NHL Rumor Mill – February 21, 2020
Are the Bruins targeting Brandon Saad? Could the Leafs trade Tyson Barrie? Could the Senators re-sign Jean-Gabriel Pageau? Are the Canadiens eyeing Ryan Graves? All this and much more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
BRUINS EYEING BLACKHAWKS’ SAAD?
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider and New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri are the two biggest names available for the Boston Bruins if they wish to add a top-six winger. However, the high asking prices for either guy could force them to consider other targets. He cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad as an option.
THE ATHLETIC: Joe McDonald and Scott Powers cite sources claiming the Bruins are considering making a pitch for Saad. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney would have to get creative to pull it off. Powers believes the Blackhawks would want at least a first-round pick as part of the return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers reportedly seek a first-round pick, a prospect, and something else for Kreider. Landing Palmieri or Saad, who are signed beyond this season, could cost as much or more. Acquiring a quality top-six winger won’t be cheap. If Sweeney is willing to pay the price, it should be for a player with term on his contract, rather than a rental player.
LATEST ON THE LEAFS
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports several teams reached out to the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding Tyson Barrie after several trades involving defensemen went down earlier this week. The Leafs would consider moving Barrie under the right circumstances. Either a club offers a blueliner in a player-for-player swap, or picks and prospects that the Leafs can flip to another club for a right-shot rearguard.
The Vancouver Canucks are among the interested parties. McKenzie said there’s lots of talk out of Vancouver suggesting Troy Stecher could be available, but it remains to be seen if he’d be part of any deal involving the Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie hasn’t worked out with the Leafs, but some rival GMs could gamble on him regaining his form away from the harsh Toronto spotlight. The Canucks have over $7 million in projected trade-deadline cap space, giving them room to pick up Barrie’s $2.75-million cap hit.
UPDATES ON THE CANADIENS
TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie wondered if Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic might be interested in Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin, reuniting him with former Halifax Mooseheads linemate Nathan MacKinnon. He suggested Avs young center Tyson Jost could be available.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Montreal Canadiens are having talks with Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent while weighing trade offers for the 36-year-old winger. A contract extension would be a bonus-laden, one-year deal. It’s also possible he could sign that contract as a UFA with the Canadiens.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW’s Adrian Dater said he’s heard the Canadiens are pursuing Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are interested in Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry. However, a source told LeBrun there’s 95 percent chance the Habs won’t move Petry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic needs an affordable, short-term replacement for sidelined winger Mikko Rantanen, not a struggling winger with an expensive long-term deal. Drouin carries a $5.5-million AAV through 2022-23. It’s not surprising the Habs would have interest in Graves, but I think the Avs would be reluctant to part with him.
As for Petry, I think Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will have to be blown away by an incredible offer. If, say, the Avs offered up Graves in a package offer, that might get it done.
LATEST ON THE FLAMES AND OILERS
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports it’s no secret Flames GM Brad Treliving wants to add a scoring forward. Those on his radar could include New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, Florida’s Mike Hoffman, and Vincent Trocheck, Columbus’ Josh Anderson or Montreal’s Max Domi. He could also seek an affordable depth addition on defense, though Gilbertson wonders if he’ll try to pry Matt Dumba away from the Minnesota Wild.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the Oilers limited salary-cap room will hamper their efforts to bolster their roster at the trade deadline. GM Ken Holland said he’s not shopping RFA winger Jesse Puljujarvi and no one’s asking about him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving made a failed attempt to acquire Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild at last year’s deadline. With just over $2.33 million in projected deadline cap room, he could be stuck in the bargain bin unless he parts with a quality player in a dollar-for-dollar swap.
Holland’s Oilers are up against the cap, leaving him no wiggle room. If he makes a move, it’ll be dollar-in, dollar-out.
SENATORS TALK CONTRACT WITH PAGEAU, COULD SHOP NAMESTNIKOV.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract talks have started in recent days between the Ottawa Senators and pending UFA center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The two sides have exchanged numbers, but LeBrun doesn’t know how close they are. The Philadelphia Flyers could be interested if the Sens fail to re-sign Pageau before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, though they won’t part with a first-round pick. The Senators could also hang onto Pageau if they don’t receive any offers to their liking and try again to re-sign him before July 1.
Darren Dreger reports the Senators scratched center Vladislav Namestnikov from last night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets. That suggests Namestnikov is close to being traded. GM Pierre Dorion has received offers from the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, suggests Tyler Ennis could interest a club like the Edmonton Oilers looking for affordable depth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Namestnikov is on his way out, perhaps as soon as today. It’ll be interesting to see if he heads to one of those four clubs or if someone else outbids them.
CANUCKS HAMPERED BY SALARY CAP
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vancouver Canucks interest in New Jersey Devils winger Wayne Simmonds has been hampered by their limited salary-cap room. The potential return of winger Brock Boeser by the end of this season complicates efforts to acquire Simmonds.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have to consider more affordable options to replace sidelined power forward Micheal Ferland. They’re also reportedly in the market for Tyson Barrie, who’d been much more affordable than Simmonds and his $5 million cap hit.
LATEST ON THE SABRES
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski lists Conor Sheary, Jimmy Vesey, and Zemgus Girgensons as the most likely Sabres to be dealt at the trade deadline. Among the least likely is defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Lysowski feels the acquisition cost could be astronomical, advocating he shouldn’t be moved unless it’s for a top-six forward.