NHL Rumor Mill – January 8, 2020
The latest on the Bruins, Lightning, and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL THE BRUINS PURSUE A SCORER?
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty recently suggested the Boston Bruins need additional scoring depth after winning just four of 15 games following their 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. He pointed out there’s a problem with consistent offense beyond the top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak, averaging just 2.6 goals per game during that 15-game stretch.
“Maybe it’s Chris Kreider from the Rangers, or Tyler Toffoli from the L.A. Kings, or Kyle Palmieri from the New Jersey Devils, but it’s clear the B’s need them sooner rather than later,” wrote Haggerty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney hasn’t been afraid to make a move or two before the trade deadline to try and bolster his roster. He acquired Rick Nash in 2018 and Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson before last season’s deadline. I expect he’ll be in the market for someone like Kreider or Toffoli.
There’s no word out of New Jersey suggesting Palmieri could be available. Cap Friendly indicates he’s signed through 2020-21 with an annual average value of $4.65 million. He also has an eight-team no-trade list. The Devils could consider moving Palmieri for the right offer, but they’re under no pressure to move him before the trade deadline.
WILL THE LIGHTNING BE BUSY AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?
THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports there’s lots of interest over what the Tampa Bay Lightning will do at the trade deadline. GM Julien BriseBois stood pat last season, but Smith believes he’ll make a move this year, pointing to the Bolts’ $3.5 million in salary-cap space. He suggests the Lightning target Rangers winger Chris Kreider, noting the two clubs have a recent trade history.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois’ been more of a seller since taking over as the Lightning’s GM in 2018. His biggest moves were shedding salaries, such as shipping J.T. MIller to Vancouver and Ryan Callahan to Ottawa.
With the Bolts rising in the standings, he could stand pat again or make a minor acquisition. Nevertheless, the Lightning could be worth monitoring as the calendar flips to February. Their current cap space is $4.75 million and their deadline cap space is projected at over $10 million.
LATEST SENATORS SPECULATION
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently speculated on possible moves by the Senators in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. Most will involve decisions regarding pending free agents such as Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mark Borowiecki, Ron Hainsey, Dylan DeMelo, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Tyler Ennis. Garrioch believes veteran goalie Craig Anderson will only be dealt if other NHL teams show interest, but it’s unknown if that’s the case yet.
Borowiecki said he wants to know if he’s staying or going. He indicated he’s hoping to stay in Ottawa. Garrioch believes the Senators will try to trade Hainsey, but the future of DeMelo remains uncertain.
Pageau is expected to draw plenty of interest if he and the Senators fail to reach an agreement on a contract extension. Regarding Anderson, Garrioch suggests the Montreal Canadiens, Florida Panthers, and Toronto Maple Leafs as clubs that could attempt to upgrade their goaltending by adding an experienced backup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anderson’s $4.75-million cap hit and 10-team no-trade list could complicate efforts to move him. The Canadiens have the cap room for Anderson but the Panthers and Leafs do not. Even if the Senators agreed to absorb half of Anderson’s AAV, the Leafs and Panthers would still have to shed salary to afford him.