NHL Rumor Mill – March 9, 2021
An update on Ryan Getzlaf, the Blue Jackets seek a center and the latest on the Oilers and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.
DUCKS HAVEN’T ASKED GETZLAF TO WAIVE NMC
NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray said he has not asked team captain Ryan Getzlaf to consider waiving his no-movement clause. The 35-year-old center is in the final season of an eight-year deal and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“I’m tired of hearing this from Toronto anymore, how his name is out there (in media rumors),” said Murray. “The only way Ryan Getzlaf would go anywhere is if he came to me and said, ‘Bob, can you try and trade me to a contender?’ He added, “he’s not going anywhere.”
Murray said he’s spoken with Getzlaf after next year and they’ve agreed to see how he feels after this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s apparent Murray would prefer if Getzlaf stayed on during the club’s ongoing rebuild but will leave that decision up to him. Maybe the long-time Ducks captain will decide in the coming weeks he’d like one more shot at winning another Stanley Cup before hanging up his skates. Maybe not.
BLUE JACKETS SEEK A FIRST-LINE CENTER
TSN: cited Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen tell The Athletic his club is in the market for a top-line center. “It’s a challenge because they’re just not available,” said Kekalainen. “You usually have to draft and develop one. We did that with one player and now he’s not here.”
Kekalainen was referring to Pierre-Luc Dubois, who asked to be traded and was subsequently shipped to the Winnipeg Jets in January along with a draft pick for forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. He added there could be some centers available in this summer’s free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the reason behind Dubois’ trade request, the fact remains the Jackets are in a difficult spot without a reliable first-line center.
The Blue Jackets tried to bolster their depth at center before the season began by acquiring Max Domi and Mikko Koivu but the former has struggled to adapt while the latter retired after only seven games. They’ve been using Roslovic and Nick Foligno to plug the gap at the first-line center spot but it’s not working out.
Pickings will be slim for first-line centers via this year’s UFA market. The best of the bunch is Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but there’s no certainty he’ll be available. The Blue Jackets will face stiff competition signing him if he decides to test the market. The remainder are aging stars like Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf, Boston’s David Krejci, Buffalo’s Eric Staal and Winnipeg’s Paul Stastny or a struggling center such as Montreal’s Phillip Danault.
LATEST ON THE OILERS AND SENATORS
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently suggested several targets for the Edmonton Oilers leading up to the April 12 trade deadline. Mitchell believes trading for a true No. 1 goaltender would do more to bolster the current roster than anything else. He wonders if GM Ken Holland could find a way to “switch out (Mikko) Koskinen” and acquire Darcy Kuemper from the Arizona Coyotes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but Holland faces long odds acquiring Kuemper. The Coyotes are battling for the final playoff spot in the Honda West Division so they have no reason to trade their starter unless they tumble out of the race before April 12. Even then, they’ll be reluctant to move him with a year remaining on his contract.
A more likely trade option would be Arizona backup Antti Raanta, who becomes a UFA this summer. But as long as the Coyotes remain in the playoff chase they won’t break up their current goalie tandem.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators will have decisions to make regarding their eight pending UFAs leading up to the trade deadline. He considers it “highly doubtful” alternate captain Erik Gudbranson would get moved while Ryan Dzingel only recently joined the lineup from a 14-day quarantine following his acquisition from Carolina last month. Mike Reilly would be an attractive option for teams seeking blueline help but he’s stabilized the Senators’ second pairing with Artem Zub.
Garrioch believes GM Pierre Dorion will listen if a team comes calling and want to give something in return. Given the current environment, however, this could be a quiet deadline for him.