NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2020
Are more moves in store for the Kings? Could Jack Eichel want out of Buffalo if the Sabres miss the playoffs? Are the Oilers and Penguins interested in Tomas Tatar? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE KINGS?
THE ATHLETIC: Prior to the Kings shipping Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford last night to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Lisa Dillman and Josh Cooper looked at possible moves that could be in store for the rebuilding club before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
Dillman suggested the Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, and St. Louis Blues as potential destinations for winger Tyler Toffoli. Possible landing spots for defenseman Alec Martinez included the Leafs and Nashville Predators.
Cooper, meanwhile, noted the trade speculation swirling around Kings’ starting goaltender Jonathan Quick this season. While there’s debate around the league over Quick’s trade value, Cooper feels he’s still important to the Kings, especially their plans for the Seattle expansion draft in 2021.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Kings coach Todd McLellan lobbied for Toffoli to be re-signed, but it’s more likely the winger will be moved by the trade deadline. Friedman also mentioned the Bruins and Flames as possible suitors and feels the Philadelphia Flyers considered the idea. He thinks the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights could have interest in Martinez.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall analyzed the Flyers case for pursuing Toffoli. While the winger would provide a boost to their roster, they’d have difficulty taking on his $4.6 million salary-cap hit. It could mean giving up a decent roster player to make cap room for a player who could depart via free agency in July. Hall isn’t sure if that’s a risk they want to take.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Toffoli and Martinez to be playing elsewhere before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The Leafs’ acquisitions of Campbell and Clifford probably takes them out of the running for Martinez. The Flyers may have discussed Toffoli, but I don’t think they’re keen to move out anyone to make room for a rental player.
The Flames’ trade priorities could shift away from a top-six winger if defenseman Mark Giordano is out long-term. The Predators could move from buyers to sellers if they fail to gain ground in the standings.
I think the Bruins consider Toffoli as their fall-back if they don’t land the Rangers’ Chris Kreider. The Panthers and Golden Knights are believed in the market for a top-four defenseman. Their respective limited cap space, however, means they’ll have to do a dollar-for-dollar swap.
As for Quick, his injury history, declining play, and a hefty contract should keep him with the Kings for at least one more season, after which they could leave him unprotected in the expansion draft.
COULD EICHEL WANT OUT OF BUFFALO?
TSN (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Insider Darren Dreger joined the Overdrive panel yesterday, where they discussed the possibility of the Buffalo Sabres missing the playoffs again and the potential effect upon Jack Eichel. They discussed whether it could push the Sabres captain to publicly demand a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Eichel is committed to turning the Sabres into a playoff club. He’s a superstar in his own right and among this season’s top-10 scorers. He’s doing everything he can to carry this club into the postseason. Sadly, ownership seems disinterested while general manager Jason Botterill isn’t having much success improving the roster.
I don’t think Eichel’s reached the stage where he’s had enough, but the constant losing is going to take its toll. He’s in the second year of an eight-year contract, but if things don’t improve over the next couple of years, I can see him questioning his future with the Sabres.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins could have interest in Montreal Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar. However, the Canadiens feel injuries derailed their season and hope to be competitive in 2020-21. It could take a significant offer to pry Tatar away from Montreal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tatar has one season remaining on his contract, so the Habs aren’t in any rush to move him. They’ll consider it if they get a really good pitch, but they can also wait until the summer for the right offer.
Friedman claims several teams would be shocked if the Anaheim Ducks move Josh Manson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks’ blueline depth combined with their need for young scoring forwards is behind the Manson speculation. He’s in the second year of a four-year contract with a 12-team no-trade list. While they could move Manson if someone offered up a terrific young forward, I don’t think they’re shopping him.
Nashville Predators GM David Poile is willing to consider just about anything on the trade front, with obvious exceptions. He’s not looking to upgrade his goaltending.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Obvious exceptions (to me, anyway) include Pekka Rinne, Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Ellis, and Mattias Ekholm.
Florida Panthers winger Mike Hoffman could be a fall-back for the St. Louis Blues if they fail to acquire New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers seek a top-four defenseman and could use Hoffman as trade bait to address that issue. I don’t think the Blues want to part with any of their top-four d-men.
Some teams have inquired about Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. While the pending UFA’s future remains uncertain, he’s a big part of the Bruins roster this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, the Bruins are all-in this season. Krug’s not going anywhere.
Friedman said the New Jersey Devils are willing to consider hockey trades as well as moving out playoff rentals. Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson has yet to return from injury. Friedman wondered if the Dallas Stars could be in the market for a playmaking forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anderson’s contract status (pending RFA with arbitration rights who’s also a year away from UFA eligibility) explains why he’s popping up in recent trade chatter. However, they’re under no pressure to trade him before the deadline.