Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 31, 2021
The latest Vince Dunn speculation plus reports of the Flames’ Sam Bennett and the Canadiens’ Victor Mete requesting trades in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SUGGESTED DESTINATIONS FOR DUNN
THE SCORE: Josh Wegman suggested the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets as potential destinations for Vince Dunn. Reports emerged last week indicating the St. Louis Blues were shopping the 24-year-old defenseman.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports sources claiming Jim Rutherford was closing in on a trade for Dunn before he abruptly stepped down last week as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ general manager. The return for the Blues isn’t known.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty wonders if the Bruins should get into the bidding for Dunn. He notes the blueliner carries an affordable $1.875 million cap hit on a one-year contract, suggesting he could fill their requirement for a left-shot defenseman. If the Bruins were to pursue Dunn, Haggerty proposed offering up winger Anders Bjork as part of a package.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The asking price for Dunn is said to be a first-round pick, though I think the Blues could settle for a second-rounder if that return isn’t available. They can’t afford to take back any salary because of their limited cap space and must leave room for Vladimir Tarasenko’s eventual return from shoulder surgery later this season.
Those clubs suggested by Wegman could be reluctant to part with a first-rounder. The Senators and Kings each have two second-round picks in the 2021 draft while the Red Wings have three second-rounders. The Rangers lack a second-rounder but have two third-rounders.
The Penguins lack picks in the first, third and fourth rounds of this year’s draft. Rutherford has a well-earned reputation as a wheeler-dealer but I don’t think he’d part with his second-rounder and leave his club without picks in the first four rounds of the draft. Maybe he was offering up something else from his 2022 picks or a prospect to the Blues.
BENNETT REQUESTS A TRADE
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the agent for Sam Bennett confirms his client might want a change of scenery. Darren Ferris said the 24-year-old Flames forward would like it to be considered. The Flames aren’t commenting and Friedman said the club isn’t rushing to move him because they like their depth at center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett’s been the subject of trade speculation for some time but nothing ever came of it. This is the first time we’re hearing from his camp that he would like the club to consider a trade. He’s been seeing checking-line minutes and could seek a bigger role.
Cap Friendly indicates Bennett’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at season’s end. Flames management could hang onto him for the remainder of the season and then attempt to trade him during the offseason.
CANADIENS DENY METE TRADE REQUEST RUMOR
TSN: Salim Nadim Valji reports Victor Mete formally requested a trade from the Montreal Canadiens. The 22-year-old defenseman has been a healthy scratch for all seven of the Habs games thus far this season.
Valji said Mete’s agent, Darren Ferris, will work with the Canadiens to find a trade partner. However, Pierre LeBrun subsequently reported Montreal GM Marc Bergevin denied the story. “Not true and not trading him,” Bergevin said via text message.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll likely get more details from one or both sides about this story within the next day or two. There was speculation last week suggesting some teams were monitoring Mete’s status with the Canadiens.