NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2019
Could the Kings move Jonathan Quick, Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter or Ilya Kovalchuk this summer? Why didn’t the Coyotes make a big move at the deadline? Why didn’t the Capitals trade Andre Burakovsky? The answers in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL THE KINGS MOVE MORE VETERANS THIS SUMMER?
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Lisa Dillman was asked where Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick might end up and the Kings’ potential asking price. She suggests the Florida Panthers could come calling if they fail to land Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky via this summer’s free-agent market. The Kings could set a high asking price but the 33-year-old Quick is coming off a sub-par season and has a long injury history.
While the Kings don’t have many trade chips remaining on their roster, Dillman considers Quick and defenseman Alec Martinez at the top of her list. She also believes the Kings are intent on retaining winger Tyler Toffoli in hopes he’ll have a bounce-back performance next season. She notes Jeff Carter has no interest in moving and he has some control over his future as his contract winds down. With a different coach and system, Dillman feels Ilya Kovalchuk could also improve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick, Toffoli, Carter, and Kovalchuk frequently surfaced in this season’s trade-rumor mill. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pop up again this summer.
Of the four, it seems Quick could be the most likely to move, though that’s not a certainty given the issues (age, performance, injuries) mentioned by Dillman. Still, if the Florida Panthers don’t land Bobrovsky, Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov or the New York Islanders’ Robin Lehner this summer, they could make inquiries into Quick’s availability. Other clubs could also look into Quick’s availability.
Sounds like Toffoli’s not going anywhere and Carter has no desire to leave Los Angeles. The Kings might be willing to entertain trade offers for Kovalchuk, provided he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause and they absorb a healthy chunk of his $6.25-million annual cap hit through 2020-21. Having traded away Jake Muzzin, I think the Kings could retain Martinez.
WHY DIDN’T THE COYOTES MAKE A BIG MOVE AT THE DEADLINE?
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Craig Morgan recently listed acquisition cost, budget, injuries, and the growth of role players for why the Arizona Coyotes didn’t make a significant addition at the recent NHL trade deadline. The Coyotes also got back sidelined forwards Christian Dvorak and Brad Richardson while defenseman Jason Demers and winger Michael Grabner will soon rejoin the lineup.
Morgan praised Coyotes general manager John Chayka for not pursuing a big-ticket rental like Mark Stone when there was no certainty of re-signing him. He believes Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet would’ve loved to add someone like Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau or Mike Hoffman but their tight budget and the Panthers’ asking price may have factored into why they didn’t do it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau and Hoffman were linked to the Coyotes prior to the trade deadline. I don’t believe the Panthers intend to move Huberdeau, but if they do they’ll set a high price for him. Hoffman could be a more affordable option, provided his 10-team no-trade list doesn’t include the Coyotes. With over $68 million invested in 15 players and all their core players except Nick Schmaltz under contract for 2019-20, any deal the Coyotes make this summer could be dollar-for-dollar.
UPDATE ON BURAKOVSKY
WASHINGTON POST: Isabelle Khurshudyan recently reported Andre Burakovsky’s improved offense over the past month explains why the Capitals didn’t move the winger at the trade deadline. However, his future in Washington remains uncertain.
He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and it’ll cost the Capitals $3.25 million to qualify his rights. If not, he would become an unrestricted free agent. She speculates the two sides could agree to a new contract in the week between the non-tender deadline and the start of free agency on July 1. Burakovsky insists he wants to remain with the Capitals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burakovsky’s future with the Capitals could depend upon his performance down the stretch and into the 2019 playoffs.