NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2019
With the NHL holiday roster freeze lifted, here’s the latest on the Rangers and Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports sources claiming there’s little interest in Rangers forward Lias Andersson. He’s been suspended without pay since walking out on the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford on Dec. 20 after requesting a trade. The seventh-overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old Andersson has just nine points in 66 NHL games.
Brett Cyrgalis recently speculated Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton could stage another trade deadline sell-off as his club’s playoff hopes dim. He lists forwards Chris Kreider, Jesper Fast, Ryan Strome, and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev as possible trade chips.
THE ATHLETIC: If the Rangers decide to trade Georgiev, Shayna Goldman recently suggested it’s less likely they’ll do it during the season. Goalie deals aren’t common in-season and the Blueshirts could be reluctant to rush promising netminder Igor Shesterkin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise regarding Andersson, who’s been a big disappointment thus far. Maybe his performance will improve with a different club, but it appears there aren’t many willing to give him that opportunity. If the Rangers aren’t in the postseason chase by February, Gorton could start shopping a couple of pending free agents for draft picks and prospects as he continues to rebuild the roster.
Unless Shesterkin is threatening to return to the KHL unless he sees NHL action this season, there’s no reason for the Rangers to move Georgiev. You can’t rule it out if a rival club is willing to overpay for Georgiev’s services, but I don’t think anyone’s reached that point right now.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington recently proposed Sabres GM Jason Botterill should take care of business following the NHL holiday roster freeze. He points out they need help up front while they wait for Jeff Skinner to rediscover his game. They must also decide on defenseman Zach Bogosian, who reportedly sought a trade after being a recent healthy scratch.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Yerdon was asked if Botterill will ever move a defenseman for a forward and the type of return Bogosian could fetch. While Yerdon expects that move will happen, it’s anyone’s guess when. A center would be preferable but a winger would also help. He expects Bogosian’s trade stock is low right now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have no doubt Botterill’s been working the phones shopping a blueliner for a forward, but finding a suitable deal isn’t easy at this time of year. There aren’t many sellers and those that are might not have what the Sabres need.
Botterill could be forced to wait another four-to-six weeks for the market to improve as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. That could be too late to help the Sabres.