NHL Rumor Mill – February 1, 2019
The latest on Artemi Panarin, Duncan Keith, Mitch Marner, Mats Zuccarello, Cam Talbot, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there’s nothing new to report regarding the Ottawa Senators’ contract discussions with pending free agents Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. If they end up in the trade market they’ll join an unprecedented number of elite offensive players available as playoff rentals leading up to the trade deadline. Those could include Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin, Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, Carolina Hurricanes left winger Micheal Ferland and Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard.
Darren Dreger believes the Winnipeg Jets could join the clubs with interest in Duchene or Stone, though general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is said to be kicking tires on a lot of top-six and bottom-six players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll likely know for sure by Feb. 15 if Duchene and/or Stone will re-sign with the Senators or end up on the trade block. Simmonds, Ferland, and Brassard seem all but certain to be traded. Panarin could be moved but, as we’ll see, that’s not a certainty. The Jets’ need a second-line center and perhaps another checking-line forward.
TSN: Pierre Lebrun reports hearing several playoff contenders have reached out to the Blue Jackets to inquire about Artemi Panarin’s availability and what the asking price might be. The Florida Panthers aren’t among them but LeBrun believes GM Dale Tallon would be interested in pursuing Panarin and teammate Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency this summer.
THE ATHLETIC (Subscription required): Aaron Portzline reports Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen won’t be simply a seller if he decides to trade Panarin and/or Bobrovsky. He’ll want to add players to soften the blow of their departures and keep his club in playoff contention. The Jackets will get better returns for either guy if they can ship them to teams they’re willing to sign with. That could mean giving their agents permission to speak to interested clubs about contract extensions. A more likely approach could be conditional trades where the Jackets get an additional draft pick or prospect if the player re-signs with his new team.
Portzline suggests the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and perhaps the Vegas Golden Knights or Florida Panthers as possible destinations for Panarin. The Sharks, Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers might be options for Bobrovsky.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline also noted the Jackets could be willing to accept a return of a top prospect(s) and draft pick(s) and then flip part of that return to another club for an offensive forward to replace Panarin. Moving him could prove too complicated if the Jackets can’t find a separate deal to bring in a scorer to offset his departure.
It’s already been noted that Kekalainen could retain Panarin and Bobrovsky if he can’t find a suitable return for either guy. That could also depend on where they are in the standings. They’ve currently dropped three consecutive games. If the losses mount over the next couple of weeks it could hasten their departures out of Columbus.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Chicago Blackhawks will approach defenseman Duncan Keith before the trade deadline to find out what he wants to do. Keith has four years remaining on his contract ($5.5-million annual average value) plus a full no-trade clause.
THE ATHLETIC (Subscription required): Scott Powers reports it’s unlikely the Blackhawks will make a play at the trade deadline for any pending UFAs they could consider targeting this summer. They’re willing to move winger John Hayden and have let teams know they’re willing to move soon-to-be UFAs Chris Kunitz and Marcus Kruger.
Erik Gustafsson has been mentioned as a trade candidate but they’ll have to be “wowed” by an offer to move him. They’re also not shopping center Artem Anisimov, though that could change this summer when his no-movement clause becomes a modified no-trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Keith. Despite his age and decline in his play, the 35-year-old will attract lots of interest if he agrees to be traded to a contender before the Feb. 25 deadline. Same can’t be said for Kunitz, whose stock has rapidly declined over the last couple of years.
OFFER SHEET FOR MARNER THIS SUMMER?
TSN: Darren Dreger reminds us Mitch Marner’s agent recently said they have no intention of negotiating a new contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the season. If Marner, a restricted free agent after this season, isn’t re-signed by July 1, Dreger claims teams “are 100 percent preparing an offer sheet” for Marner. He also reminded us the Leafs intend to match it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rival clubs can contact Marner’s agent on July 1 about signing an offer sheet but that doesn’t mean he’ll sign one. Marner could tell his agent he’s only interested in signing with the Leafs and that will be the end of it. It could also be a pointless exercise of the Leafs match any offer, though doing so will put a serious dent into their salary-cap payroll and force them to make cost-cutting trades.
LIGHTNING TRADE OPTIONS
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger said he thinks the Tampa Bay Lightning have inquired about Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds and Carolina Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland. They might also have interest in a depth defenseman. He wondered if the Lightning is willing to part with anyone off their roster, as the Hurricanes could try to bring some scoring back for Ferland.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Lightning have sought a right-shot defenseman for some time. He said they’ve been linked to Ottawa Senators’ rearguard Cody Ceci.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning has a reputation for pulling off big moves leading up to the trade deadline. Though they’re riding high in the standings this season we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that they’ll be active again.
LATEST ON THE PENGUINS, RANGERS, AND OILERS
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey lists the Hurricanes’ Micheal Ferland, the New York Rangers’ Kevin Hayes, Winnipeg Jets’ Adam Lowry, New Jersey Devils’ Brian Boyle, and Minnesota Wild’s Charlie Coyle as potential trade-deadline targets for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes could seek a scorer or a first-round pick for Ferland. Ditto the Rangers for Hayes. The Jets reportedly aren’t interested in parting with Lowry and I can see the Devils keeping Boyle and trying to re-sign him. Coyle has often surfaced in trade rumors but the Wild’s recent trade of Nino Niederreiter to the Hurricanes could mean he’s safe for now.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers could be looking at New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello as a rental player.
Sounds like #Oilers had a positive conversation with Cam Talbot, letting him know they are leaving door open to signing him to an extension. But EDM has imminent cap issues (activating Sekera) and Talbot would seem to be one vehicle to clear space via trade. Stay tuned.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 1, 2019