NHL Rumor Mill – December 17, 2020
Could the Flyers attempt to acquire Jets winger Patrik Laine? Will the Bruins sign Mike Hoffman? Should the Senators bring back Anthony Duclair? Travis Hamonic to Vancouver? Corey Perry to Toronto? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall cites a source claiming the Flyers “have had interest” in Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine. He also pointed out The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported in early October the Flyers and Jets held trade discussions but those talks cooled.
Hall expects the Laine trade speculation will continue throughout 2020-21 due to the winger’s restricted free agent status at season’s end. He anticipates the Flyers’ interest could pick up depending on team needs, the value of trade chips and a greater feel for the season in general.
Landing Laine won’t be easy because of the Jets’ asking price and the Flyers’ ability to make room for the sniper. The flattened salary cap will complicate things, especially with goalie Carter Hart and Travis Sanheim due for new contracts next summer and Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier eligible for UFA status in 2022.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The struggles of the Flyers’ leading scorers during the 2020 playoffs could account for general manager Chuck Fletcher’s rumored interest in Laine. He’d be a good replacement for Giroux if the Flyers let him depart via free agency in 2022.
The Jets will set a high asking price for Laine, especially if he has a strong performance this season. It’s believed they’ll want a top-pairing defenseman in return or a young blueliner with top-two potential as part of a package deal.
Cap Friendly shows the Flyers with over $2.2 million in cap space. They’ll have to give up a salaried player to create room for Laine’s $6.75 million cap hit. Flyers fans will pitch Shayne Gostisbehere but Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could ask for Ivan Provorov straight up or Philippe Myers as part of a package deal.
The Jets could move Laine before the season opens in mid-to-late January, but I believe they’ll hang onto him and see how things unfold during the 2021 offseason. His unhappiness over his second-line role with the Jets could change once he’s reunited with Paul Stastny as his center.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan wonders what’s taking so long for the Boston Bruins and Mike Hoffman to hook up. He believes a one-year deal would suit both sides well, citing TSN’s Dave Poulin considering Hoffman a good fit with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk on the Bruins’ second line. Brennan acknowledged they’ll have to shed some salary to make room for Hoffman but believes GM Don Sweeney could pull it off.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brennan and Poulin aren’t the only pundits floating the notion of Hoffman signing with the Bruins. Wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak could miss the start of the season recovering from offseason injuries but they won’t be out of action for long.
The Bruins have over $2.9 million in cap space but he’s reportedly seeking a one-year deal starting at $5.5 million. That explains why the two sides haven’t “hooked up” yet. The bigger concern for the Bruins could be a blueline weakened by the departure of Torey Krug to St. Louis and uncertainty over Zdeno Chara’s status.
Brennan also cited Poulin suggesting Anthony Duclair should pick up the phone and call Senators GM Pierre Dorion. He agrees with Poulin that the Senators remain the best fit for the 25-year-old winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out Duclair returning to the Senators but it’ll certainly be on their terms. He had his chance to get a reportedly reasonable short-term deal in Ottawa but decided to act as his own agent and test the market. Maybe he’s already got a deal lined up with another club that’s awaiting word on the start of the season before officially announcing the contract. We’ll find out soon enough.
Poulin also sees UFA defenseman Travis Hamonic joining the Vancouver Canucks and advised UFA winger Corey Perry to home to the Toronto Maple Leafs. “Join Jason Spezza and Joe Thornton and have some fun. They won’t need you until the playoffs anyway.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could get some wiggle room to sign Hamonic by placing Micheal Ferland ($3.5 million AAV) on LTIR. They could also demote trade or demote one of their 15 forwards in a cost-cutting move for Hamonic. However, I still think the Manitoba native could end up signing with the Jets when they place Bryan Little ($5.29 million AAV) on LTIR.
The Leafs have Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Wayne Simmonds and Jimmy Vesey as their right wingers for this season. Nylander or Vesey could shift to left wing to make room for Perry, but the Leafs are already above the cap by over $1.04 million. They’ll get under the cap by demoting a player or two but that still won’t leave room for Perry unless they do some more cap juggling, maybe by acquiring an LTIR contract or a cost-cutting trade.