NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2020
What deadline moves should the Flames and Leafs explore? Who’s the Bruins’ top trade target? Will the Blue Jackets be aggressive at this year’s trade deadline? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SUGGESTED DEADLINE MOVES FOR THE FLAMES AND LEAFS
SPORTSNET: Eric Francis believes the Calgary Flames need to boost their offense before the trade deadline. He proposes recalling Austin Czarnik and demoting Mark Jankowski, shopping versatile checking-line forward Sam Bennett for a scorer, or offering up a defenseman like T.J Brodie to the Toronto Maple Leafs for winger Kaspari Kapanen.
THE ATHLETIC: Darren Haynes suggested the Flames pursue a player with term remaining on his contract (such as Kapanen or New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri) or a pure rental like Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli, New Jersey’s Wayne Simmonds, or Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having freed up salary-cap space by shipping winger Michael Frolik to Buffalo earlier this month, Flames general manager Brad Treliving indicated he intends to use it at the trade deadline.
Landing a top-six forward could cost someone like Bennett or Brodie. Palmieri’s limited no-trade clause could complicate any attempt to bring him to Calgary. The Leafs need blueline help and might part with Kapanen for the right offer, though I doubt they’ll give him up solely for a rental player.
Luke Fox, meanwhile, suggested the Leafs pursue New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, San Jose Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon, or Calgary Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic.
If Georgiev isn’t available, Fox proposed the Leafs consider Pittsburgh’s Casey DeSmith, Anaheim’s Ryan Miller, or San Jose’s Aaron Dell. Landing Dillon might take offering up a prospect like Dmytro Timashov or Jeremy Bracco. The Leafs could also throw in one of their extra picks in the sixth or seventh rounds of this year’s draft. Acquiring someone like Hamonic could cost them a young forward like Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alexander Kerfoot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Fox points out, the Leafs’ limited salary-cap space makes it difficult to bring in a better backup goalie and a top-four defenseman. Georgiev’s affordable salary (over $792K) could be squeezed in by waiving and demoting Michael Hutchinson. Landing a quality blueliner could involve a dollar-in, dollar-out move, especially if Leafs GM Kyle Dubas prefers adding a player signed beyond this season.
KREIDER COULD BE THE BRUINS’ TOP TRADE TARGET
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty cites multiple sources claiming New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider remains the Bruins’ top trade-deadline target. His acquisition could push current left wing Jake DeBrusk down to the third line. Anticipating plenty of interest in Kreider if he hits the trade block, Haggerty believes it could cost the Bruins’ their first-round pick in this year’s draft to land Kreider.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney isn’t afraid to make significant moves near the trade deadline. He’s probably monitoring Kreider’s status with the Rangers.
WILL THE BLUE JACKETS BE AGGRESSIVE AT THE DEADLINE?
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz wonder how aggressive the Columbus Blue Jackets will be at this year’s trade deadline. Given their recent surge in the standings, Gretz believes they’re in a position to buy, not sell. Only three clubs (New Jersey, Colorado, and Ottawa) have more salary-cap space.
Gretz suggests their cap space could put them in a good position to add a rental scorer like the Kings’ Tyler Toffoli, the Rangers’ Chris Kreider, Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau or Montreal’s Ilya Kovalchuk, or a player with term on his contract like Minnesota’s Jason Zucker or Montreal’s Tomas Tatar.
What they don’t have, however, is many tradeable assets. Their farm system isn’t deep and they have only five draft picks this year, including one in the top 100. They won’t move a young player like Pierre-Luc Dubois, Seth Jones, or Zack Werenski.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen will keep watch on the trade market. But as Gretz points out, he’ll be limited by what he can do after going all-out at last year’s deadline. He could attempt to use his cap space to take on a contract from a cap-strapped club, but he’ll still have to part with a prospect or a draft pick.