NHL Rumor Mill – December 27, 2019
With Seabrook and de Haan sidelined, will the Blackhawks go shopping for replacements? Are the Penguins planning to move a goaltender? Could the Senators shop Craig Anderson? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL THE BLACKHAWKS SEEK REPLACEMENTS FOR SIDELINED SEABROOK AND DE HAAN?
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: With Blackhawks defensemen Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan sidelined for the season, Ben Pope reports the club put them on long-term injury reserve. That will free up their combined $11.4 million salary-cap hit, providing the Blackhawks with immense flexibility.
What general manager Stan Bowman will, and should, do with that space is unclear. He could pursue one or two rental players via the trade market, such as New Jersey’s Sami Vatanen or Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki. However, giving up assets to acquire those players seems short-sighted.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Jimmy Greenfield speculates Bowman could pass on the opportunity to use that additional cap space to bolster his roster. The Blackhawks are near the bottom of the Western Conference standings and they aren’t flush with prospects to use as trade bait.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers also ponders possible moves by Bowman. He could simply let the season play out and see where the chips fall. He could wait until the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches to get a better idea if he’ll be a buyer or a seller. He could be aggressive now in hope of adding rental players who can provide immediate help to the roster.
Powers also points out they lack sufficient assets to tempt rival clubs in the trade market. He doesn’t see Bowman trading away Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist and Ian Mitchell. Perhaps Bowman could attempt to use his cap space to plan for the future by acquiring an expiring toxic contract or two packaged with draft picks and prospects.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be worthwhile keeping an eye on the Blackhawks. Bowman will likely see how things unfold in the coming weeks before deciding upon his course of action. He undoubtedly wants to restock his prospect pipeline but also wants to give his current roster a fighting chance to reach the postseason. If they can gain ground in the standings, perhaps he’ll see what affordable options are available.
LATEST ON THE PENGUINS
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel reports Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford doesn’t plan to act urgently with his goaltending situation. Tristan Jarry has outplayed starter Matt Murray, who’s only appeared in two games this month.
While Rutherford acknowledged one never knows what could come up between now and the trade deadline, he’s not looking to move a goaltender right now. Jarry and Murray are both restricted free agents next summer, so there’s no urgency to move either player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several teams would love to acquire Jarry. Rutherford could attempt to trade the young netminder while his stock is high. Given Murray’s injury history, however, I suspect the Penguins GM will hang on Jarry for the rest of the season. He could shop third-stringer Casey DeSmith, but he’s good insurance in case Murray or Jarry gets hurt.
COULD THE SENATORS SHOP ANDERSON?
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion will have to decide over the next two months which veterans he’ll need to keep to bridge the gap as his younger core continues to develop. He believes pending free-agent goaltender Craig Anderson’s days in the Senators net are drawing to a close. The better Anderson plays, the better the return if and when a team comes calling for an experienced backup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just throwing this out there: Anderson to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They need a reliable backup and the two clubs have a recent trade history.
The Senators would have to pick up a healthy chunk of his $4.75-million annual cap hit. Even then, it could still get complicated cap-wise for the Leafs.