NHL Rumor Mill – February 13, 2019
Latest on the Bruins, Rangers, Panthers, Jets and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
PASTRNAK INJURY WON’T CHANGE BRUINS’ TRADE PLANS
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Joe McDonald reports Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney’s trade plans won’t change with high-scoring winger David Pastrnak sidelined at least two weeks with an injured left thumb. Sweeney is believed seeking a second-line winger or a third-line center.
McDonald recently noted speculation linked the Bruins to Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin. Other options could include Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg, Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle, St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn, Ottawa Senators forwards Matt Duchene or Mark Stone, and Los Angeles Kings winger Carl Hagelin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panarin, Duchene or Stone would be a very expensive rental acquisition, as each could depart this summer via free agency. The Ducks are reportedly still trying to re-sign Silfverberg. With the Blues surging in the standings they might not be sellers anymore, taking Schenn off the market. The Wild could become sellers if they don’t soon snap out of their slump. Hagelin would be an affordable pickup but probably won’t address the Bruins’ need for scoring depth. Surprised to see Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds didn’t make McDonald’s list. Perhaps Sweeney isn’t as keen to acquire him as some in the Boston media.
LATEST ON THE PANTHERS
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing yesterday on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650, Elliotte Friedman was asked if the Florida Panthers might use Jonathan Huberdeau and/or Mike Hoffman in an effort to clear cap space to pursue Columbus Blue Jackets pending UFAs Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky this summer.
Friedman believes Hoffman’s available as someone is always looking for scoring. He’s got a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $5.5 million. He said he’s received mixed messages on Huberdeau, with some saying he’s not available and some saying the Panthers are at least considering it. Friedman believes it’ll take an unbelievable offer to pry Huberdeau away from the Panthers.
THE ATHLETIC: George Richards reports Huberdeau isn’t surprised to hear his name popping up in the rumor mill, especially after Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann were recently shipped to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He insists he wants to stay in Florida and is focused on helping the Panthers reach the playoffs. While the Panthers are listening to all offers, Richards said they’re reluctant to part with a core player like Huberdeau. If the Panthers become sellers, Richards expects pending UFAs such as Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, and Troy Brouwer could be shopped.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be a helluva gamble by Florida GM Dale Tallon to trade Huberdeau or Hoffman in a package deal for a pending UFA like Panarin if he doesn’t have assurances that player will re-sign with the Panthers.
UPDATE ON THE RANGERS
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers GM Jeff Gorton hasn’t engaged in contract extension talks with pending UFA forwards Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes, leading Brooks to conclude both will be moved by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He expects both could soon be pulled from the lineup to avoid a deal-wrecking injury.
Brooks notes the Winnipeg Jets could have interest in either player. Zuccarello’s improved play has given rise to speculation they could trade him at the deadline and bring him back via free agency this summer. Under league rules, however, Gorton is prevented from discussing that possibility with Zuccarello or his agent.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on Toronto’s TSN 1050, Darren Dreger also speculated the Jets could be interested in Zuccarello. Asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs might be looking at Rangers defenseman Adam McQuaid, Dreger said he couldn’t say that they wouldn’t consider it, noting McQuaid’s reputation as a character player. He also wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers trade McQuaid and attempted to bring him back as a free agent this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Zuccarello and Hayes are goners before the deadline. The Jets could be in on one of them. So could the Bruins, Calgary Flames or Nashville Predators.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM TSN’S LATEST “INSIDER TRADING” SEGMENT
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Winnipeg Jets could be okay with Bryan Little as their second-line center, adding their top priority is a top-six winger. He suggested Ottawa’s Mark Stone would be a good fit, though Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff doesn’t want to mortgage his club’s future. Pierre LeBrun also suggested the Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames could also target Stone if the Senators put him on the trade block.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators reportedly could seek a first-round pick, a top prospect and a player for Stone or Duchene if they hit the trade block. The Jets’ first-round pick is reportedly in play but Cheveldayoff could be reluctant to part with much more. The Golden Knights and Flames could also prefer paying a lower price.
LeBrun reports several clubs have called the Blue Jackets about Panarin and they continue to evaluate offers and possible scenarios. Given the Jackets remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, they’re considered buyers and sellers. He believes their best offer for Panarin has to outweigh the cost of replacing him. He noted the Jackets have interest in Senators center Matt Duchene.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, it can’t be Panarin for Duchene straight up. It has to be a return that helps the Jackets now and in the future. I would assume if they acquired a pending UFA like Duchene they’ll want to know they can re-sign him instead of losing him for nothing to free agency, even if they got a first-round pick and top prospect in the deal.
AVS INTERESTED IN BURAKOVSKY?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing yesterday on Toronto’s TSN 1050, Pierre LeBrun reported the Colorado Avalanche have “kicked tires” on Washington Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky. Noting Burakovsky’s fallen out of favor in Washington and been on the trade block for a bit now, LeBrun suggested he’d be a good addition because he’s also a restricted free agent. LeBrun said he didn’t know how far the Avs interest in Burakovsky has gotten.