NHL Rumor Mill – February 12, 2020
Could the Coyotes consider shopping Taylor Hall? Are more moves in store for the Wild? What’s the latest on Chris Kreider, Joe Thornton, and David Backes? What are the Avalanche and Hurricanes up to? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
COYOTES WON’T FLIP HALL BEFORE THE DEADLINE
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Arizona Coyotes have no intention of flipping Taylor Hall to another team before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The Coyotes acquired the left winger in December. While some observers wonder if they’ll shop the 28-year-old Hall before the deadline, rather than risk losing him this summer to free agency, the Coyotes front office remains determined to re-sign him. LeBrun points out they can offer Hall an eight-year contract, while other clubs can only offer seven years if he tests the open market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: None of that questioning about Hall’s future came up when the Coyotes were sitting on top of the Pacific Division a month ago. It was their recent tumble in the standings that sparked this speculation. Unless someone blows the Coyotes out of the water with an amazing offer, they have no reason to move Hall now. He’s crucial to their hopes of nailing down a playoff spot this season.
MORE MOVES COMING FOR THE WILD?
TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin indicated any potential trade-deadline moves on his part depend upon the club’s performance leading up to deadline day. Earlier this week, Guerin shipped winger Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“If there is quit, there will be more trades,” he said Tuesday. “I wholeheartedly expect this team to compete for a playoff spot. We are right there. If there’s any signs of anybody taking their foot off the gas, that will be an indication (of what I have to do).”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin’s next moves could involve defenseman Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun last night reported the Wild GM was willing to listen to offers for those two. He’s in the market for a top-line center. If the best offer he gets for either guy is a No. 2 center, LeBrun believes it has to be packaged with something else. Guerin is also willing to respect the wishes of captain Mikko Koivu. He carries a no-movement clause and is reportedly leaning toward staying in Minnesota.
UPDATE ON KREIDER
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there’s some growing sense of optimism the New York Rangers might re-sign winger Chris Kreider now that contract talks have begun. However, he cautions it’s going to be difficult for the Rangers to pay what Kreider is looking for. He feels it could still go either way.
If the Rangers re-sign Kreider, McKenzie speculates they could be forced to shop some combination of restricted free agents Pavel Buchnevich, Ryan Strome and Tony DeAngelo by the deadline or during the off-season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers have almost $65 million invested in 14 players for 2020-21. If Kreider seeks around $6 million annually (it could be more) on a long-term deal, their cap payroll rises to around $71 million. Assuming next season’s salary cap reaches $84 million, that won’t leave sufficient room to re-sign all of those RFAs, especially those with arbitration rights.
BRUINS, LIGHTNING LOOKING AT THORNTON
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning have reportedly had internal discussions about adding San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton to their lineup. Thornton’s spent 1,089 games with the Sharks, so any decision to join a playoff contender will be up to him. If he’s uninterested, that’s the end of it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because the Bruins and Lightning have looked at Thornton doesn’t mean he’s the only player on their radar before the trade deadline. Their focus is likely on younger options.
COULD THE BRUINS FIND A TAKER FOR BACKES?
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: cites FOX Sports’ Andy Strickland and NHL Network’s Brian Lawton claiming teams are showing interest in Bruins forward David Backes, who hasn’t played since being placed on waivers a month ago. Strickland said many of them are on his eight-team no-trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay teams calling about Backes are those with plenty of salary-cap room hoping to get a quality asset or two included in the return. The Bruins might also have to absorb up to half of his $6-million annual average value. We’ll find out soon enough if they’re willing to make that move to free up cap space before the trade deadline.
LATEST ON THE AVALANCHE
THE ATHLETIC: Ryan S. Clark reports it’s believed the Colorado Avalanche could attempt to acquire a second-pairing defenseman and a big, middle-six forward before the Feb. 24 deadline. Questions over the Avs’ deadline plans intensified with the news that center Nazem Kadri is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Nevertheless, Kadri’s injury won’t alter how they approach the deadline.
Clark points out the club has spent the entire season adjusting to numerous injuries. They could entertain moving one of their top prospects if the deal benefits them over the long term.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they’re not parting with Bo Byram, Martin Kaut, Shane Bowers or Conor Timmons for a rental player.
HURRICANES SEEK A HOCKEY DEAL
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are willing to trade a draft pick for a defenseman under contract beyond this season. They’ve looked into pending UFAs like San Jose’s Brenden Dillon and New Jersey’s Sami Vatanen, but team owner Tom Dundon doesn’t like spending assets on rental players. They’ve reportedly shown interest in Minnesota’s Matt Dumba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have two first-round picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, though one of them is a conditional one from the Leafs that could be moved to 2021 if that pick lands in the top-10. Would they be willing to part with one of them for Dumba or a blueliner like him?