NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2019
Latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Dougie Hamilton, Artemi Panarin, Jeff Skinner, Erik Karlsson and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SUGGESTED DESTINATIONS FOR TARASENKO
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin suggests the Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights, Edmonton Oilers, and Buffalo Sabres as five teams that should go “all-in” on acquiring St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. If the Blues decide to move Tarasenko, Larkin feels it’s plausible they could wait until the offseason but didn’t rule out the possibility of a deal by the trade deadline.
Should Tarasenko hit the trade block, the asking price will be high. Larkin speculates it could cost the Hurricanes a high-end prospect such as Martin Necas as part of the return. The Bruins might have to part with winger Jake DeBrusk.
The Golden Knights have plenty of picks and prospects but would have to shed some of their nearly $73 million cap payroll for next season to make room for his $7.5 million salary-cap hit. The Oilers might have to part with Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto as part of the deal, while the Sabres have lots of picks and prospects to offer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those teams could all certainly put Tarasenko’s scoring talent to good use. While his stats are down this season he could be revitalized playing on a deeper club where he doesn’t have to be a team leader.
Of Larkin’s suggested clubs, the Oilers hold probably the weakest hand. Adding a high-salaried winger when a fading Milan Lucic’s $6-million annual salary-cap hit remains on the books would hamper their efforts to improve their blueline. They could seek more affordable options to bolster their scoring depth.
UPDATES ON SOME NOTEWORTHY UFAS
TSN: During the latest “Insider Trading” segment, Pierre LeBrun reported Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin intends to meet with his agent during the upcoming NHL All-Star break to determine his future plans. If he decides not to re-sign, LeBrun speculates the Jackets could hang onto him for the remainder of the season as a “self-rental”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times: As long as the Jackets are a playoff contender they won’t trade Panarin.
The agent for Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner intends to meet soon with Sabres general manager Jason Botterill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the Sabres don’t re-sign Skinner, who tallied his 29th goal of the season last night.
Ottawa Senators pending UFAs Matt Duchene and Mark Stone could meet with Senators management soon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the two, Stone seems the most likely to re-sign. He’s publicly expressed his willingness to stay in Ottawa. Duchene is open to the idea but hasn’t tipped his hand.
The San Jose Sharks and Erik Karlsson can talk contract whenever they want but can’t sign an eight-year extension until after the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
Darren Dreger said the Philadelphia Flyers haven’t reached a decision yet on winger Wayne Simmonds. He suggests Canadian clubs such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, and Calgary Flames could use Simmonds.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmonds might be a better fit with the Flames. The Leafs need an experienced top-four right-side defenseman more than a two-way winger. I feel the Jets need to acquire another rental center as they did last year with Paul Stastny.
LATEST ON DOUGIE HAMILTON
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites NHL insider Elliotte Friedman discussing which clubs might have interest in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman with Toronto’s Sportsnet 590. He said there were people at last year’s NHL Draft who thought Hamilton might get shipped to the St. Louis Blues but the deal fell apart. He speculates they might revisit their interest.
Friedman also thinks the Pittsburgh Penguins might take a swing but doesn’t see a fit between the two clubs because the Hurricanes need a scorer. He also wouldn’t be surprised if the Toronto Maple Leafs looking into Hamilton’s availability.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Friedman that there probably isn’t a fit between the Penguins and Hurricanes regarding Hamilton. If the Blues are willing to part with Vladimir Tarasenko or Brayden Schenn, perhaps Hamilton could be a fit there.
Hamilton could address Toronto’s need for a skilled top-four blueliner with a right-hand shot. However, the asking price could be winger Kaspari Kapanen and the Leafs could be reluctant to part with him.