NHL Rumor Mill – September 25, 2019
Taylor Hall denies he’s close to a new contract with the Devils, the Canadiens could be shopping a forward, trade talks could heat up for the Penguins, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
HALL DENIES HE’S CLOSE TO A NEW CONTRACT
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco reports Taylor Hall disputed reports claiming he’s close to re-signing with the New Jersey Devils. While confirming his agent met over the weekend with Devils general manager Ray Shero, the winger claimed it was a preliminary meeting.
Hall, 28, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He described the meeting as a positive one. “That’s the thing, when a guy like (TSN reporter Darren) Dreger says stuff that a deal is imminent or it could be close, there wasn’t even numbers discussed. That’s when you have to just let things take shape and see where they go.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s what Dreger actually said:
“Well, Taylor Hall’s agent, Darren Ferris, met with Devils general manager Ray Shero over the weekend and it sounds like they’re making some traction here”…”Now, you have to keep in mind that is coming off a significant injury. He loved the way he was treated by the Devils organization – very professional from start to finish. He likes what Shero has done in the changes that he’s made to the lineup of the New Jersey Devils”…”So it’s one of those situations. It could happen sooner than later, which is saying a lot considering that he’s in the final year of his contract.”
In other words, Dreger merely speculated that there might be some progress. Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Devils and Hall are “underselling this a bit.” He said they’re trying “to make a serious run at an extension.”
CANADIENS SHOPPING A FORWARD?
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens are looking to move a forward. He points out promising youngsters Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans, and Ryan Poehling are pushing for roster spots. Friedman noted Jonathan Drouin played a team-low 11:57 in Monday’s 3-0 preseason loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and suggests this is something worth watching.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs assigned Evans to the Laval Rocket but Suzuki and Poehling could be on the Habs roster when the season opens next week.
While the thought of Drouin being shopped just two years after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning makes for interesting speculation, I doubt the Canadiens will move him. Le Journal de Montreal indicated Nick Cousins or Charles Hudon could be the odd man out.
Recent rumors indicate the Habs have interest in Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka. Perhaps Cousins or Hudon gets dangled for the young blueliner.
TRADE COMING FOR THE PENGUINS?
THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford suggested a trade is a possibility before the start of the season. The Penguins are over the $81.5 million salary cap by between $300-400K and must become cap compliant before the season opens next week.
During the summer, Rutherford admitted interest in trading goaltender Tristan Jarry but couldn’t find any takers at the time. He now believes the goalie market has heated up in recent days. Jarry and goalie Casey DeSmith are no longer waiver exempt, meaning they could be claimed by another club if the Penguins attempt to demote one of them.
Yohe also reports sources claim the Penguins are willing to deal “numerous players” for the right return. They include Jarry, defenseman Jack Johnson, and forwards Bryan Rust and Nick Bjugstad.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication what the “right return” would be for those players, though I daresay it would be an affordable young roster player. If push comes to shove, it could come down to Jarry or DeSmith.
Johnson’s declining performance and contract (four years remaining at $3.25 million annually) could be a tough sell. There’s been talk Rutherford is reluctant to part with Rust or Bjugstad.
LATEST ON THE DUCKS AND KINGS
Friedman said the Anaheim Ducks continue to look for a right-shot defenseman. They recently attempted to acquire Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes but that deal fell through. Faulk was shipped yesterday to the St. Louis Blues. He also said there’s nothing imminent on Tyler Toffoli. The Los Angeles Kings forward is slated to become a UFA next summer and could attract interest in the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have been linked to Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen. The Sabres’ asking price could be a scoring right-winger.
If Toffoli and the Kings failed to reach an agreement on a new contract, he could be shopped if the Kings are out of playoff contention by the Feb. 24, 2020 trade deadline.
There has been some heavy scouting on Puljujarvi. There should be significant interest in his services but it’s yet to be known which teams would have serious offers for his services.
— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) September 23, 2019