2 real soft goals that could have made the difference between winning and loosing.
    I can hardly wait for Big save Dave to come back from a minor injury.
    Leaf fans better hope Anderson is not out to long as they will feel the pain that subpar goaltending can inflict

    • Oh we know the pain all too well my friend. Toskala, Reimer, Bernier, Raycroft, Gustavsson – what a mess.
      Reimer was the best of the lot by a mile and that says a lot

  10. I think Colorado should do something drastic, and see if New Jersey would be willing to trade Taylor Hall. The Devils GM has already sold the fan base and media, a line of crap that the team is in a rebuilding phase, after making the playoffs. Colorado could give up a 1st, Zadorov, maybe a prospect, and a 2nd rd pick. Hall is still under contract for next season as well.

    • As Caper notes above, the Avs are a young team. And like most young teams, they struggle keeping the puck out of their own net. Not sure Hall helps that problem much.
      IMO Sakic isn’t going to give up key future pieces or picks for a short term fix.
      He has a chance to build a long term contender and will do so through the draft unless a great opportunity comes his way.
      Not at the point where it makes sense to give up picks for payoff rentals.

      • Avs may want to look into:
        Athanasiou (sp?)
        Lindblom (I believe he is under utilized in Philly)

  11. Avs should be patient. As it stands they will have 4 rookie first round picks in camp next year including Makar and Kaut as well as Ottawa’s 1st round pick and their own.

    At that time, Barrie will be an expensive redundancy and could be moved.

    Avs are still 2 years away from being “competitive.” Avs fan should realize that and be patient.

    The question might be whether a high end coach would be interested in taking the reigns with the future looking so bright for the Avs?

  12. I don’t think the Avs should do anything drastic at this time. They have some top notch pieces in place on good contracts and with their 2 first round picks this year could quite possibly get 2 more future superstars. I always say the goal of any GM is to win the Stanley Cup not just get get to the playoffs. Sakic has proven to have patience and to do the right thing. I think Avs fans should take comfort that their team is in good hands and will be serious Stanley Cup contenders down the road.

  13. IF the Sens bottom out.
    IF the Avalanche win the lottery.

    They will trade that 1st over all pick to……the Canucks. For the Sedins 2.0.

    Oh yes they’ll pay dearly to own both Hughs brothers. Boeser, their pick, who knows what else.

  14. There is no time like the present to win a cup! But I agree that Colorado sits patient this year unless a stellar deal pops up. Watched the Tampa Bay game last night and wow what an incredible PP they have. Great drafting and grooming of young players!

  15. I will trade Karl Alzner, retain 50% of his salary to any team willing to give up a third rounder. Anybody buying?

    • No, sorry. Karl’s a good guy and all, but I’ll pass.

  16. Agree with above joe can remain very patient with all the picks coming up and also past first rounders playing well in minors and ncaa….in great shape cap wise also…will have to pay rants soon though. They are not winning the cup this year anyways so while I’d like to see them sneak into the playoffs it’s not the end of the world if they dont

  17. Ive been watching the Hugh’s brothers they are good players but I do not see franchise players not even close.

  18. Would COL offer up the 1st overall for Hayes(sign and trade) and Zucarello(sign and trade) ? NYR taking back a contract like Soderberg

    • I think the avs will hang on to the sens pick unless an offer is just crazy…..odds say its at least a top 3 pick

  19. What kind of idiot beans his own goalie in the head, and concusses him, during practice? Willie Nylander, that’s who. what a joke. Trade him already!