NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2019

by | Jan 7, 2019 | Rumors | 39 comments

Latest on Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes, Pat Maroon, and Andre Burakovsky in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes it’s time for the sliding New York Rangers to trade pending unrestricted free agent winger Mats Zuccarello as soon as they get a legitimate trade offer. Zuccarello admits the uncertainty over his future is affecting his performance but took responsibility for it.

With the Rangers season starting to fall apart, Brooks doubts they’ll be able to stoke a bidding war for the veteran winger by hanging onto him until the trade deadline. He feels there will be plenty of contenders seeking second- and third-line depth who could be interested in Zuccarello. 

It may be time for the New York Rangers to trade winger Mats Zuccarello. (Photo via NHL Images)

Brooks also wonders what effect the Rangers’ current slide could have upon management’s decision whether to re-sign or trade pending UFA center Kevin Hayes. While Hayes’ improvement this season should improve his worth in the trade market, it could also make him a valuable part of the Rangers’ future.

Brooks believes Hayes will be the best rental player leading up to the trade deadline, though the standard return for a player of that caliber (late first-rounder and a reasonable prospect) doesn’t seem nearly enough.

Ideally, he sees the Rangers picking up “a non-playoff team’s first-rounder plus a young player who could play in the NHL next season as either a top-nine forward or top-four defenseman, perhaps plus another pick or player if there is enough interest.  Carolina is desperate for help up front, may miss the playoffs and has depth on defense through the organization that includes the rights to Harvard righty “D” Adam Fox.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zuccarello’s struggles this season will affect his trade value. Still, the Rangers could hold off until early-February before pulling the trigger in hopes of getting a decent return. At this point, I think they’ll be seeking a second-round pick but might have to settle for a third or even a fourth-rounder.

As for Hayes, while it’s possible a rival club could be desperate enough to overpay I’ll be very surprised if the Rangers get what Brooks suggests. A first rounder plus a promising young player plus another pick or player? Sorry, I don’t see Hayes garnering that much. 


THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford suggests if St. Louis Blues winger Pat Maroon could be on the move once again. The Blues signed Maroon, a St. Louis native, as a free-agent last summer to a one-year, $1.75-million contract but he’s struggled to score and was a healthy scratch three times since November. 

Rutherford expects the Blues to move Maroon after his full no-trade clause changes on Jan. 31 to a modified eight-team no-trade list. He also wonders if the club could pressure him to waive his clause early. A league source suggested a fifth-round pick is the best the Blues could get in the trade market. They could also place him on waivers, though if claimed they won’t receive any compensation. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maroon has just three goals and 11 points in 38 games this season, putting him well below his 40-plus point pace of the previous two seasons. A playoff contender could see him as an affordable rental addition. He could be on the move well before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. 


THE WASHINGTON POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Isabelle Khurshudyan was asked about possible moves by the Capitals leading up to the trade deadline. Looking back at previous trade-deadline moves under general manager Brian MacLellan, she notes he opted for defensemen. Given his previous deals (Tim Gleason, Mike Weber, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jakub Jerabek, and Michal Kempny), she said they were happier with the subtler moves such as Gleason and Kempny and expects they’ll once again pursue a depth defenseman.

Asked about struggling winger Andre Burakovsky, she believes their preference is to retain him and hope he gets his game back on track. Burakovsky is slated to become a restricted free agent in July. MacLellan won’t deal away the 2013 first-round pick unless he gets a return that provides immediate help.

Khurshudyan also notes the Capitals remain haunted by the Filip Forsberg to Nashville trade six years ago and are understandably cautious about trading away young, skilled forwards. If they did move Burakovsky, she believes they’ll want a middle-six forward in return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Khurshudyan’s take. Burakovsky isn’t untouchable and if the Capitals got a reasonable offer they’ll consider it. Nevertheless, I think they’ll hang onto him and look for an affordable rental depth defenseman by the deadline. 


  1. The leafs been quiet in the old rumour mill lately. Wonder if their management team have finally realized after loses to Tampa, calgary, Pittsburgh and other middling playoff teams that they are not what they thought they were.

    They are in an odd spot, were they will be first round losers again if they do nothing, or they can trade their prospects and picks that they will need to plug in the line up next year when they are in cap hell.

    Might as well go all in this year they will have a few extra first rounders after Matthews or marner accept offer sheets!


    • Twin

      LOL 😂

      I’ve been waiting those (now almost 52) years

      I do fear the AM offer sheet … paramount now, IMO for full court press on getting his extension done …. even if his intentions ARE for sure to sign with Leafs …. waiting until after 1/7 will garner at least one offer sheet IMO …. and just waiving it in GMKDs face will likely increase his contract from Leafs

      I would definitely not go all in this year …. remember I’m a Leaf fan …. I just can’t see them winning the SC this June.

      I think they are in tough against Bos …. but setting that aside … I can’t fathom (outside of miraculously picking up at least 1, if not 2; top 4D by TDL) Leafs getting by TBay AND winner of Metro AND (likely) Winn or Nsh

      Extend AM pronto; then full court press on MM deal…. sell WW on/after 2/7 (after signing bonus paid) for a top 4D…. pray that they can persuade Marleau to ALLEN w for a trade …. pay him his signing bonus (also on 1/7) …, trade him …. fill out roster…. cross fingers no serious injury to Andersen

      • Friggin auto correct

        NOT “ALLEN w” but ” allow”


      • And to think, when I suggested Gio ( Toronto born) for Nylander at the beginning of the year it was laughed at. Keep laughing Leaf fans lol.

    • They did outshoot Tampa 49-21 and actually hit six goalposts in that loss. Jon Cooper said Tampa were totally outplayed. Leafs also beat the Pens 5-0 and swepth their west coast trip. You are not going to win every game – Tampa just lost 5-2 to the Sharks.

    • You obviously hate NY. Your returns were moronic. Zucc will return a 1st as will Hayes. Rick Nash who sucked returned a first and a good prospect last year. Zucc is a 50+ player. He’s had a hard time knowing he was getting dealt and talked about it. His valued is only diminished to morons like you that are anti NY. If you don’t think Hayes will get that return, stop following hockey. He’s turning into a 55-60 point, 2 way stud before our eyes. He’s young. It’s almost as if you haven’t watched the trade deadline the past 10 years. Get a clue moron.

  2. I often don’t see eye to eye with Brooks…. really his possible projection of a return (and trade target) for Hayes ; I disagree

    …..”a non-playoff team’s first-rounder plus a young player …….next-year top-nine forward or top-four defenseman, perhaps plus another pick or player

    I love Hayes … great value on almost every team …. if a Non Play-off team is vying …. the pick would have to be lottery protected for sure.

    If you are paying that much you better be sure you have him for next year (he’s UFA) and only way to have comfort level on degree of certainty is for agent to be allowed to discuss potential contract terms with “new” team prior to trade …. will Rangers allow for this?

    If allowed to negotiate with his agent pre trade and coming away with strong certainty of signing him …. then and only then would a Non play-off team be likely to give up a first (MUST be lottery protected) plus a roster player who will be top 9 Fwd PLUS another player/pick

    If the deal had to be for 1st (again lottery protected) AND player who would be top 4D next year and player/pick…. that’s too much

    Risk of not being able to definitely sign plus high ask …. I disagree with the return

    To me …. more likely that a play-off bound team wins the bid ….. 1st and roster player for sure (not top 4 D next year) plus mid rounder ???

    • Sorry to clarify … IMO …. high first rounder; roster too 9, 3rd or 4th rounder

  3. I expect that the Blues will lose Schmaltz on waivers later today, I would be disappointed if Maroon ends up with the same fate. Things did not work as hoped in his return to St. Louis.

    • Can someone explain what is wrong with the Blues? I thought they had the talent to contend in the West.

      • Although there is talk of locker room/leadership issues, I think the concern starts/ends with goaltending. I also think that people fail to recognize that the “Hitchcock system” was so important to Blues success in previous years.

      • I like O Reilly and that was a good addition IMO. The other players they added in the off season made them slower in Bozak, Perron and Maroon which impacts the style of play you can implement and be successful.
        Tarasenko has not been his normal self and their goal tending has been week.
        Add it up and it equals a lottery ball.

      • I figured they would too. On that note all teams go threw dunks just not all season.

  4. Not heard a lot of talk re:free-falling Ducks….lost 8 in a row …. holding on to past WC spot … Ed 2 points behind with game in hand (and Ed has more ROWs); Minn (already with more ROWs) also 2 points behind and 3 games in hand … Ducks can’t score

    …. so since I don’t have a meeting for 15 minutes …. here is my “I have a dream” set of trades(again read “Dream” … so no way happening)

    To An : Kessel + JJ + Chad Ruhweedel

    To Pens: Silfverberg (UFA) ; Ritchie ; Manson ; 1st (Lottery protected)

    Then with LA …. Rust for Muzzin

    Then send Manson + Muzzin + 1st ’19 An (lottery protected) + 3rd (Pens) for

    Kappy , Dermott

    Leafs have now added two very solid top 4 D (one LHD one RHD) and have a 1st and 3rd AND their own picks to make other moves

    Ducks get scoring they need

    LA traded down in average age and increased scoring


    Crosby, Guentzel, Kappy

    Malkin , Horny, Silfverberg

    Brass , Simone , Ritchie

    Sheahan plus pick from :

    *ZAR; *Pearson; *Cullen; *Grant

    When Shultz returns:

    Letang, Dumo

    Shultz; Maata

    Oleksiak, Dermott

    Riikola, Petterson

    *trade options if GMJR feels they need to shore up another back-up just in case

    I said it was a dream 🙂

    • “Last” wild card spot ; NOT past wildcard spot ….. Ahhhhhh

    • Wow! Speechless, don’t even know where to start just glad it’s never ever happening.

      • Deee

        Yep as mentioned …. won’t ever ever happen

        I can still dream tho LOL

      • You day dream more than I did when I was an adolescent boy… cept your dreams above are hopefully less full of boobies.

  5. Pengy you have to many dreams, your most recurring dream you been having for over 50yrs. It must feel like “Groundhog day” for you.

    • You mean 51 years , 8 months and 5 days? But whose counting?

  6. I don’t follow Larry Brooks but he gets a lot of print here. But c’mon a non playoff team is going to give up their lottery pick for an UFA. How does that make any sense?

    • Thats how I read that too lol

  7. Zuccarello for Burakovsky ? Rangers get younger Washing ton gets the good middle six forwar they are looking for? Just a thought.

  8. Caper

    I am with you re: Brooks. Maybe that’s why Torts lost his temper so much with him!!


    That is quite the dream!! However, I think you guys should make a push for Manson. I think he would be a terrific fit with Reilly

    Gardiner and Kapanen to ANA
    Manson and Silverberg to TOR


    • I like the trade to bring in Manson and silf. But maybe keep gardiner, and offer zaitsev.

      I’ve been saying leafs should target silf all year, hes a proven playoff performer, just shy of ppg.

      • Will

        That would be great for Leafs but An will not be burned by taking on the Zaitz contract … Leafs would have to pony up more for sure IMO

      • Toronto would have to add a significant sweetener to the trade if Zaitsev is added. He has negative value with his current contract. No way Anaheim gives up Manson and Silfverberg to get Kapanen and Zaitsev.

      • We do have a draft pick or 2, maybe the rights to aaltonen that everyone forgot about aswell.

    • LeFtench09

      Like the deal …. I’d take it…won’t happen tho IMO 🙁

      • Hey Pengy

        I think this deal makes the most sense for both teams as far as filling in needs.

        What would you add to the deal to make it happen?

        Prospect from ANA to TOR
        Pick or picks from TOR to ANA?

    • Tortorella lost his temper?! Amazing!

  9. Karl Alzner for Jay Bowmeister. Habs retain some salary.

  10. I don’t think Zuccarello has slid so much NY is looking at a 3rd or 4th rounder. He has 14 points in 28 games, and about 4-5 of the 28 he played injured.

    Ny would be better off just holding on to him and giving him a 1 year deal before tossing him off for a 4th rounder.

    No way should he be worth less than Maroon, Grabner etc. from last year!

    Brooks on Hayes…. well that’s just Brooks being Brooks.

    Hayes should no question land a 1st rounder and a solid prospect.
    Rangers should start dealing now!
    Bottom out and hope to land a top 3 pick

  11. Nyr4life

    You would deal Hayes? I would rather keep him. I like the player and I think he fits in well in NYR. It will all depends on his $$$ demands I guess…

    Your thoughts on trying to get rid of Shattenkirk and Staal? Return might not be big but it would open up valuable salary cap room…

    • I think NY should be thinking full on tank at this point. Hayes would be fine, but between Chytl, Andersson , Howden etc I’m not sure Hayes is necessarily needed to be a core piece going forward.

      In no way shape or form do I believe every Ranger 1st rounder works out. My hope is 50% which is below the average. Why not get year another 1st rounder now and increase a shot a Hughes (I’ll take Kaako) in the process.

      My thoughts on Shattenkirk and Staal are …. well Staal they’re not moving without a sweetner or retention. So I keep him. Shattenkirk isn’t far behind. If I can move him without a sweetener or retention, I’d do it. If not , again why bother?

      Ny isn’t in any desperate need for cap space, or to make room for anyone at this point. I’d ride out Lundqvist, Smith, Staal, and Shattenkirk. They all expire at the same time, and that’s when they’ll have to worry about needing to pay some of the players coming off elc.

      They aren’t hurting anything, why give up assets or money to move them…. just to move them.

    • Hayes is a good player, but he’s not a legit top 3 forward. The Rangers desperately need top end talent. Look at the teams that have one the cup in the last 15 years. All of them have had (at least one) top 3 draft pick leading the way with the exception of the 2011 Bruins and the 2008 Red Wings. As good as Hayes is, he’s not that guy. Trading him would be a double triple benefit: (1) get some picks/prospects in return; (2) make the team worse this year and potentially end up with a top 3 pick; and (3) save cap space.

      • THR, you are right and you can go back much farther than 15 years. Closer to 25 or more.
        Both the 08 wings and 11 Bruins actually had a top 3 pick on their roster. Carolina in 06 is the only one in the last 25 years.
        A top 3 pick won’t guarantee a cup, but not having one almost guarantees you won’t.

  12. Washington can call LA and offer Burakovsky for Muzzin….. WSH could sue that depth for the playoffs and they already have enough firepower on offense.

  13. Twin,

    Matthews and Marnervwill not sign offer sheets as teams will not get that chance.

    After putting on my bifocals for the last five games I have identified some glaring deficiencies and some obvious spring cleaning that needs to be done.

    Observation #1: Marleau is making 6.25 million to gently forecheck and provide locker room leadership.

    Assessment #1: you can get that from a veteran bottom six forward for about 5 million less. Time to pull the plug.

    Obsevation #2: Gardiner is a defensive liability and that is accentuated when he is offensively impotent. Unless you want to put him on the third pairing it’s time to trade him.

    Assessment #2: Toronto needs three gritty players on the fourth line. This fourth line can’t be trusted to shadow any opposing top line in the NHL. Trade dead weight, overpaid has beens, mid round draft picks and expendable prospects to bring in some character and grit.

    Observation #3: Zaitsev is brutal.

    Assessment #3: Find a sucker to eat his inflated long term albatross contract before his no trade clause kicks in. Packaging him to get two second pairing defensemen would strengthen their team.

    Suggested trade: Gardiner, Zaitsev, Brown, Bracco and 1st rounder for Manson and