NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2019
Latest on the Penguins, Panthers, and Devils, plus updates on Shayne Gostisbehere, Duncan Keith, and Alexander Edler in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE PENGUINS AND PANTHERS?
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Wells Dusenbury reports Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon explained the rationale for trading Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann to the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday for pending free agents Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, and three draft picks. “This move allows our team to remain competitive this season while providing additional flexibility and permitting us to be aggressive in the free agent market this summer,” said Tallon. Dusenbury speculates the Panthers could pursue Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency in July.
Custance speculates the Panthers could flip Brassard to another club before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He won’t fetch a first-round pick but a source suggested Brassard could land maybe two second-round picks or a second and another pick. In addition to pursuing a goalie and a forward this summer, Custance said the Panthers would also like a defenseman to play alongside Mike Matheson.
Richards also thinks the Panthers could move Brassard and Sheahan before the deadline and suggested they could be of interest to the Blue Jackets. Tallon said performance would determine what they do.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford might not be finished dealing. Though he now has limited salary-cap space, Mackey notes Rutherford usually finds a way to get things done. The Pens GM wasn’t happy with his club’s performance this season, noting a lack of focus and intensity cost them several games. Acquiring Bjugstad and McCann now provides Rutherford time to evaluate his roster to determine if further moves are necessary.
THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe also doesn’t rule out Rutherford making another move before the deadline if this recent deal doesn’t improve the Penguins’ performance. The Penguins GM told Yohe he isn’t likely to move his first-round pick in this year’s draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yesterday’s deal with the Panthers marks Rutherford’s sixth trade of this season so yeah, he could make another move before the deadline if Friday’s trade fails to improve his club’s performance.
As for the Panthers, I think Tallon’s waved the white flag on this season. Sitting 11 points out of contention, their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread now.
Assuming Brassard and Sheahan aren’t re-signed, the Panthers have over $58 million invested in 14 players with all their core players signed through next season. If the cap reaches $83 million as projected, they’ll have around $25 million to play with this summer, perhaps more if they can find a taker for backup goalie James Reimer. They can afford to hand out big contracts to guys like Panarin and/or Bobrovsky come July 1.
COULD THE FLYERS MOVE THE GHOST BEAR?
CSNPHILLY: John Boruk recently included defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere on his list of five Philadelphia Flyers who could be moved before the trade deadline. Boruk doubts the 25-year-old rearguard will be playing elsewhere by Feb. 25 but noted his name surfaced in recent media speculation. If Gostisbehere becomes available, Boruk suggested the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks as possible destinations.
Boruk’s colleague Jordan Hall noted the trade buzz surrounding Gostisbehere along with his struggles this season. However, he feels it’s important for the Flyers to remain focused on his abilities and affordable contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher recently indicated Claude Giroux was his only untouchable, sparking speculation someone like Gostisbehere might be had for the right price. While Fletcher could be attempting to determine the market value of his best players I doubt he intends to move the Ghost Bear unless he gets a mind-blowing offer.
BLACKHAWKS HAVEN’T ASKED KEITH TO WAIVE NO-MOVEMENT CLAUSE…YET.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Jason Lieser reports Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said he hasn’t been approached by management about waiving his no-movement clause. Lieser noted Keith, the subject of recent media trade chatter, didn’t definitively say he wasn’t open to being traded. “I haven’t really thought too much about anything. You get reports out there, I don’t know where that stuff kind of comes from. I just take one day at a time.”
THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus believes the Blackhawks have little choice but to ask Keith if he’ll accept a trade, noting he’s one of their few tradeable assets and would fetch more in terms of draft picks and prospects. Keith, however, declined to get into speculation about going to a contender, adding he likes it in Chicago and hasn’t thought about a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Keith doesn’t want to be traded there’s nothing the Blackhawks can do about it. Yes, they could threaten to bench him or cut his playing time but we all know that won’t happen. Assuming Keith would be open to a trade, there’s a chance his preferred destinations could find him too expensive to acquire in terms of his contract (over $5.5 million annual average value through 2022-23) or the Hawks asking price.
UPDATE ON THE CANUCKS
TSN: reports Benning said he remains hopeful of re-signing pending UFA defenseman Alexander Edler to a new contract. He praised Edler’s leadership and his blueline skills, noting the 32-year-old wishes to remain in Vancouver. “I think he’s made it clear to us that he wants to stay in Vancouver, so we’re going to continue to talk to them and see if we can figure something out.”
Benning also addressed the notion of trading Edler and bringing him back this summer via free agency. “We’ve talked about it, but I don’t know if it’s something that’s real,” he said.
SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre recently reported Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning doesn’t intend to move his picks in this year’s draft for a quick fix to improve their playoff chances.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There seems a mutual willingness toward getting a deal done here but, as always, it comes down to money. Benning and company are likely leery about investing too much for too long in a player turning 33 in April.
LATEST ON THE DEVILS
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco listed Ben Lovejoy, Brian Boyle, Keith Kinkaid, Pavel Zacha, and Marcus Johansson as hypothetical trade candidates for the New Jersey Devils. All are unrestricted free agents this summer except Zacha, who’s a restricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boyle and Zacha could have the most trade value for the Devils. Johansson has a five-team no-trade list but his injury history could hurt his value.