Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 10, 2019
Latest on the Senators, Bruins, Leafs, Kings, Predators, Jets, and Canadiens in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
DECISION DAY COMING FOR SENATORS
SPORTSNET (via Kukla’s Korner): Elliotte Friedman reports the Ottawa Senators have informed teams that they’ll reach a decision on retaining or trading Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, and Ryan Dzingel about 10 days before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. The trio is slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Chris Johnston noted talks between Duchene and Senators management have centered around the future of the franchise. He hasn’t been given a deadline to reach a decision. He also noted Duchene loves living and playing in Ottawa and he doesn’t rule out the possibility of Duchene returning as a free agent this summer if he’s traded at the deadline.
Nick Kypreos noted the Senators tabled an eight-year, $64-million offer to Duchene, suggesting many believe that will be the best cash offer he’ll get via free agency because he can only get seven years as a UFA from other clubs. He doubts Duchene will get over $9 million annually on a seven-year deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The trade market seems to be in a holding pattern as teams wait to see what happens with Duchene and Stone. Their fates will determine what happens to other notable players being bandied about as potential trade candidates. We should know for certain by Feb. 15.
BRUINS TRADE OPTIONS
BOSTON GLOBE: With the trade deadline approaching, Matt Porter recently examined some possible trade options for the Boston Bruins. Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin is the big prize in the trade market, with the asking price believed to be a first-round draft pick, a top prospects, and a player. It’s a high price to pay for a player who could depart via free agency but Porter claims the Bruins are among the interested parties.
Porter speculates the Bruins could add a physical winger like Carolina’s Micheal Ferland or Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, who will be considerably more affordable than Panarin. New York Rangers (and Massachusetts natives) Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey, or Chris Kreider could be available. With the New Jersey Devils in sell mode, winger Kyle Palmieri would make sense as he lives in Boston in the offseason and has two more years remaining on his contract.
Porter also suggested Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle, Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg or Rickard Rakell, or Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli, Carl Hagelin or Ilya Kovalchuk as possible trade targets.
Kevin Paul Dupont suggested Detroit Red Wings forwards Gustav Nyquist or Thomas Vanek as possible second-line options for the Bruins. He noted Vanek was on their radar last season before they acquired Rick Nash.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Bruins GM Don Sweeney will acquire a scoring forward by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Panarin would be the best option but he’d also cost probably far more than Sweeney is willing to pay. Ferland, Simmonds, Hayes, Silfverberg, Kovalchuk or Nyquist would be more affordable options.
Toffoli has surfaced in the rumor mill but I’m not sure the Kings are ready to part with him just yet unless they get a terrific offer. Vanek has a tendency to disappear for long stretches so I don’t think he’s a worthwhile target. I don’t believe Rakell, Coyle, Kreider, Palmieri or Vesey are available, though there’s no harm in at least making inquiries.
UPDATE ON THE LEAFS
Elliotte Friedman reports the Leafs have been linked to Carolina Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland, who the Hurricanes might keep. He said the Leafs are pursuing a similar player but, for a rental player, they’re not parting with top prospects Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren or a first-round pick.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons noted the Buffalo Sabres need lots of help on their blueline. He wondered if they might be interested in defenseman Nikita Zaitsev if the Leafs offered to pick up part of his salary-cap hit. He also speculated the Leafs might be able to pry Wayne Simmonds away from the Philadelphia Flyers for a second- or third-round pick or a draft pick and Connor Brown.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think the Sabres are desperate enough to consider Zaitsev an improvement even if the Leafs picked up half of his $4.5-million annual cap hit. A second-round pick and Brown? Swap Brown for Johnsson and the Flyers might do it.
LATEST ON THE KINGS
Nick Kypreos reports Ilya Kovalchuk hasn’t scored at the rate the Los Angeles Kings had hope for this season. Nevertheless, there may be some interest in Kovalchuk near the trade deadline as his performance might improve on a better team. Kypreos noted the Boston Bruins were runner-up for Kovalchuk’s services before he signed with Los Angeles. If the Kings trade him, however, the Kings will have to retain up to 25 percent of his salary. He has a no-move clause and hasn’t been asked to waive it but Kypreos feels that shouldn’t be a problem if he wants to win a Stanley Cup.
NBC SPORTS: After the Kings recently made veteran defenseman Dion Phaneuf a healthy scratch, Adam Gretz wondered about the blueliner’s future with the club. The 33-year-old blueliner is a fading asset carrying an annual salary-cap hit of $7 million through 2020-21, making him nearly impossible to move via trade. A buyout would cost them $2.9 million next season, $5.4 million in 2020-21, followed by two seasons of $1.4 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings are carrying $5.25 million annually of Phaneuf’s contract as the Ottawa Senators are carrying $1.75 million per season.
JETS AND PREDATORS
Nick Kypreos noted rumors linking the Nashville Predators to Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin and the Winnipeg Jets to Ottawa’s Mark Stone. Their first-round picks are said to be in play but, if the Predators or Jets want to land Grade A talent, a top prospect such as the Predator’s Eeli Tolvanen or Winnipeg’s Sami Niku will also have to be included.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a growing sense the Predators and Jets are “all-in” this season. Giving up a first and a top prospect for a notable playoff rental is an expensive gamble, one that could prove painful if the rental player turns into a bust. It’ll be interesting to see who they target and how much they’re willing to give up.
COULD CANADIENS MOVE HUDON?
Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens made Charles Hudon a healthy scratch before Saturday’s game against the Leafs. He believes they’re trying to find a way to get recently acquired forward Dale Weise into the lineup and suggested Hudon could be moved for a mid-round draft pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hudon’s struggled to crack the Canadiens’ roster on a full-time basis this season and might benefit playing elsewhere. The Habs already have two picks in the fourth round of this year’s draft (as well as next year’s) and two in the fifth round. Having traded their 2019 fifth-rounder to Vegas in 2017 for David Schlemko, maybe GM Marc Bergevin wants to replace that pick.