NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2020
The latest lists of trade bait in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TSN: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, and Montreal Canadiens winger Ilya Kovalchuk are the top-three players atop Frank Seravalli’s latest NHL trade-bait list. Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and New York Rangers’ goaltender Alexandar Georgiev round out the top five.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprises here. These five have figured prominently in the rumor mill in recent weeks. Kreider, Kovalchuk, and Pageau are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Georgiev is a restricted free agent who could be the odd-man-out among the Rangers’ three goalies. Martinez has a year remaining on his contract with an affordable $4-million annual average salary. He also lacks no-trade protection.
Kings winger Tyler Toffoli, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, New Jersey Devils blueliner Sami Vatanen, Detroit Red Wings center Andreas Athanasiou, and the Carolina Hurricanes’ first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft fill slots six through 10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another four who’ve surfaced in frequent media trade chatter this season. I’m surprised to see Gostisbehere this high on Seravalli’s ranking. He’s struggling this season and is signed through 2022-23 with a $4.5-million AAV. A player carrying that much term usually doesn’t get moved until the off-season.
Toffoli and Vatanen are UFAs this summer, while Athanasiou is an RFA with arbitration rights. The Canes could dangle their first-round pick for a top-four defenseman, especially with Dougie Hamilton sidelined with a broken leg.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk, Ottawa Senators blueliner Ron Hainsey, Minnesota Wild winger Ryan Donato, and Chicago Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner fill slots 11 to 15.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Donato (signed through 2020-21) are UFAs in July. Lehner’s not going anywhere. He’s outplaying Corey Crawford and remains vital to the Blackhawks’ ongoing push to reach the playoffs. Granted, that could change if they fall out of contention by the trade deadline, but I believe they intend to re-sign him.
Nashville Predators winger Craig Smith and center Kyle Turris, Canadiens defenseman Marco Scandella, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson, and Canadiens blueliner Jeff Petry round out the list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith and Scandella are UFAs. If the Preds fail to gain ground in the standing, GM David Poile could become a seller. Smith could hit the trade block, but there won’t be interest in Turris’ hefty contract unless Poile agrees to pick up part of the center’s $6-million AAV.
Anderson’s an RFA who’s struggled through injuries and inconsistency this season, but the Jackets could retain the big winger for the playoffs. It’ll take a considerable offer to tempt Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin to part with the underrated Petry.
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen last week also published a list of 20 trade candidates we could hear about before the deadline. It included Wild winger Jason Zucker, Predators winger Mikael Granlund and center Nick Bonino, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian and center Evan Rodrigues, Senators goaltender Craig Anderson and Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford, Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith, Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad, Flames forward Mark Jankowski, and Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild could be sellers if they keep sliding out of playoff contention. There’s talk the Penguins could revisit interest in Zucker, who they attempted to land last May. However, his 10-team no-trade clause and $5.5 million AAV through 2022-23 could make him an off-season trade candidate.
Granlund is a UFA and could get shopped if the Predators become sellers. Ditto Bonino, though his $4.1 million cap hit through next season could scare off some clubs.
Bogosian is a UFA and Rodrigues an RFA. Both requested trades but there might not be much interest in either guy. The 38-year-old Anderson is reaching the end of his career, has a $4.75-million AAV and a 10-team no-trade list. Someone could express interest in him as a backup, but the Sens might have to absorb part of his salary-cap hit.
The Blackhawks could shop pending UFA Crawford, but I suspect they’ll keep their goalie tandem intact in their quest for a playoff spot. DeSmith could be available if the Penguins decide to pursue a winger for the postseason.
Saad’s $6-million AAV through 2020-21 won’t be easy to move. With the Blackhawks trying to reach the playoffs, I don’t think he’s available. The Flames could toss the slumping Jankowski into a larger deal to land a top-six forward. The Oilers could shop Puljujarvi’s rights, but I still think that the move takes place during the NHL Draft weekend in June.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin’s list includes Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, defenseman P.K. Subban and winger Wayne Simmonds, Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar, Blackhawks blueliner Erik Gustafsson, Anaheim Ducks winger Ondrej Kase, Sabres winger Marcus Johansson and Michael Frolik, Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Jake Gardiner, Sabres winger Conor Sheary, Flames winger Sam Bennett, Toronto Maple Leafs AHL winger Jeremy Bracco, and Colorado Avalanche prospect d-man Conor Timmons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Devils having traded away Taylor Hall and replaced their head coach and GM, it’s expected more roster changes are in store. Palmieri’s come up a lot in trade chatter. He’s signed through next season with a $4.65-million AAV and an eight-team no-trade list. Simmonds is a UFA and could be moved, though he’s indicated his preference to stay. Subban said he’s not seeking a trade, but the Devils could explore his value in the trade market. His declining performance and $9 million cap hit through 2021-22 makes him a tough sell.
Tatar is signed through next season and lacks no-trade protection. He’s the Habs leading scorer and his trade value could be high, though his $5.3 million AAV could be a stumbling block for a deadline deal. Gustafsson is a UFA and expected to be dealt, though that could change if the Hawks remain in playoff contention at the deadline. The Ducks need all the scoring they can get, so I don’t believe they’ll shop the oft-injured Kase.
The Sabres could be sellers if they don’t move up in the standings. Sheary and Frolik are UFAs while Johansson has a year remaining on his deal worth $4.5 million per season. He and Frolik have modified no-trade clauses.
Bennett would attract lots of interest if the Flames shop him, but they could keep him for the postseason when he does his best work. There were reports of some teams wondering what the Hurricanes might do with Gardiner. With Dougie Hamilton sidelined by a broken leg, Gardiner could be staying put.