NHL Rumor Mill – September 18, 2019
The latest on Patrik Laine, Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn, and Tristan Jarry in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LAINE LATEST REMARKS COULD STOKE TRADE SPECULATION
TSN: Darren Dreger downplayed comments by Patrik Laine to a Finnish reporter in which he appeared to complain about not getting playing time on the Winnipeg Jets’ top line. He doesn’t think there’s much to read into the comments, adding it’s taking his remarks out of context to suggest they’re a slight against linemates Bryan Little and Nikolaj Ehlers.
Dreger thinks Laine could return to the top line if he adds a little more power to his game. The young winger is currently mired in a contract impasse with the Jets and is now practicing with Swiss club SC Bern.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre wonders if Laine’s remarks might make his lukewarm relationship with the Jets more complicated. “Words were said. Feelings were likely hurt. And you wonder just how many episodes of this soap opera are left before what is starting to seem like an inevitable breakup occurs,” said McIntyre.
McIntyre cited Jets coach Paul Maurice defending his decision to deploy Laine on the second line last season. Captain Blake Wheeler also praised Laine’s skills. While not taking Laine to task for his comments, he noted the 21-year-old winger is still growing on and off the ice. Center Adam Lowry thinks the remarks were tied to the ongoing contract negotiations and could blow over once the winger is re-signed.
McIntyre notes he’s long maintained trading Laine would be a big mistake. He’s hopeful the winger and Jets management can quickly get on the same page to avoid another “Jacob Trouba “get me out of here” situation on their hands” in four years when Laine is eligible for unrestricted free agent status.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine’s recent remarks follows those he made to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston last month when he indicated he was prepared for anything. He claimed contract talks at that point with the Jets were non-existent and expressed uncertainty over his future with the club.
Laine’s latest comments will only stoke the internet trade speculation that flared up following his August comments. The longer his contract standoff drags on, the more likely he’ll become a trade-rumor fixture.
BLUES HOPE TO RE-SIGN PIETRANGELO AND SCHENN
NHL.COM: Louie Korac recently reported St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong remains hopeful of re-signing defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and center Brayden Schenn. Slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. the pair were instrumental in the Blues’ Stanley Cup run last season.
Armstrong said contract talks would be ongoing. Both players are pleased to hear the organization hopes to retain them. They also said they’re focused on the upcoming season and won’t let their contract statuses become a distraction.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This report isn’t a trade or a free-agent rumor but it’ll be worthwhile keeping an eye on Pietrangelo and Schenn during this season. If contract negotiations stall for one or both, or if the Blues struggle to shake off the dreaded “Stanley Cup hangover,” perhaps their names will surface in the rumor mill. Both popped up as trade candidates during the Blues’ awful first half of last season.
Salary-cap space will also be a factor. As per Cap Friendly, the Blues have over $59 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21. New contracts for Pietrangelo and Schenn could push that payroll to over $72 million.
PENGUINS SHOPPED JARRY THIS SUMMER
TRIBLIVE.COM: Seth Rorabaugh recently reported the Pittsburgh Penguins are believed to have shopped goaltender Tristan Jarry this summer but couldn’t find a satisfactory return. He speculates Penguins GM Jim Rutherford could consider trading Jarry rather than risk losing him for nothing through waivers.