NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2021
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked what potential return the San Jose Sharks could get if they traded Tomas Hertl. The 28-year-old center is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and recently expressed uncertainty over his future in San Jose.
Kurz speculates the Sharks would want a first-round pick as part of the return. He also believes they’ll have to get a high-end prospect, “preferably someone who could play NHL games ahead of or along the same timeline” as Sharks prospects like William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau. That player could be a center but the declining stock of Ryan Merkley and Brent Burns’ advancing age could make a defenseman just as welcome.
Hertl has a three-team trade list. If he gets traded it could be in part because he believes the Sharks are several years away from Stanley Cup contention. Kurz also feels the Sharks will allow his agent to facilitate a trade somewhere he wants to go if he wants out.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty suggested Hertl as a trade option for the Bruins if Charlie Coyle struggles to replace David Krejci as their second-line center. He proposed offering up a first-rounder and Jack Studnicka if the Sharks center becomes available.
Signing Hertl to a contract extension could be difficult as he’ll seek a big raise over his current annual average value of $5.625 million. The Bruins could try moving Coyle ($5.25 million) or Jake DeBrusk and/or John Moore to make the dollars work.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl is well-respected around the league as a versatile and skillful two-way forward despite a history of knee injuries. He’ll attract plenty of interest if he and the Sharks decide to part company before the March trade deadline. The Bruins could be among the suitors if Coyle can’t get the job done centering their second line.
Giving up a first and a promising young player is a lot to pay for someone who could turn out to be a rental player unless there’s a certainty he’ll re-sign with his new club. A team would have to be a Cup contender or close to it to sacrifice pieces of their future in that way.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter suggests Nashville Predators general manager David Poile should give consideration to trading Filip Forsberg this season. The 27-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA next summer.
Porter points out Forsberg carries a “reasonably price” $6 million AAV and lacks no-trade protection. With the Predators “lacking oomph on the roster” and shipping out veterans like Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson, they might think about peddling him for “exciting prospects and younger NHLers who have yet to peak.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg could become a trade candidate later this season if the Predators are out of contention by the trade deadline. It could cost over $8 million annually to get him under contract but they’re already carrying two $8 million forwards in Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene. Forsberg also might not wish to be part of a rebuild if that’s where Poile is going with the roster. If the Predators are playoff contenders this season, however, Poile could be reluctant to move him.