NHL Rumor Mill – February 26, 2021
The latest on Filip Forsberg plus the latest on the Canucks and Kings in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SHOULD THE PREDATORS ENTERTAIN OFFERS FOR FORBERG?
THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s recent reports indicating there are only three untouchables (Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Pekka Rinne) on the Nashville Predators. While he didn’t say they’re dangling Filip Forsberg the wording of his report suggests they wouldn’t immediately dismiss offers for the 26-year-old winger
Forsberg is a scorer in his prime who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. If they shop him, Vingan speculated he could fetch something comparable to what the Ottawa Senators received from the Vegas Golden Knights at the March 2019 trade deadline for Mark Stone. As part of the return, the Sens got highly-touted defense prospect Erik Brannstrom and a second-round pick.
Vingan speculates it could cost the Predators between $7.5 million and $8 million annually to sign Forsberg to a contract extension. They could attempt to clear cap space by trading Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene but moving their respective $8 million annual salary-cap hits will be difficult.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators could listen to offers for Forsberg but I doubt they’ll get anything to their liking at this year’s trade deadline, especially with so many teams capped out because of the effects of COVID-19 upon this season’s salary cap. They could get better offers in the offseason when teams have more cap space to work with and a willingness to make a big move for someone like Forsberg.
I think the Predators prefer keeping Forsberg. He’s their best forward and the only one who consistently produces. If he’s willing to stick around as the Predators rebuild they should try to free up sufficient cap space to keep him. Ditching Johansen or Duchene would go a long way toward that goal but their poor performance and high cap hits hurt their trade value.
LATEST ON THE CANUCKS AND KINGS
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has been working the phones of late seeking a top-nine under-25 forward who can fit with his young core.
THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he’d heard Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen was linked to the Anaheim Ducks but the second year of his deal is a bit of an issue. The Canucks have little to lose at this point by occasionally giving Virtanen top-six minutes to try to bolster his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning could be dangling Virtanen or Adam Gaudette in hopes of bringing in that young forward but I doubt either guy can fetch that return. He could try bundling them into a package deal but that probably won’t draw much interest. Virtanen’s annual average value is $2.55 million while Gaudette ($950K) is a restricted free agent this summer.
Darren Dreger reports Los Angeles King GM Rob Blake seeks a dynamic left-shot defenseman who is 25-or-younger. The Kings have an abundance of forwards. Dreger believes if a deal could be found similar to the Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen swap a few years ago between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators that Blake would be all over it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Finding that type of deal could be difficult during this unusual season but not impossible. We already saw a notable trade last month where the Jackets shipped Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.
Still, I don’t think Blake is in a rush to make that move during this season. If he can’t find what he seeks now he can wait until the offseason to do it.