NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2019
The latest on Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Artemi Panarin, Eric Staal, and Cam Talbot, plus updates on the Kings and Islanders in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON DUCHENE AND STONE
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Ottawa Senators will test the trade market on forwards Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, Ryan Dzingel and defenseman Cody Ceci while reserving the right to keep any of their pending free agents (Duchene, Stone, Dzingel) they could re-sign.
THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun speculates Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen could be keeping a close eye on what the Senators do with Duchene and Stone. Not only does LeBrun believe Kekalainen could be interested in Duchene as a possible replacement for Artemi Panarin but also because the pair will impact the market for Panarin. He also noted the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames could pursue Stone if he hits the trade block and thinks Duchene would be a good fit with the Nashville Predators if they can’t get Panarin.
BSN DENVER’s AJ Haefele reports hearing the Colorado Avalanche have had talks with the Senators regarding Stone. Given Avs GM Joe Sakic’s reluctance to part with some of his young core assets, Haefele would be surprised if the Avalanche seriously pursue Stone over the next couple of weeks. However, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Avs attempting to sign Stone via this summer’s free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the expectation has the Senators reaching a decision on re-signing or trading Duchene and Stone by Feb. 15 in order to give them sufficient time to gauge the trade market for either guy leading up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Senators GM Pierre Dorion is talking to clubs with interest in both guys while continuing to engage in contract discussions with those two. Hopefully, we’ll have more clarity on their respective situations by the weekend.
UPDATE ON THE KINGS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders if the Los Angeles Kings might make a play for Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. They’re not interested in a long rebuild and southern California is supposedly high on his list of potential destinations. While they could wait until this summer, landing him now would give them the opportunity to re-sign him to an eight-year contract. The Kings have two first-round picks and they’ve set a high price for Tyler Toffoli, which might make an interesting package for Panarin. Speaking of the Kings, Friedman also claims to hear Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas inquired about Kyle Clifford during their trade discussions regarding Jake Muzzin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with the recent speculation linking Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau to a Panarin trade, giving up quality assets for a player who could bolt via free agency in July would be a costly gamble that could go badly wrong. The Kings and Panthers aren’t playoff contenders seeking the missing piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle, they’re also-rans who risk worsening their situations.
If either club is keen on pursuing Panarin and he’s still insisting on testing the free-agent market, they should wait until this summer and try to sign him. In that scenario, they’re giving up dollars without sacrificing future roster depth.
LATEST ISLANDERS SPECULATION
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Recently appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger wondered what the New York Islanders might have in store leading up to the trade deadline. While he doesn’t expect GM Lou Lamoriello to part with top prospects to go big-game hunting, he expects he’ll probably do something prior to the deadline to perhaps bolster his scoring punch. He wondered if Lamoriello might have interest in LA Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who Lamoriello signed in 2010 when he was GM of the New Jersey Devils.
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Arthur Staple also weighed in on possible trade targets for the Islanders. The asking prices for Ottawa’s Matt Duchene and Matt Stone and Columbus’ Artemi Panarin would be expensive. More realistic and affordable options could be New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello, Detroit Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist (if he’ll waive his no-trade clause) and perhaps Florida’s Derick Brassard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello is the most secretive GM in the league. He could surprise us by swinging a blockbuster deal before the deadline, opt instead for an affordable rental player or perhaps he’ll stand pat. I think the latter is unlikely and I don’t see him going after the big fish in the trade pool. I’m guessing he’ll go the bargain rental route, finish evaluating his roster over the remainder of the season, and perhaps consider bigger moves this summer.
UPDATE ON ERIC STAAL
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun wonders what might happen with center Eric Staal if the Minnesota Wild fall out of the playoff chase leading up to deadline day. The 34-year-old has a 10-team no-trade list and didn’t have a good experience the last time he was traded as a playoff rental in 2016. If the Winnipeg Jets strike out with Matt Duchene or Matt Stone, LeBrun thinks they could have interest in Staal but he believes they’re also on his no-trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are considered a Stanley Cup contender this season so maybe Staal would consider them if they came calling. As long as the Wild cling to a playoff spot, they could retain Staal for the remainder of the season.
OILERS SHOWCASING TALBOT?
SPORTSNET: Noting the Edmonton Oilers recently gave goaltender Cam Talbot three straight starts, Elliotte Friedman said it made it appear he was being showcased to clear salary-cap space to make room for returning defenseman Andrej Sekera. He also mentions Talbot perhaps going to the Philadelphia Flyers, who have a cheaper goalie like Brian Elliott. He adds Talbot and Flyers rookie netminder Carter Hart have a history together.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, swap Talbot for Elliott and maybe he can mentor his young friend Hart. Given how wild and wacky the Flyers’ goalie situation was before the arrival of Hart, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing they’ve done. It might even work out. Of course, this is all just speculation. We don’t know what Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher has in store for his resurgent club leading up to the deadline.