NHL Rumor Mill – February 1, 2020
The latest on the Stars, Hurricanes, and Panthers, plus updates on Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Andreas Athanasiou and Pavel Buchnevich in today’s NHL rumor mill.
POSSIBLE STARS TRADE TARGETS
NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Heika was asked which players the Dallas Stars could target to bolster their offense before the Feb, 24 trade deadline.
He listed New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider, Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli, and Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad as the three easiest targets, though they’re also going to cost the most in terms of draft picks and prospects. He also suggested Montreal’s Ilya Kovalchuk or Pittsburgh’s Alex Galchenyuk as bargain options.
THE ATHLETIC: Sean Shapiro suggests it could cost the Stars a first-round pick or a young NHL-ready forward for Kreider. The New Jersey Devils could seek a return for Kyle Palmieri comparable to what they got for Taylor Hall. In other words, a first-round pick or a conditional pick that could become a first, a good prospect or young player, and perhaps a second-round selection.
The asking price for Toffoli could be a second-round pick and a B-level prospect. Galchenyuk could cost a conditional fourth-rounder. It could take a first-round pick to get winger Josh Anderson from the Columbus Blue Jackets or center Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Ottawa Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars GM Jim Nill doesn’t sound keen to part with first-round picks. He also lacks second- and third-round picks in this year’s draft. I don’t doubt he’s monitoring the trade market, but he could be looking for bargains.
POSSIBLE DESTINATIONS FOR PAGEAU
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently examined the potential trade market for Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. He’s skeptical the Sens could get a first-round pick in return because many GMs are reluctant to part with such picks this year.
Some clubs that could be a good fit for Pageau, such as the Edmonton Oilers, aren’t guaranteed to reach this year’s playoffs, making them unwilling to part with a first-rounder for a rental player. LeBrun speculates they could try to make it work with a conditional second based on how far the Oilers advance in the 2020 playoffs.
LeBrun also listed the New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, and Calgary Flames as possible landing spots for Pageau. Conditions could also apply with those clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pageau is enjoying a career season in his contract year, but the ongoing assessment among observers is he’s best suited for second- or third-line duty. A legitimate playoff contender won’t give up a first-round selection for a depth player, or at least, they shouldn’t give up that much. If the Senators shop him, perhaps they’ll attempt to land a promising young player and a decent prospect.
COULD THE RANGERS SHOP BUCHNEVICH?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders if Pavel Buchnevich could be part of the Rangers’ trade-deadline plans. He speculates they could opt to trade the 24-year-old winger’s skill game for one “with a more north-south, hard-hat mentality.” Brooks also acknowledged Buchnevich’s talent and affordable $3.25-million annual average value could make him worth retaining.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After tallying career-high 21 goals last season, Buchenvich is on pace for 15 in 2019-20. He’s also on track for 45 points, which would be eight more than what he had in 2018-19. He’s in the first year of a two-year contract and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.
Rangers management isn’t under any pressure to move him. One can’t dismiss the possibility of Buchnevich getting traded, but that move might be better suited for the off-season when he might fetch a better return.
COULD THE OILERS PURSUE ATHANASIOU?
KUKLA’S KORNER: cites tweets by Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson linking the Oilers to Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou. He thinks Oilers GM Ken Holland wants to add more speed to his forward lines. Athanasiou is having a lousy year in Detroit, but Matheson considers him a top-six forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As former Red Wings GM, Holland also knows Athanasiou’s strengths and weaknesses. The versatile 25-year-old tallied a career-high 30 goals last season. He’s currently sidelined by a lower-body injury but could be a good addition to the Oilers once he returns to action. He’s also a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer, which could complicate his future in Detroit, Edmonton, or wherever he finishes this season.
WHAT WILL THE PANTHERS DO AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?
THE ATHLETIC: George Richards took note of recent speculation suggesting the Florida Panthers could move either Mike Hoffman or Evgenii Dadonov at the trade deadline. Both are unrestricted free agents in July and the Panthers might not be able to re-sign them both.
With the Panthers jockeying for playoff positioning, Richards doesn’t see either winger getting shopped unless it’s for a return (such as a defenseman) that will be important for the club going forward. He also points out the Panthers’ limited salary-cap space will affect any attempts to make a move or two at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers only have over $892K in deadline cap room. If they swing a deal for a defenseman, it’ll have to be dollar-in, dollar-out. It’ll take a considerable offer to convince GM Dale Tallon to part with Hoffman or Dadonov.
LATEST ON THE HURRICANES
NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz examined how losing defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a fractured fibula could affect Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell’s trade plans. Waddell admitted he was in the market for a defenseman before Hamilton’s injury, but his absence could change the type of player he could target in the trade market.
Gretz observes there are limited options in the trade market to address even a fraction of the offense Hamilton brought to the Hurricanes’ blueline. The best rental option could be New Jersey’s Sami Vatanen. Waddell is reluctant to place Hamilton on long-term injury reserve as he could return before the end of the season.
Turning to the forward lines, the return of Justin Williams provides a boost, as could a bounce-back second half from winger Nino Niederreiter.