NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – February 22, 2019
Latest on Matt Duchene, Chris Kreider, and Nick Jensen plus updates on the Oilers in Part Two of today’s NHL rumor mill.
PREDATORS OUT, CANADIENS IN ON DUCHENE?
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Nashville Predators’ interest in Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene may have cooled, citing a well-connected source claiming the Predators were starting to look elsewhere. However, he doesn’t rule out the possibility that their interest in the Sens center could be resuscitated. Friedman also believes the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders could be among the suitors and speculates the Montreal Canadiens could have interest if they can re-sign the pending free agent.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie said he’s getting mixed signals on the Canadiens’ rumored interest in Duchene. Some sources tell him the Habs are 100 percent in on Duchene while others are dismissing the notion.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators general manager David Poile doesn’t have to pursue a big ticket like Duchene if he doesn’t want to. Sure, he’d like to bolster his roster and improve his club’s chances of winning the Stanley Cup this season, but he’s not desperate. If Duchene is too expensive, he could look at more affordable options like the New York Rangers’ Kevin Hayes or Mats Zuccarello or Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds.
As for the Canadiens’ supposed interest in Duchene, perhaps GM Marc Bergevin kicked the tires. However, the Senators’ asking price is said to be a first-round pick, a high-end prospect, and a good young player. That might mean parting with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and either Nick Suzuki or Ryan Poehling.
Bergevin’s said he’s not parting with his first-round pick or young players for rentals. Unless he can re-sign Duchene, I don’t think he makes this move. Even if he can sign Duchene, that asking price is probably still too high.
In his column for The Athletic, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun speculates Bergevin could be more interested in “a Joel Armia-esque opportunity to add a player in exchange for renting out his cap space.” That seems more likely than acquiring Duchene.
**UPDATE** The Senators trade Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Follow this link for details and analysis
HIGH ASKING PRICE FOR KREIDER
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Toronto Maple Leafs have been in contact with the New York Rangers. He thinks Chris Kreider would be a great fit with the Leafs. Friedman said he knows teams have been asking about winger Chris Kreider but the Blueshirts have set a high asking price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chris Kreider would be a great fit on any team. The Rangers, however, won’t move him unless someone is willing to overpay. My guess is the Rangers would want Kasperi Kapanen as part of the return.
UPDATES ON THE OILERS AND RED WINGS
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Darren Dreger believes the Edmonton Oilers could get a second-round draft pick, a pretty decent prospect or maybe both if they decide to shop pending UFA winger Alex Chiasson. However, he doesn’t believe the Oilers have written off the idea of re-signing Chiasson. Dreger also thinks there’s a market for Zack Kassian, citing his speed and grit. He feels Kassian could be a highly motivated playoff performer.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen is garnering attention in the trade market. The Wings want to re-sign him but could move him for a second- or third-round pick if he’s not under contract before Monday’s trade deadline.
**UPDATE** The Red Wings trade Jensen to the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Madison Bowey and a second-round pick in 2020.