NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2019
The Senators and Rangers trade watches continue plus updates on Artemi Panarin, Ilya Kovalchuk and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SENATORS AND RANGERS TRADE WATCH
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) February 23, 2019
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators forwards Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel were scratched from last night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets as they await their fates. He believes Dzingel has one foot out the door after spurning a five-year contract offer worth in excess of $20 million, but there’s a chance (albeit slim) that Stone could re-sign before Monday’s trade deadline.
Garrioch thinks 17 or 18 clubs, including the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, may have expressed interest in Stone. The asking price is said to be higher than what the Senators received for Matt Duchene (two prospects, a first-round pick and a conditional first) from the Blue Jackets. The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins could be sniffing around on Dzingel, with the Sens seeking a first-round pick or a high-end prospect in return.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes the Jets, Predators, Flames, and New York Islanders could be among the suitors for Stone. He also brought up the Colorado Avalanche but isn’t sure where they are regarding a rental player. McKenzie also suggests what could be complicating things is teams could prefer acquiring Stone if they feel they can sign him rather than getting him as a rental for the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Duchene trade was the first major domino to drop in the market. I think interest in Stone will only increase and I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Dzingel are traded before Monday’s 3 pm ET deadline. Could be a bidding war going on that stretches this out for a bit. We’ll find out soon enough. The Jets and Predators are thought to be the front-runners.
TSN: In the wake of yesterday’s Duchene trade, Darren Dreger reported teams will starting dialing in on New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes. He adds a few teams are interested in acquiring Hayes and teammate Mats Zuccarello. If Zuccarello is moved separately, the asking price could be high draft picks or a high pick and a prospect.
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports some of the teams believed interested in Mark Stone are also thought to have interest in Hayes. If Stone moves soon, Hayes might not be far behind.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Where Hayes and/or Zuccarello end up before the trade deadline remains tied to what the Senators do with Stone and Dzingel. The Duchene trade, however, may have already ramped up more interest in Hayes among clubs in need of skilled depth at center.
JACKETS KEEPING PANARIN?
TSN’S Pierre LeBrun reports that, unless another team steps up, the Columbus Blue Jackets are content to retain pending free agent left wing Artemi Panarin for the remainder of the season in hopes of staging a Stanley Cup run this spring.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Brian Hedger reports Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen intends to keep an eye on the trade market but indicates he’s not moving Panarin just for draft picks. It would take an offer he can’t refuse, one that helps the Jackets now and in the future, to convince him to part with the talented winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bang goes my theory of the Jackets shipping Panarin to another club (like the Florida Panthers) and flipping part of the return to the Senators for Duchene. Looks like Kekalainen has decided to bolster his roster for one last run with Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky before the two depart via free agency in July.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Helene Elliott reports Kings management spoke with winger Ilya Kovalchuk about his future, with one option being a trade before the Monday deadline. It’s unclear if Kovalchuk will agree to waive his no-movement clause if another team expresses interest in acquiring him. Elliott speculates the Kings might have to absorb part of the winger’s $6.25-million annual salary-cap hit to make it work.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the right team, Kovalchuk might be tempted to waive his clause. Lots of recent speculation suggesting perhaps a reunion with New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello but we don’t know if the always-secretive Lamoriello is receptive to that notion.
NBC SPORTS: While Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney has hinted he might be done dealing before the deadline, Joe Haggerty believes they still need a top-six winger. He doubts Sweeney would pursue an expensive option like Mark Stone or Artemi Panarin, suggesting Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, Carolina’s Micheal Ferland, Detroit’s Thomas Vanek, or the Rangers’ Kevin Hayes as affordable options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmonds and Hayes and perhaps Mats Zuccarello would be the best choices here. With the Hurricanes jockeying for a wild-card spot, I don’t think they’ll move Ferland now.
Vanek’s inconsistency in the playoffs makes him the least palatable of Haggerty’s suggestions. Indeed, The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan reports there’s no interest in Vanek. Maybe the Wings’ Gustav Nyquist could be in play.
The market for Simmonds, Hayes, and Zuccarello could grow more expensive depending on when the Senators move Stone. Panarin, of course, doesn’t appear to be going anywhere now.
EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers don’t want to trade winger Alex Chiasson because they lack secondary scoring depth and he’s cheap ($650K). His agent has had discussions with management but no contract talks. The Oilers are shopping winger Tobias Rieder and defenseman Alex Petrovic but Matheson believes their current play ensures they won’t get much in return. If the Oilers are in the market for a rental player, he feels Ottawa’s Ryan Dzingel would be ideal.
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan reports New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson and defenseman Ben Lovejoy are expected to be scratched from tonight’s game against the New York Rangers. Both are pending UFAs who are expected to be moved before the trade deadline.
**UPDATE: The Devils this morning traded Lovejoy to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Connor Carrick and a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.