NHL Rumor Mill – December 31, 2019
Speculation of the Blackhawks scouting the Bruins and Sabres, plus the latest on the Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
ARE THE BLACKHAWKS TALKING TRADE WITH THE BRUINS AND SABRES?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL scout claiming the Chicago Blackhawks have been scouting the Boston Bruins. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was spotted taking in some recent Bruins games, as well as those of the Buffalo Sabres. With Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan out for the season, the Blackhawks need defensemen, something both clubs have to spare.
There’s also speculation Brandon Saad could be available. Murphy wonders if the Bruins might be interested in the Blackhawks winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have more defensemen to spare than the Bruins. Murphy mentions Sabres blueliners Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian and Marco Scandella. There was talk Ristolainen asked for a trade last summer, but that’s died away this season. Bogosian and Scandella are both free agents at season’s end. Bogosian reportedly asked for a trade two weeks ago.
If Saad’s available the Bruins could pursue him. Making room for his $6 million salary-cap hit will mean sending a salaried player to Chicago or shedding salary elsewhere. The Bruins have less than $1 million in salary-cap space.
POSSIBLE SHARKS TRADE CANDIDATES
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently examined how things could get worse in this already-grim season for the San Jose Sharks. He pointed out how head coach Bob Boughner called out some unnamed players for their poor play following a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, their schedule gets bumpy over the next two months, and their lack of prospect depth gives them a grim long-term future.
Among their few short-term contracts, Kevin Lebanc and Brenden Dillon could become trade candidates. Lebanc inked a very affordable one-year, $1-million contract last summer, but he’s clearly in the doghouse this season. He’s a restricted free agent at season’s end and will seek a raise. Dillon, meanwhile, will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The next several weeks will make or break the Sharks’ season. If they haven’t gained ground in the standings by the end of January, general manager Doug Wilson could become a seller. If so,The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz believes Dillon could be the first to go.