Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 29, 2019
The latest on Chris Kreider, Tyler Toffoli, Brandon Saad, and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA’S SATURDAY HEADLINES
SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): With Taylor Hall no longer available, Elliotte Friedman reports Chris Kreider is now the big name in the trade market. He claims contenders such as the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, and Pittsburgh Penguins are believed to be interested in the New York Rangers winger.
Friedman recalls the Rangers didn’t move pending free agents Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello last season until close to the trade deadline. They’re a better team this year and Kreider likes being a Ranger. Teams don’t believe the winger’s available right now, but they’re waiting to see if there will be a change in his trade status.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers’ performance in January could determine Kreider’s immediate future. If they’re in playoff contention, they might hang onto him for the remainder of the schedule. If there’s no progress in the standings or his contract discussions, they’ll put him on the block and see what they can get.
With Hall gone and the Rangers possibly holding onto Kreider, Friedman wonders if someone will try to move quickly on winger Tyler Toffoli from the Los Angeles Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli’s stock could rise if the Rangers are reluctant to move Kreider. Like Kreider, Toffoli’s an unrestricted free agent in July, and there’s no indication he and the Kings are progressing toward a contract extension. The Boston Bruins have reportedly had an interest in him for the past two seasons.
The Chicago Blackhawks recently announced Brandon Saad is expected to be sidelined for three more weeks with an ankle injury. Friedman believes there was some interest in him before his injury. Once he’s healthy, some teams could take a look at Saad, even though he’s got a year remaining on his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad lacks no-trade protection this season, but he carries an expensive annual average value of $6 million. They have over $72.5 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21 with goaltenders Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford, center Dylan Strome, and defenseman Erik Gustafsson among their notable free agents. Saad could be moved in a cost-cutting deal if the Blackhawks get a solid return of draft picks and prospects.
The Rangers also intend to be patient with unhappy Lias Andersson. The 21-year-old forward has requested a trade, but the Blueshirts don’t intend to move him for the sake of it. Just because Andersson wants out doesn’t mean they intend to move swiftly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks yesterday reported there’s been little interest in Andersson, the seventh-overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Even though the Rangers have little leverage in trade discussions, Brooks said they’re not going to necessarily bite on the first offer they receive.
The Buffalo Sabres are looking to move an extra defenseman and the New Jersey Devils are looking for blueline help.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are said to be looking for help for their forward lines. They’ll want a forward (preferably a center) for one of their blueliners. Earlier this month, Friedman said the Devils were shopping Miles Wood. Maybe there’s a fit there.