Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 24, 2019
A suggested Gaudreau-for-Hall swap, the Blues are scouting the Leafs and an update on Nicklas Backstrom in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SHOULD THE FLAMES SWAP GAUDREAU FOR HALL?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks points out New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall has just three goals in 21 games. He wonders if the Calgary Flames would trade winger Johnny Gaudreau to Devils for Hall if they knew they could sign the latter to a contract extension. Brooks was also curious if Devils GM Ray Shero would make that deal or seek a more traditional rental return (first-round pick, top prospects, etc) for Hall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks is doing his usual spitballing. Hall could be moved by the Feb. 24 trade deadline if the Devils are unable to re-sign him, but the Flames won’t be giving up Gaudreau for him. The latter is younger, healthier, and carries a reasonable contract. Hall is also expected to seek over $10 million annually on his next deal.
Gaudreau’s been more productive (405 points) than Hall (306) since 2014-15. Injuries hampered Hall’s offensive output during that time. While Gaudreau’s had his struggles (19 points) this season, Flames GM Brad Treliving made it clear last week that he’s not trading the 26-year-old winger.
BLUES GM SCOUTING THE LEAFS
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and team VP of hockey operations Dave Taylor were in Denver watching the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Colorado Avalanche. It’s the second time Armstrong’s scouted the Leafs and he’s had several senior staffers around Toronto games this year. Johnston believes it’s something to keep an eye on as the February trade deadline approaches.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues play the Leafs on Dec. 7 so that could explain Armstrong’s interest. Still, the Blues could be in the market for some depth on the wings with Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Steen, and Sammy Blais sidelined. Maybe they’re eyeballing Andreas Johnsson or Kasperi Kapanen, or possibly a lesser light such as Nic Petan.
BACKSTROM STARTS CONTRACT TALKS WITH CAPITALS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Nicklas Backstrom has initiated contract extension talks with the Washington Capitals without an agent. It could be a good sign that the two sides can get something done.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July earning an annual average value of $6.7 million on a 10-year contract. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s willing to accept a hometown discount to stay in Washington. If he leaves some money on the table, it could help the Capitals re-sign goaltender Braden Holtby.