NHL Trade Rumors – January 31, 2019
Updates on Artemi Panarin, Wayne Simmonds, and Cody Ceci plus the latest on the Leafs and Jets in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NBC SPORTS (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): TSN insider Bob McKenzie noted the Columbus Blue Jackets face a tough decision with pending unrestricted free agent winger Artemi Panarin, who recently indicated his unwillingness to discuss a new contract during the season. Do they keep him and risk losing him to free agency this summer or trade him for what could be futures because interested clubs could be reluctant to part with anyone off their rosters. He believes it’ll take a big return to convince Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to part with his best player and risk sabotaging his playoff chances. If they decide to trade Panarin, McKenzie suggests that could affect what they might do with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
NHL NETWORK (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman believes the Columbus Blue Jackets won’t move Artemi Panarin before the trade deadline if no one meets their asking price. He pointed to last year’s trade deadline where they held onto defenseman Jack Johnson when no one was willing to part with a first-round draft pick. If management feels they’re good enough to stage a Cup run then they should retain Panarin and fellow pending UFA Sergei Bobrovsky and go for it.
Friedman also acknowledges Bobrovsky’s erratic season has thrown a curve ball into their plans this season. He wondered if the goaltender, who has a full no-trade clause, has put any potential trade destinations down on paper.
In his latest 31 Thoughts column, Friedman suggested the Florida Panthers as an “out of the box” club to try to sign Panarin and Bobrovsky this summer.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin feels a Panarin trade seems unlikely, citing many of the reasons listed by McKenzie, but adds it’s not impossible to envision. Short-term destinations could include the Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights, and New York Islanders.
NHL.COM: In his latest mailbag segment, Dan Rosen listed the New York Rangers, Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and New York Islanders as possible free-agent destinations for Panarin this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN moved Panarin to the top of their trade-bait board but it remains to be seen if he gets traded by the Feb. 25 deadline. If the Jackets put him on the block, I wonder if interested clubs might seek permission to talk contract with him. After all, his reluctance to talk contract in-season could apply solely to the Blue Jackets. A sign-and-trade scenario would certainly improve the return for the Jackets.
Nevertheless, I’m in agreement with McKenzie and Friedman. It’ll come down to whether a club is willing to meet the Jackets’ asking price. If not, they’ll retain Panarin (and Bobrovsky) and hope for the best in the playoffs.
NHL NETWORK (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman suggests it could take the Philadelphia Flyers a little while to move left winger Wayne Simmonds, noting teams are still waiting to see what the Blue Jackets do with Artemi Panarin and the Ottawa Senators with Matt Duchene and Mark Stone.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Friedman speculated the Boston Bruins could be in on Simmonds no matter what.
TSN: Frank Seravalli said getting a heavy forward has been on Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock’s wish list for some time. Craig Button suggests Simmonds and Micheal Ferland as options, noting Simmonds can also play alongside good players and be effective on the power play.
THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of Austin Watson’s indefinite suspension, John Glennon believes the Nashville Predators need some size and toughness up front. He feels acquiring Simmonds would make a lot of sense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect plenty of suitors for Simmonds as the trade deadline nears. While teams could be waiting to see what happens with Duchene, Stone, and Panarin, those in the market for a winger who can play a physical style probably won’t play the waiting game. The Leafs gave up their first-round pick this year in the Jake Muzzin deal so, unless they’re willing to give up a good young forward, they could be out of the running for Simmonds.
NBC SPORTS (via KUKLA’S KORNER): TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes Ottawa Senators right-shot defenseman Cody Ceci is “definitely in play”. There’s some question if the Senators are willing to pay the money he’ll be seeking as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. McKenzie feels they could move him if they can get a first-round pick and a prospect.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators aren’t shopping Ceci but teams have been calling and GM Pierre Dorion has been listening to determine his market value. He also reports a few teams have shown interest in winger Mikkel Boedker, who’s signed through 2019-20 with a $4 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ceci’s RFA status this summer means they’re under no pressure to move him at the trade deadline. Once they sort out Duchene, Stone and UFA winger Ryan Dzingel by mid-February, they could listen more closely to offers for Ceci leading up to deadline day.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs will keep an eye open for right-shot defensemen leading up to the trade deadline, but they’re now in a salary-cap situation. They’ll need to keep about $3.75 million in cap room available to avoid bonus money for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner leaking into next season’s salary cap. He feels they’ll have to consider dollar-in, dollar-out scenarios.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing an affordable right-side depth defenseman, such as Philadelphia’s Radko Gudas or the New York Rangers’ Adam McQuaid, seems more likely for the Leafs than landing a physical scoring forward like Wayne Simmonds or Carolina’s Micheal Ferland.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing yesterday on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290: Darren Dreger expressed confidence saying the Jets will add a forward. He wondered if they’ll pursue a center as they did last season. He noted the Jets expressed interest in Pittsburgh’s Derick Brassard last season and kicked tires on Brassard again but didn’t like the asking price of Adam Lowry. If the Ottawa Senators decided to shop center Matt Duchene, Dreger assumes Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will look into it.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes the Jets’ recent lackluster performance suggests they need to make a move or two to address their five-on-five offense, secondary scoring, and defensive depth. He said he’s been told Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has been working the phones searching for a more experienced depth forward. McIntyre hopes Cheveldayoff will also try to land a top center to get the streaky Patrik Laine’s offense going.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are going for it this season and landing a scoring center appears to be the priority. If Duchene becomes available I can see Cheveldayoff calling the Senators about the asking price. Brayden Schenn of the St. Louis Blues or Kevin Hayes of the New York Rangers could also be on Cheveldayoff’s radar.