NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2019
The latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Pittsburgh Penguins better-than-expected start without sidelined centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad has taken some pressure off general manager Jim Rutherford. Nevertheless, he’s still carrying nine defensemen and sources say he’s still trying to move one of them.
LeBrun suggests the Winnipeg Jets could be an option, though they’re still waiting for Dustin Byfuglien to reach a decision on his future. He wondered if Erik Gudbranson might be a fit with the Anaheim Ducks.
Despite losing Niklas Hjalmarsson to injury, the Arizona Coyotes appear intent to address his absence from within. There’s no indication the struggling New Jersey Devils are seeking help but they could if they don’t snap out of their early-season funk.
LeBrun also said there’s competition in the trade market. The Dallas Stars are still shopping Julius Honka, plus the Buffalo Sabres could have moves to make once their blueline is fully healthy.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports a source claims the Penguins kicked tires on Joshua Ho-Sang. The New York Islanders winger cleared waivers two weeks ago and has requested a trade. Kingerski said his source claims the discussion was initial contact.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets really can’t make a move without Byfuglien’s decision. Their $6.6 million in cap space will evaporate if he decides to return. They’ll have to do a dollar-in, dollar-out deal at this point. The Ducks are seeking a right-shot defenseman but they might prefer a more affordable option that Gudbranson and his $4 million cap hit through 2020-21.
The Coyotes and Devils could be worth monitoring if they haven’t suitably addressed their respective issues soon. Losing Hjalmarsson is a big blow to their blueline but they also need to boost their anemic offense.
Rookie winger Sam Lafferty is playing well thus far for the Penguins. If he keeps this up they’ll have no need for Ho-Sang unless it’s to move out one of those defensemen.