NHL Rumor Mill – January 30, 2020
The Leafs linked to the Wild’s Matt Dumba, plus updates on the Rangers, Jets, and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LEAFS LOOKING AT DUMBA
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have looked into Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. He believes the club’s fortunes in the coming weeks will determine if they pursue a right-handed blueliner or test the trade market on their pending unrestricted free agents. Friedman cites one league executive saying the Leafs are investigating every good defenseman on the market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs reportedly aren’t interested in acquiring a rental player. As Friedman points out, Dumba has three years remaining on his contract. He’s the type of rearguard the Leafs would want, but finding room for his $6-million salary-cap hit would be difficult. I don’t believe the Wild would pick up part of his annual average value if they were to shop Dumba.
RANGERS’ POTENTIAL TRADE CANDIDATES
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reviewed several possible Rangers’ trade candidates, what they could fetch on the market, and the clubs that could pursue them.
Winger Chris Kreider could fetch a first-round pick and perhaps more. Boston, Colorado, Arizona, and Vegas could be in the mix.
The Maple Leafs make sense for pending restricted free agent goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, but Cyrgalis wonders what return would make sense for the Rangers. Colorado, San Jose, and Florida could use depth between the pipes.
Defenseman Tony DeAngelo is a pending RFA with arbitration rights. While he has defensive deficiencies, his puck-moving skills would draw attention in the trade market. Cyrgalis suggests Toronto (perhaps packaged with Georgiev?), Winnipeg or Carolina as trade partners.
Pending UFA winger Jesper Fast would be a solid bottom-six addition for Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, St. Louis or Dallas. Versatile RFA forward Ryan Strome might be a fit with Vancouver, Calgary or Arizona.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out soon enough how many of his pending free agents Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton intends to trade. Georgiev and DeAngelo might be enticing for the Leafs, but the asking price for that package could include a young, affordable forward like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alexander Kerfoot.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford indicated he’s open to acquiring a top-six winger. I don’t see Fast as a fit in Pittsburgh.
BLUELINE TRADE TARGETS FOR THE JETS
THE ATHLETIC: With the Winnipeg Jets reportedly in the market for a top-four defenseman, Ken Wiebe wondered if they might revisit their earlier interest in Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen. He also listed Ristolainen’s teammate Colin Miller, Los Angeles’ Alec Martinez, Ottawa’s Dylan DeMelo, and New Jersey’s Damon Severson.
Wiebe suggested Jets forward Jack Roslovic might make the most sense as a trade chip. He also pointed out Dustin Byfuglien’s situation could have salary-cap implications. If he returns to the lineup before the end of this season, they’ll have to ensure they’ve got sufficient room for his $7.6-million annual average salary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Billeck believes adding a top-four defenseman would prove too costly, forcing them to give up a top-six forward or a first-round pick and one of their top prospects. “Teams want talent for talent. They want Nikolaj Ehlers, not Luca Sbisa. Kyle Connor, not Nick Shore,” he said. Billeck feels there’s not much to work with in this season’s trade market. He suggests looking to the future by dipping into this summer’s UFA market.
I agree with Billeck. Don’t sacrifice the future for a quick fix. I’m not saying they shouldn’t look at picking up a depth player or two, but not at the cost of a good player, high draft picks or quality prospects.
UPDATE ON THE CANADIENS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens aren’t interested in acquiring rental players. He suspects they won’t do much at the trade deadline. With an eye on reaching the playoffs in 2021, they don’t want to part with players who can help them next year like Tomas Tatar and Jeff Petry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan also believes the Canadiens shouldn’t move Tatar. The 29-year-old winger is a consistent 20-goal scorer who has a year remaining on his contract. Considering how difficult it is for the Habs to attract UFA talent, Cowan feels they should keep a player like Tatar, who loves playing in Montreal. You can probably make the same case for the underrated Petry. Unless the Canadiens get mind-blowing offers for either guy, they’re better off retaining them.