NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2019
Updates on Matt Duchene and Charlie Coyle plus the latest on the Blackhawks, Canucks, and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SENATORS SHOPPING DUCHENE
TSN: Barring a last-minute change, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Ottawa Senators are planning to trade center Matt Duchene. Pierre Lebrun adds this news isn’t surprising and notes the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets are among the clubs to inquire into Duchene’s trade status. Dreger also reports the Senators will soon make a decision about Mark Stone’s future with the club. Both are pending free agents this summer.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports it’s believed at least five teams have expressed interest in Duchene. It’s expected Senators general manager Pierre Dorion will step up efforts to move Duchene, Stone, and Ryan Dzingel if he can’t get them to agree to new contracts before the trade deadline. Garrioch adds the Winnipeg Jets are interested in the Senators’ trio.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets’ interest in Duchene could also be tied to the possibility of trading away winger Artemi Panarin before the deadline. Like the three Senators forwards, he is also slated to become a UFA in July.
If the Jackets shop Panarin, it’s believed they want to get a player back as part of the return who can help them right away. If that kind of deal isn’t out there but they still wish to move him, perhaps they can swing a separate deal to offset his absence with Duchene? Should be interesting to see how this shakes out.
WILL THE SABRES PURSUE COYLE?
THE BUFFALO NEWS: With the Sabres in need of depth at center, Mike Harrington suggests they pursue Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle. He’s under contract through next season with an affordable $3.2-million cap hit.
While the loss of Wild captain Mikko Koivu seemingly puts a stop on trading Coyle, Harrington suggests he could be had at a cost of one of the Sabres’ first-round draft picks. He notes Wild GM Paul Fenton was given permission by team owner Craig Leipold to shake things up if necessary. The struggling Wild are clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Harrington isn’t saying the Sabres are pursuing Coyle but it’s not a bad suggestion. The Wild seem poised to tumble out of playoff contention, providing first-year GM Fenton an excuse to start retooling his roster for next season. I daresay Coyle will frequently surface in the rumor mill as the trade deadline approaches.
At this stage, the Sabres’ three first-rounders (their own plus those they received from the Sharks and the Blues) won’t be top-10 selections. They can afford to part with one of them for a good player to bolster their lineup beyond this season.
LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS, CANUCKS, AND CANADIENS
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Jimmy Greenfield reports it’s uncertain whether the Blackhawks will be sellers after rising into playoff contention. He believes there are seven players – goaltender Cam Ward, defensemen Gustav Forsling, Slater Koekkoek, and Carl Dahlstrom, centers Marcus Kruger and John Hayden, and forward Brandon Perlini – who could be moved without giving the impression they’re giving up on the playoff race.
VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports Canucks GM Jim Benning acknowledged he’d like to have another goal scorer but finding one is easier said than done. “I’m not necessarily looking at rentals. If we’re going to do trades, it’s going to be players who can be pieces of the puzzle moving forward,” he said.
With trading deadline coming in a little more that a week, I’m told that chances are high that nothing much will happen with the @CanadiensMTL
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) February 17, 2019