NHL Rumor Mill – January 13, 2020
After firing GM Ray Shero, what’s next for the Devils? Which second-line wingers will the Bruins target? What moves might the Flames make? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE DEVILS?
Masisak believes they need a replacement for the recently-traded Taylor Hall, an upgrade or two on defense, and a resolution to their goaltending predicament if they’re to contend next season. Burnside believes they have important decisions to make regarding pending UFAs Andy Greene, Sami Vatanen, and Wayne Simmonds before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Addressing the goaltending is the priority. The Devils have the second-worst goals-against per game (3.38) in the league. Long-time starter Cory Schneider hasn’t been the same since suffering hip, groin, and abdominal injuries over the previous two years. Mackenzie Blackwood has shown some potential but he’s struggled with his consistency. Louis Domingue is a decent backup but he’s never going to be a reliable starter.
Trading Greene, Vatanen, and Simmonds at the trade deadline won’t fetch immediate help to their woes between the pipes. However, one of them could bring in a promising prospect or a quality draft pick that could one day blossom into a goaltending star.
POSSIBLE BRUINS TRADE TARGETS
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reported the Bruins still need a quality winger to skate alongside second-line center David Krejci. He believes GM Don Sweeney will be contemplating such potential options as the New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider, the LA Kings’ Tyler Toffoli, and New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri or perhaps his teammate Wayne Simmonds.
Dupont also suggested San Jose Sharks center (and former Bruin) Joe Thornton. While he has a no-movement clause, he’s 40 and won’t get a chance to win the Stanley Cup with the fading Sharks this season.
Thornton wouldn’t fix the Bruins’ second-line winger issue but could provide stability at center and give coach Bruce Cassidy the flexibility to move Charlie Coyle back to the second line. Dupont acknowledged the return of Thornton to Boston is unlikely, but reminded us Sweeney surprised us in the past with his acquisition of Rick Nash from the Rangers in 2018.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s more likely we’ll see Kreider, Toffoli, Palmieri or Simmonds in a Bruins jersey than Thornton. That ship sailed a long time ago and it ain’t comin’ back.
LATEST FLAMES SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently pondered some possible moves by the Calgary Flames. They’re seeking a top-six winger to play alongside first-line stars Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. He considered Sam Bennett an intriguing trade chip to address that need.
Duhatschek suggested Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou as an option, pointing out Wings GM Steve Yzerman was believed to have interest in Sam Bennett when he was GM of the Lightning. The Flames, however, could prefer a right-handed shot. He also wondered if Bennett might be a good fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs, proposing winger Kasperi Kapanen would be a good fit for the Flames in terms of age, skill, and salary.
Other options for the Flames could include Kings winger Tyler Toffoli and Devils winger Wayne Simmonds.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett has frequently surfaced in trade rumors over the past three years. So far, however, Flames GM Brad Treliving has resisted the temptation to move him. That could change if a club comes calling with the right offer.
Athanasiou is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights who could pursue a hefty raise after last season’s 30-goal performance. Kapanen is under contract through 2021-22 with an affordable $3.2 million cap hit. He’d be the better fit, but every indication I’ve seen or heard suggests the Leafs don’t want to part with him.