NHL Rumor Mill – February 8, 2019
Latest on the Leafs, Hurricanes, and Ducks plus updates on Artemi Panarin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Tyson Barrie, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SUGGESTED DESTINATIONS FOR PANARIN
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Craig Custance suggested the Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, and New York Islanders as trade destinations for Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin. Custance acknowledged the asking price for a talented rental like Panarin would be expensive but worth the risk for those clubs.
Based on discussions with a league executive and a scout, Custance’s colleague Fluto Shinzawa speculates acquiring Panarin could cost the Bruins their first-round pick, either Ryan Donato or Urho Vaakainen and Trent Frederic.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes the Predators and Bruins checked on Panarin but had a bit of sticker shock regarding the Jackets’ asking price. As the trade deadline nears, he thinks that price could drop, especially if Ottawa’s Matt Duchene or Mark Stone hit the trade block.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Jackets move Panarin (and that still remains an “if” at this point), they’ll want a significant return even if Duchene or Stone end up on the trade market. I don’t see general manager Jarmo Kekalainen budging from a first-round pick and either two top prospects or a top prospect and a promising roster player.
The Leafs and Flames might prefer a more physical (and affordable) scoring forward like Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds or Carolina’s Micheal Ferland. The Isles could be interesting as they might have an eye on re-signing Panarin.
LATEST ON THE DUCKS
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger poured cold water on the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens (or another club) prying defenseman Cam Fowler away from the Anaheim Ducks. He said he was told Fowler “wasn’t available or highly unlikely” to be moved. While Ducks GM Bob Murray could have a move up his sleeve before the trade deadline, Dreger doesn’t expect he’ll consider moving a young defenseman.
Frank Seravalli recently updated the TSN trade-bait list by replacing the recently-traded Brian Boyle with Ducks center Adam Henrique, who sits 15th on the list. Henrique has recently come up in trade chatter. He signed a five-year contract extension last summer that kicks in this summer. The new contract also comes with a modified no-trade clause so the upcoming trade deadline will be one of the Ducks’ final opportunities to move Henrique without hindrance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Ducks in free-fall in the standings (dropping 18 of their last 20 games), Murray is expected to be a seller leading up to the deadline. Fowler has a modified no-trade with a four-team trade list so I doubt he’ll be going anywhere.
Some folks in the media noted Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was scouting the Ducks and assumed Fowler was his target. Maybe he’s looking instead at Henrique? The Canadiens have the cap space to absorb his $5.825-million cap hit on his new contract. Henrique, who can play center or wing, might be a good fit with the improving Habs.
LEAFS SCOUTING HURRICANES?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported a source saw Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Laurence Gilman taking in the Carolina Hurricanes-Buffalo Sabres game. He wondered if the Leafs are interested in one of the Hurricanes’ right-shot defenseman or left wing Micheal Ferland.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t rule anything out, I suppose. I still think the Leafs aren’t done dealing before the trade deadline. Remains to be seen if they’ll swing a deal with the Hurricanes.
COULD KOVALCHUK BE TRADED?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes Los Angeles Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk would be open to waiving his no-movement clause to go to a playoff contender for the right fit. He’s got two years remaining on his contract with a $6.25-million annual cap hit on a front-loaded deal, which could make him a tough sell to contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe if the Kings are willing to pick up part of that cap hit that might make Kovalchuk a little more attractive. He’s put up decent numbers (11 goals, 26 points in 44 games) on the low-scoring Kings.
LATEST ON HAYES
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger suggested New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes could be a player the Minnesota Wild or Winnipeg Jets should be looking at, considering him a good fit with either club. Hayes is slated to become a UFA this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wild keep sliding in the standings, they could go from buyers to sellers. The Jets, on the other hand, need a good second-line center and Hayes could fit the bill.
COULD THE AVALANCHE MOVE BARRIE?
THE DENVER POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Chambers said he believes there’s a “very good chance” the Colorado Avalanche trade defenseman Tyson Barrie at the Feb. 25 trade deadline. With promising right-shot defensemen Conor Timmins and Cale Makar coming on board soon, Chambers believes Barrie’s $5.5-million salary cap hit through next season makes him the odd man out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie surfaced in the rumor mill in the past but this time could be different. Chambers notes the Avs are very excited about Timmins and Makar. Wouldn’t surprise me if they at least gauge Barrie’s value in the trade market. They could also wait until the offseason to move him.