NHL Rumor Mill – January 2, 2021
The latest on Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic and Matt Dumba in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The trade status of Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic is among Mike McIntyre’s 10 key storylines for the Winnipeg Jets entering training camp.
“Is Patrik Laine here to stay, at least for this season? Will Jack Roslovic’s trade wish be granted or will the restricted free agent ultimately be re-signed?”, asked McIntyre. Their statuses are contributing to what McIntyre called “an air of uncertainty hanging over the team.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer the uncertainty over the futures of Laine and Roslovic, the greater the risk it becomes an unwelcome distraction for the team during the season.
Roslovic’s situation could be resolved first. He’s an RFA whose apparent unhappiness with his role in Winnipeg has bubbled over recently into the media. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s moved before the regular season opens on Jan.13. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will probably want a quality asset in return, like a defenseman who can help the Jets blueline right away.
Laine is under contract for the coming season. While his agent floated the notion of a trade during the offseason, there aren’t any reports of the winger pushing the issue. It seems like his camp and Jets management could take a wait-and-see approach this season.
TWINCITIES.COM: Addressing the No. 1 center position is among Dane Mizutani’s five storylines worth watching as the Minnesota Wild begin training camp on Sunday.
It appears offseason acquisition Marcus Johansson will be their first-line center because there are no other suitable options. Wild GM Bill Guerin gave Johansson a big vote of confidence but the 30-year-old forward struggled at the center position in the past.
Shopping defenseman Matt Dumba could be among the options if the issue needs to be addressed this season. Mizutani pointed out Guerin dangled Dumba as trade bait in the past and he has proven unafraid to pull the trigger on trades he feels will help the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin indicated in November he’s prepared to start this season with Dumba in the lineup. However, he didn’t state the 26-year-old blueliner was untouchable.
Trade speculation dogged Dumba through most of last season. Of the Wild’s top four defensemen, he’s the only one lacking a no-movement clause, meaning Guerin could be forced to expose him in this summer’s expansion draft if he opts to protect just three blueliners.
That issue alone could ensure Dumba remains a topic for media trade chatter, which will only intensify if Johansson can’t get the job done as their first-line center.