NHL Rumor Mill – November 18, 2019
Should the Leafs fire coach Mike Babcock or trade William Nylander to shake things up? Should the Rangers consider trading Lias Andersson? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FIRE BABCOCK OR TRADE NYLANDER?
TORONTO STAR: Rosie DiManno believes the Maple Leafs might be better-served trading William Nylander than replacing Mike Babcock as head coach. She feels the club hasn’t replaced the emotion Nazem Kadri brought to the lineup before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche this summer. While it appears Babcock has lost the room, she suggests it’s down to general manager Kyle Dubas for assembling the roster the coach has to work with. Dubas reverence for skill came at the expense of every other hockey dimension.
DiManno believes something must be done to kick-start the Leafs before it’s too late to save the season. If parting company with Babcock isn’t the answer, then they should make a trade to shake up the team. She suggests it’s down to trading William Nylander or a prospect package that includes Rasmus Sandin “and, seriously, you don’t want to be doing that.” DiManno acknowledged Dubas’ promise not to trade Nylander but says handshake promises don’t mean squat in pro sports.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Babcock has lost the room, replacing him seems the best option. The danger, however, is it could give the players (especially their young stars) the feeling they’re blameless for the club’s on-ice woes. If the front office stands by Babcock, a shake-up trade is the only option.
Dubas promised Nylander he wouldn’t be traded. If he breaks his word, the players could end up distrusting him. Still, if someone offers up a deal that could address the Leafs’ defensive weaknesses, it would be worth serious consideration.
SHOULD THE RANGERS SWAP ANDERSSON FOR PULJUJARVI?
NEW YORK POST: Before the Rangers assigned Lias Andersson to their AHL affiliate, Larry Brooks noted the once-promising young center was mired on their fourth line. He suggested a trade might be necessary to address the situation. Pointing out the Rangers had some interest in Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, Brooks felt sending Andersson the other way would seem logical.
While there’s been talk of a Jesse Puljujarvi-Lias Andersson possible Edm/NYR trade scenario, the scouting book on the Swedish first-rounder Andersson is he’s a bottom six NHLer who doesn’t have a lot of pace to his game
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) November 17, 2019
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks’ colleague Brett Cyrgalis reports the Rangers still believe in Andersson. They’ll evaluate his performance in Hartford and see how he responds to more playing time there. I don’t know if the Rangers offered Andersson for Puljujarvi. If they did, the Oilers probably weren’t interested.