NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2020
Could the Rangers pursue Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? What will the Blue Jackets do with their goalie tandem? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NUGENT-HOPKINS TO THE RANGERS?
Brooks acknowledged the Rangers will attempt to bulk up at center for next season. They could be in the market for a second-line center depending on Ryan Strome’s contract status and Filip Chytil’s readiness. He feels they could defenseman Tony DeAngelo as trade bait.
While Nugent-Hopkins would be a good fit, Brooks doesn’t believe the Rangers will pursue him. He pointed out RNH is only a year away from unrestricted free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could do it if they get permission from the Oilers to speak to the Nugent-Hopkins camp about a contract extension. However, I think the Oilers prefer to retain RNH. If they were to shop him in the off-season (whenever that might be), it’ll be for a second-line winger, not a puck-moving defenseman.
COULD THE BLUE JACKETS TRADE KORPISALO OR MERZLIKINS?
THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required) Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets believe they have two No.1 goaltenders in Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins. There’s an assumption they could trade one of them this summer. Both are restricted free agents with arbitration rights sitting a year away from unrestricted free agent status.
Portzline expects the Jackets won’t accept anything less than two years. It’s unlikely either goalie will accept anything longer than three or four years.
A free-agent goalie market featuring Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vegas’ Robin Lehner, and Chicago’s Corey Crawford could also affect efforts to trade Korpisalo or Merzlikins. Finding the right team and the right deal could also complicate matters.
The Jackets can afford to wait to move either goalie. They also won’t be under pressure to move one before next summer’s expansion draft, as Merzlikins is exempt.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Jackets have over $68.2 million invested in 17 players, with Korpisalo, Merzlikins, and forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Anderson as their notable free agents. They’re in a good position with their goaltenders.
If a club offered up a good young NHL center, they’ll probably act on it. Nevertheless, I think they’ll sign both netminders to two-year deals and see how things shake out.