NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2019
The latest on the Penguins, Predators, and Blackhawks plus updates on Artemi Panarin, Joe Pavelski, Tyler Myers, Jesse Puljujarvi and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
ANOTHER TRADE COMING FOR THE PENGUINS?
TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie believes trading Phil Kessel remains the most logical off-season move for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He points out Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has a reputation for creative trades. “Navigating Kessel’s limited no-trade clause and getting a respectable return might be his most creative brushstroke yet,” writes Bombulie.
POST-GAZETTE.COM: Jason Mackey also believes Rutherford isn’t done dealing but feels a lesser move could be in the cards. Moving defenseman Jack Johnson’s contract ($3.25-million annual average value) would provide some cap relief but that seems unlikely. Forwards Bryan Rust or Nick Bjugstad could be used as sweeteners in potential moves. Goaltender Tristan Jarry could also become a trade candidate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Finding a suitable trade destination for Kessel won’t be easy. He used his no-trade clause to spike a deal with the Minnesota Wild. The remaining four years on Johnson’s contract is a deal breaker for most clubs. Rust’s name surfaced over the weekend as a possible trade option.
POTENTIAL PREDATORS UFA TARGETS
THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina looks at several forwards the Nashville Predators could target in the upcoming NHL free-agent period. They include Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene, Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin, San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski, New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee, and Sharks forward Gustav Nyquist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After shipping defenseman P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, the Predators freed up $9 million in salary-cap space. It’s believed GM David Poile wants to bolster his scoring punch up front and is said to be interested in Duchene.
AVALANCHE INTERESTED IN PANARIN
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reported the Colorado Avalanche could meet with Artemi Panarin’s agent this week. The club officially won’t confirm or deny this but Dater said the Avs met with the winger’s agent on Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. The Avs want to add a top-six scorer and would be willing to drop Gabriel Landeskog to the second line if they can sign Panarin. However, they’ll have competition for his services. He and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky are in Florida and expected to meet with Panthers GM Dale Tallon this week. The New York Rangers are also expected to make a pitch for Panarin.
COYOTES EYEING PAVELSKI
THE ATHLETIC: Craig Morgan reports a league source said the Arizona Coyotes met with agent Dan Plante, who represents Sharks captain Joe Pavelski. Morgan said it’s unclear how serious Pavelski’s interest in the Coyotes could be. It’s believed his first choice is re-signing with the Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Sharks will re-sign Pavelski. Still, there’s no harm in the Coyotes inquiring about him.
LATEST PULJUJARVI TRADE SPECULATION
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports there are several Eastern Conference teams with “considerable interest” in Jesse Puljujarvi. The 21-year-old right wing has asked the Oilers to trade him in hopes of getting his NHL career back on track. Leavins believes the Puljujarvi camp would prefer a quieter NHL market. He lists Carolina, Florida, or perhaps Pittsburgh as potential destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi could benefit playing in a less hockey-mad environment. He could also potentially thrive playing for a club like the Penguins where he wouldn’t be the focus of so much media and fan attention. We don’t know what GM Ken Holland’s asking price will be, let along if those clubs mentioned by Leavins have any serious interest in Puljujarvi.
UPDATE ON THE BLACKHAWKS
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Jimmy Greenfield believes more trades are coming for the Blackhawks. Earlier this month, they shipped forward Dominik Kahun to Pittsburgh for defenseman Olli Maatta. He also expects the Hawks could pursue second-tier UFA forwards like Brett Connolly, Mats Zuccarello, and Micheal Ferland.
FLYERS SEEK A BACKUP GOALTENDER
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Sam Carchidi reports current Flyers goalies Cam Talbot and Brian Elliott are among the potential candidates to back up Carter Hart next season. However, they’re also exploring other options. GM Chuck Fletcher could pursue Carolina’s Curtis McElhinney via free agency or explore the trade market.
I have been told the #Canucks will meet with D Tyler Myers tomorrow in Vancouver when the UFA window opens.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) June 22, 2019