NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2021
The latest on Filip Forsberg and a suggestion for the Penguins to target a Leafs defenseman in the trade market in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Adam Vingan was asked if the Nashville Predators have held any contract talks with Filip Forsberg. His agent, J.P. Barry, told Vingan those discussions have not started but anticipated they could begin at some point in the season.
Forsberg is in the final season of a six-year, $36-million contract. Vingan speculates Barry could push for his client to become the Predators’ highest-paid forward, exceeding the $8 million annually earned by Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene.
Another reader wondered if Forsberg’s latest injury (upper body, week-to-week) could affect those talks. The 27-year-old winger had already missed a total of 56 games over the previous four seasons to injury. While Forsberg isn’t a reckless player, his latest injury is a reminder of how risky it is for the Predators to sign him to a contract extension.
Vingan suggested Predators general manager David Poile tread carefully in negotiations. He also suggested an argument could be made for Poile to shop Forsberg before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Poile has indicated his preference to signing Forsberg but I doubt he wants to repeat the mistakes he made with Johansen and Duchene. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Predators GM shops Forsberg if a contract extension isn’t ready before the March 21 trade deadline. Despite his recent history of injuries, Forsberg would draw considerable interest from playoff contenders if he becomes available in March.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski suggested the Penguins target Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl in order to shore up a blueline that has been depleted at times already this season by injuries and COVID-19. Young rearguard Pierre-Olivier Joseph still doesn’t appear while there are questions if Juuso Riikola will reach NHL regular status.
Recent reports out of Toronto indicate the Leafs are shopping a right-side defenseman. While the 29-year-old Holl won’t light up the scoreboard, the 6’4”, 210-pounder is a physical blueliner who can clear traffic around the Penguins net and block shots. He also carries an affordable $2 million cap hit through 2022-23.
The cap-strapped Penguins would have to get creative to acquire Holl but he’d be an immediate upgrade. Kingerski recommended the Penguins offer up goaltender Louis Domingue in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kingerski also proposed the Penguins look at the Buffalo Sabres’ Mark Pysyk but he could be harder to acquire as he’s earning second-pairing minutes. Meanwhile, Holl has been a healthy scratch for the past five games.
It remains to be seen if there’s a deal to be had between the Penguins and Leafs regarding Holl. He shouldn’t cost that much to acquire but there doesn’t appear to be much interest in him thus far. The Leafs are also rumored to be willing to entertain offers for Travis Dermott.