NHL Rumor Mill – February 10, 2020
The latest on Jason Zucker and Blake Coleman, plus updates on the Senators and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.
ARE ZUCKER’S DAYS WITH THE WILD NUMBERED?
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports Jason Zucker won’t discuss the trade rumors swirling about him. The winger said he hasn’t spoken about his status with Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin. “Heard nothing. Whatever happens, happens. I’m done dealing with it. I’m done worrying about it,” he said.
Zucker’s been the subject of trade chatter for the past two years. A deal that would’ve sent him to the Pittsburgh Penguins last May fell through. It’s assumed he could be the odd-man-out for the Wild, either at the trade deadline or the 2020 NHL Draft in June.
He has a 10-team no-trade clause, which Russo said is believed to include almost every Canadian team and a handful of American clubs. Sources claim the Penguins aren’t on that list. Zucker is believed to be a player on their radar as the trade deadline approaches.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker is signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $5.5 million. Guerin doesn’t have to move him at the trade deadline. If he doesn’t get an offer to his liking, he can wait until the off-season.
If Guerin is shopping the veteran winger, he’ll want a return that provides long-term help for his club. Speaking of the Penguins…
POSSIBLE PENGUINS TRADE TARGETS
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski suggested Nashville’s Craig Smith, Toronto’s Andreas Johnsson, and Rangers winger Jesper Fast as backup options if the Penguins fail to land one of the bigger names in the trade market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Penguins GM Jim Rutherford’s trade history, it’s anticipated he’ll swing a deal before the Feb. 24 deadline. One of the aforementioned players could be wearing a Penguins jersey by then. If Rutherford wants Johnsson, the Leafs’ asking price could be a defenseman. And no, they won’t want Jack Johnson.
UPDATES ON THE SENATORS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reported Senators GM Pierre Dorion is working the phones but hasn’t yet found any potential trade partners. One reason is several clubs remain undecided about which route they’ll take by the trade deadline. The Senators have plenty to offer if they go to market, including pending unrestricted free agents such as Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Dylan DeMelo, Mark Borowiecki, and Ron Hainsey. Craig Anderson and Tyler Ennis could also be available, but Garrioch anticipates their market will be limited.
Given Anderson’s inconsistency and $4.75-million salary-cap hit, Garrioch doubts the veteran goalie will be marketable. The Florida Panthers need a backup, but they lack the cap space for Anderson’s cap hit, especially given his .899 save percentage this season. While Pageau and DeMelo could be moved if still unsigned by the trade deadline, Borowiecki and Hainsey could end up staying put for the rest of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch also noted that Dorion won’t make a move just for the sake of doing so. The Senators GM indicated they’ve already got a lot of draft picks and prospects in the pipeline. He could instead want a young player who can step into the Senators lineup right away, like Anthony Duclair when he was acquired last season from Columbus.
SHOULD THE OILERS PURSUE COLEMAN?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins doubts the Oilers will be going big-game hunting at the trade deadline. However, he suggested New Jersey Devils forward Blake Coleman as a trade option.
The 28-year-old has a year remaining on his contract, and the Devils could go into a full rebuild under new GM Tom Fitzgerald. Coleman is a versatile two-way player who’s scored 20 goals this season. Leavins wondered if an offer of Jesse Puljujarvi and either a third-round pick or a prospect might land Coleman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coleman’s name recently surfaced in the rumor mill, but we don’t know if Fitzgerald (the Devils’ interim GM) intends to move out players on contracts that expire at the end of next season. We also don’t know if Oilers GM Ken Holland has Coleman on his radar. If he does, I doubt Puljujarvi and a third-rounder or a mid-range prospect will be enticing to Fitzgerald, who could get better offers from other clubs.