NHL Rumor Mill – February 26, 2020
The latest on Zach Parise, Joe Thornton, and Mike Matheson, plus an update on the Canadiens as the fallout from Monday’s trade deadline continues in the NHL rumor mill.
THORNTON DISAPPOINTED HE DIDN’T GET TRADED TO A CUP CONTENDER
TSN: cited San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton telling The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz he was disappointed not to be moved to a Cup contender before the trade deadline. “I’ve been dreaming about that ever since I can remember and it just didn’t come to fruition, for whatever reason. I wanted to get something back for the Sharks obviously to help them continue this process with young guys. It just didn’t work out.”
Pierre LeBrun reported three or four clubs had an interest in Thornton, but he doesn’t think they were elite Cup contenders that Thornton would’ve waived his no-movement clause for. He doesn’t believe the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, or Vegas Golden Knights made inquiries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton has indicated he doesn’t believe this season will be his last. Will he re-sign another one-year, bonus-laden deal with the retooling Sharks? Or does he test the market to see if a Cup contender has interest? His status will be worth keeping an eye on this summer.
PARISE DOWNPLAYS TRADE TALK
TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise was careful with his words as he spoke yesterday to reporters regarding a potential deal that could’ve sent him to the New York Islanders before Monday’s deadline. Parise said he was approached by GM Bill Guerin a week ago about the proposed trade. He reportedly agreed to waive his no-movement clause but declined to comment about that.
Parise insisted he still loves playing in Minnesota and wants to help the Wild succeed. He had no interest in discussing what the future holds or whether he hopes to be moved in the off-season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin already suggested the Wild and Islanders could revisit those trade discussions this summer. We can’t rule out the possibility Parise may be playing his final season with the Wild.
CANADIENS COULD HAVE A BUSY SUMMER
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Montreal Canadiens will be worth watching in the off-season. He and several colleagues believe Habs general manager Marc Bergevin will be swinging for the fences this summer.
TVA SPORTS: Following the deadline, Renaud Lavoie suggested the Canadiens won’t be the same team next season. He noted Bergevin’s best deals tend to be made in the summer. However, he would be surprised if winger Tomas Tatar and defenseman Jeff Petry are moved. Both are a year away from unrestricted free agent status.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $63 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21, the Canadiens has Max Domi and Victor Mete as their noteworthy free agents, and both are restricted free agents. Domi had arbitration rights, which has sparked speculation over his future in Montreal.
Assuming those two are re-signed, the Habs will have sufficient salary-cap room to boost their roster with a significant addition via the UFA market. However, enticing UFA stars to Montreal has usually proven a difficult task.
That could force Bergevin into the trade market. Perhaps he dangles Domi as trade bait if his contract talks get contentious. A really big move would be shopping goalie Carey Price or defenseman Shea Weber, but unless they want out, I don’t see either guy moving on this summer.
Bergevin does have considerable depth in draft picks (14) in this year’s draft. I daresay he’ll draw upon that for trade bait, perhaps by targeting a cap-strapped club looking to shed salary.
WHY THE PANTHERS DIDN’T GET SKJEI
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Florida Panthers would have loved to acquire Brady Skjei before the New York Rangers traded him to the Carolina Hurricanes. Two sources claim the Panthers’ limited salary-cap space limited them to attempting a dollar-in, dollar-out trade. He thinks the Panthers offered Mike Matheson for Skjei, but that move didn’t make sense cap-wise for the Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson’s name surfaced in the rumor mill in the weeks leading up to the recent trade deadline. If the Panthers once again fail to reach the playoffs, perhaps he’ll become part of an off-season roster shakeup.