Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 20, 2020
Some recent Bruins and Senators speculation in today’s NHL rumor roundup.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty was asked if there’s any truth to recent rumors linking the Bruins to Mike Hoffman. While Haggerty believes the Bruins could be interested in the free-agent winger he doesn’t believe they’re close to signing him unless he’s willing to accept a one-year, $3.5 million contract. They only have $3.6 million in cap space.
Hoffman reportedly seeks a one-year deal starting at $5.5 million. Haggerty feels he could get something in the $5 million range from somebody. He acknowledged the Bruins could put sidelined winger David Pastrnak on long-term injury reserve to start the season to free up sufficient wiggle room to sign Hoffman. However, he doesn’t see them going that route with Pastrnak due to return in February.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Hoffman agrees to a more affordable salary or the Bruins make a cost-cutting deal, I don’t see him suiting up for Boston this season. I still think their priority is addressing the left side of their blueline.
Haggerty cites colleague Jimmy Murphy shooting down a rumor suggesting the Bruins ship winger Ondrej Kase to the Calgary Flames for defenseman Noah Hanifin. Murphy indicates that rumor was an idea proposed by a reporter and not actually discussed by the Bruins and Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That proposal would certainly help the Bruins shore up the depth on the left side of their blueline. However, it makes no sense for the Flames.
Kase has one 20-goal season during his short, injury-ravaged NHL career. He really struggled to adjust with the Bruins after they acquired him from the Anaheim Ducks last season, with one assist in six regular-season games and four assists in 11 playoff contests.
THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian was recently asked in a mailbag segment who she thought would become the first Ottawa Senators player to be traded this season. She observed they have five potential unrestricted free agents, which are the type of players typically moved before the trade deadline.
She points out goaltender Anders Nilsson is battling concussion issues, defenseman Erik Gudbranson carries a big cap hit ($4 million) for what he brings to the ice, while forward Artem Anisimov also has a significant cap hit ($4.45 million) and struggled with injuries last season.
That leaves Alex Galchenyuk and Mike Reilly. The latter could be the most likely trade candidate as he’s shown he can be a capable puck-moving defenseman with the Senators. Galcheyuk could also attract some interest if he had a good offensive season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t rule out Gudbranson or Anisimov also becoming trade candidates near the deadline. Much will depend upon their performances this season but they could be enticing to a playoff contender.
Everyone writes off Gudbranson’s value but teams still keep trading for him. I can see him landing with a playoff contender if the Sens agree to pick up part of his cap hit. A healthy season could make Anisimov worthwhile as an experienced depth forward.
The Senators won’t get much for any of those UFAs. Nevertheless, they will get some draft picks they can stockpile for off-season deals with cap-strapped clubs.