NHL Rumor Mill – February 8, 2021
A suggested swap of Jake Virtanen for Jake DeBrusk plus the latest on Sam Bennett and the Penguins search for a new general manager in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WOULD VIRTANEN FOR DEBRUSK MAKE SENSE FOR BRUINS & CANUCKS?
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports a source last September told him the Boston Bruins had trade talks with the Vancouver Canucks regarding winger Jake Virtanen. Sources tell Murphy the Bruins remain interested as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils. One source wondered if the Bruins would offer up winger Jake DeBrusk for Virtanen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Virtanen’s done very little this season to improve his trade value. Those clubs linked to him might have some interest but I doubt any of them will offer up anything of any real value to the Canucks. They’ll also probably want the Canucks to pick up a portion of Virtanen’s $2.55 million annual average value.
DeBrusk might be available in the trade market but I doubt the Bruins would swap him for Virtanen. The Canucks, on the other hand, would probably do it in a heartbeat.
The Bruins winger has struggled with consistency and is having his difficulties this season with just one point in six games. However, he reached the 40-point plateau in his first two seasons and might’ve done so in 2019-20 if not for COVID-19 derailing the regular season. DeBrusk’s body of work is better than Virtanen’s.
LATEST ON BENNETT
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Flames forward Sam Bennett stickhandled around questions about his trade request, preferring to leave that between his agent and Flames general manager Brad Treliving. However, he also didn’t deny the speculation, leading Gilbertson to conclude the 24-year-old Bennett wants out.
It’s been over a week since the report of Bennett’s request. Gilbertson feels Treliving is patiently awaiting the right offer.
Gilbertson mused over whether the Flames GM will want a player of similar skills and grit, “ideally in a right-hand package” or if they’re angling for a pick or prospect to shed Bennett’s salary in order to use the cap space for something else. He also wondered if Treliving could acquire an asset that could be protected in this summer’s expansion draft. Quarantine regulations are also a consideration if they ship Bennett to an American team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation the Flames and New York Rangers are discussing a move that would send Bennett to the Blueshirts, perhaps for disgruntled defenseman Tony DeAngelo. Sportsnet’s Eric Francis claimed the Flames weren’t interested in DeAngelo but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks claimed otherwise.
UPDATE ON THE PENGUINS’ GM SEARCH
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday the Pittsburgh Penguins search for a new general manager has been narrowed down to eight candidates. In addition to acting GM Patrik Allvin, they’ve also spoken with Kevin Weekes, John Fergson Jr. Michael Futa, Ron Hextall, Mark Hunter, Jason Karmanos and Chris MacFarland.
Friedman said the Penguins could add more candidates but they want to trim the list further and set up the next round of interviews with team owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle.