Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 23, 2020
The NHL Trade Deadline is 3 PM ET on Monday, Feb. 24. Check out the latest on Joe Thornton, Tyson Barrie, Chris Kreider, Robin Lehner, and many more in the Sunday rumor roundup.
UPDATE ON JOE THORNTON
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz reports Joe Thornton admits it would be tempting to accept a trade to a Stanley Cup contender. The long-time Sharks center has a full no-movement clause. Thornton said he doesn’t feel that this is his final NHL season. He also acknowledged the possibility of getting traded to another club and returning to the Sharks in the summer.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW (stick tap to Shawn Lamba for the link): Adrian Dater reports the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, and Pittsburgh Penguins are apparently on Thornton’s shortlist of destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if Jumbo Joe will accept an opportunity to join a Stanley Cup contender. Just because the Avs, Bruins, Bolts, Stars, and Pens are supposedly on his shortlist doesn’t mean any of them will make a pitch.
It could also come down to what’s being offered for Thornton. He’s one of the greatest playmakers in NHL history and remains well-respected around the league, but the 40-year-old is also well past his prime.
BARRIE LINKED TO THE FLAMES, CANUCKS AND GOLDEN KNIGHTS
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights are among the clubs looking to potentially acquire Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie. If Barrie is traded, Elliotte Friedman said they won’t do it unless somebody can tide them over until Morgan Rielly and Cody Ceci return sometime in March. They’d also want some futures, either for themselves or to use elsewhere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After that embarrassing loss to the Hurricanes last night, I’m not sure if the Leafs can get a suitable return to make a Barrie trade worthwhile. They’ll either want an established defenseman or future assets that can be flipped to another club to bring in that type of blueliner. It’s not as though Barrie’s performance this season warrants that type of return. We’ll see.
HURRICANES MONITORING LEHNER OR CRAWFORD
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the Carolina Hurricanes were already in the market for goaltenders before James Reimer and Petr Mrazek getting sidelined in last night’s game against Toronto. They were eyeing Chicago Blackhawks netminders Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford. Depending on the extent of the injuries to Riemer and Mrazek, they could increase their efforts to land a goalie.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Mrazek and Reimer are seriously hurt, the Hurricanes could be forced to overpay for a replacement goalie. You can bet the Blackhawks will try to take advantage of the situation if the Canes come calling.
LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry has garnered plenty of recent attention leading up to Monday’s trade deadline. However, Friedman expects Petry will remain with the Habs because they’ve set a big asking price.
TVA SPORTS: Louis Jean reports the Colorado Avalanche could have interest in Ilya Kovalchuk. The winger’s agent said contract talks with the Canadiens would continue Sunday. If his client isn’t traded, perhaps an agreement on a one-year contract extension could be quickly reached.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin could surprise us by tomorrow. Maybe he finds a suitable offer for Petry. Maybe he opts to keep Kovalchuk if there’s insufficient interest in the veteran winger. Maybe he’ll trade Max Domi for another young forward. Maybe he only moves depth players like pending UFA Nate Thompson. Or maybe he’ll do nothing at all.
ISLANDERS ARE BUYERS, BLACKHAWKS AND DEVILS SELLERS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the New York Islanders had an interest in Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu, but he announced yesterday he’s staying put. The Isles are also believed interested in Rangers winger Chris Kreider. While the Rangers have moved back into the playoff chase, Friedman doesn’t think that means they’ll hang onto Kreider. If they can’t re-sign him, they’ll likely move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One way or another, we’ll have an end to the Kreider trade chatter by 3 pm ET tomorrow.
There’s lots of interest in New Jersey Devils wingers Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Palmieri, though it’ll take a significant offer to acquire the latter. Pending UFA defenseman Sami Vatanen remains sidelined with a bruised leg, but Friedman feels a team that needs offense from the blueline could come calling.
Chris Johnston believes the Chicago Blackhawks will be among the big sellers. They could attempt to move Robin Lehner or Corey Crawford. Defenseman Erik Gustafsson was left back in Chicago as the Hawks left on a road trip today. Gustafsson has been linked to the Vegas Golden Knights, but Johnston believes he’ll be heading somewhere else. He also believes winger Brandon Saad could be had for the right price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That “right price” for Saad? Maybe a good young forward with an affordable cap hit. Perhaps a first-round pick, or a second and a top prospect. Some of you might scoff at those proposals, but given what we’ve seen in recent deals, my suggestions aren’t far-fetched.
NO BIG DEADLINE MOVES FOR THE JACKETS?
THE ATHLETIC: A year after the Columbus Blue Jackets were major buyers at the trade deadline, Aaron Portzline expects they’ll be quiet this time around. The club is ravaged by injuries, leaving little depth to draw upon for trade bait. Winger Josh Anderson has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill, but there’s uncertainty over when he’ll return from shoulder surgery. GM Jarmo Kekalainen won’t trade his first-round pick this year. They also lack second- and third-round picks this year.
COULD THE AVALANCHE MOST TYSON JOST?
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the Colorado Avalanche are looking to acquire a goaltender or some help up front. He feels young Avs center Tyson Jost could be moved on Monday.