NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2020
Should the Rangers ship Chris Kreider to the Blue Jackets? Will the Sharks weaponize their salary-cap space to restock their prospect pipeline? What moves could the Coyotes make at the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
KREIDER TO THE BLUE JACKETS?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Rangers should ship Chris Kreider to the Columbus Blue Jackets if unable to re-sign him before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He feels the low-scoring Jackets could use the 28-year-old winger on their top line.
Brooks proposed swapping Kreider for Jackets winger Josh Anderson. The 25-year-old power winger’s been sidelined by a shoulder injury this season and is a year away from UFA status. Brooks thinks he’d be a reasonable replacement for Kreider. He also observed Jackets special assistant (and former Rangers winger) Rick Nash scouted yesterday’s game against the Boston Bruins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Brooks is only proposing a Kreider-for-Anderson swap. He’s not saying that’s what’s being discussed between the two clubs. For that matter, we don’t know if those two teams are having any type of trade talks.
Nevertheless, the Jackets need scoring. Only Detroit, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose have scored fewer goals. They also have plenty of deadline cap space to take on a scoring forward. Kreider could certainlty help them.
The only sticking point for the Rangers is Anderson’s RFA status with arbitration rights next summer. They’ve got several others in that boat, though it could be easier to re-sign them if Kreider’s not coming back.
WILL THE SHARKS TARGET CLUBS IN NEED OF SALARY-CAP SPACE?
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Marcus White explores the possibility of the San Jose Sharks using their salary-cap space to target clubs in need of cap room. With Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl suffering season-ending injuries, the Sharks would have over $17 million in cap room to take on expiring contracts from other clubs as long as additional assets are part of the return.
White points out the Sharks lack a first-round pick in this year’s draft and their prospect pool is among the league’s weakest. Playoff contenders like the Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Calgary Flames could use cap room, but trading with a Pacific Division rival could prove difficult. Instead, they might target the cap-strapped Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Finding a suitable contract could be a problem. The Bruins, for example, would love to move David Backes, but he’s signed through 2021-22. White suggests retaining salary might be a better option. Defenseman Brenden Dillion could be a more attractive trade chip if the Sharks absorb part of his $3.275-million salary-cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks GM Doug Wilson has a unique opportunity to start rebuilding his prospect pipeline. He has a well-earned reputation as a skilled wheeler-dealer, especially around the trade deadline. It’ll be interesting to see how he plays this.
WHAT SHOULD THE COYOTES DO AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if the Arizona Coyotes might add some muscle at their defense and forward positions before the trade deadline. He felt that adding a “thumper with mobility for the third pair and a net-front guy for the power play would be nice additions.”
Asked which players the Coyotes could move, Morgan cited Michael Grabner as a trade candidate. The winger hasn’t played much and is signed through 2020-21 with an affordable $3.35-million AAV. Vinnie Hinostroza could be another.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Coyotes very much in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, I expect they’ll be buyers at the trade deadline. They also made the biggest splash of the regular season by acquiring Taylor Hall, but still need more offensive punch.
Finding some will mean a dollar-for-dollar deal, as they have just over $300K in deadline cap space. Given those limitations, they could be forced to bargain hunt.