Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 28, 2021
EASTERN CONFERENCE CLUB INTERESTED IN EVANDER KANE
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports of “credible chatter” claiming an Eastern Conference team could be interested in acquiring Evander Kane from the San Jose Sharks after the 30-year-old winger’s 21-game suspension for violating NHL COVID protocols ends on Nov. 30. Brooks was quick to point out the New York Rangers are not interested in Kane.
Kane has been dealing with considerable off-ice drama this season involving bankruptcy and a messy divorce. He’s also alienated many of his Sharks teammates. While he apologized for his “mistake” of falsifying his vaccination status, it’s uncertain if he’s been vaccinated for COVID-19.
The Sharks are reportedly willing to retain up to half of Kane’s $7 million annual average value through 2024-25. While his offensive skills would make him a good fit among a club’s top-six forwards, his personal baggage could prove an unwelcome distraction and a PR problem.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng speculated over which Eastern club would be interested in taking Kane off the Sharks’ hands.
One could be the Carolina Hurricanes given their offseason signing of Tony DeAngelo despite his recent history of disciplinary issues. It could be a “culture-strong” franchise like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins with veteran leadership that Kane would immediately respect. Peng also wondered if the Florida Panthers might be interested given Joe Thornton’s close relationship with Kane when Thornton was still with the Sharks.
Peng said his sources still consider a Kane trade unlikely unless the Sharks also sweeten the pot by adding first-round picks or agree to take a bad contract in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peng makes a good point about Kane perhaps fitting in on a club with veterans he looks up to. That was the case in his first couple of years with the Sharks when Thornton and Joe Pavelski were still with the franchise.
Kane wouldn’t be able to get away with any nonsense playing for the Hurricanes’ Rod Brind’Amour. He could also straighten up playing with the Lightning, Capitals and Penguins or by being reunited with Thornton on the Panthers. The question remains whether any of them are willing to take the chance.
HURRICANES CONTACTED STARS ABOUT JOHN KLINGBERG
Klingberg is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He seeks an eight-year extension worth in the mid-$60 million range from the Stars.
Marek said the Stars don’t want to trade Klingberg right now because they have playoff aspirations of their own. However, that hasn’t stopped teams from calling.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t rule out the Stars and Klingberg agreeing to an extension before the trade deadline. They could also keep him as an “own rental” if he’s still unsigned and they’re in playoff contention by the March 21 trade deadline. Still, this situation could be worth following if the Stars fall out of the playoff chase and Klingberg hasn’t signed a new contract leading up to deadline day.
As Marek observed, the Hurricanes aren’t afraid to make bold moves. They were reportedly among the club’s interested in Jack Eichel, their gamble on Tony DeAngelo appears to be working out and they successfully offer-sheeted Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It shouldn’t be surprising that they’re monitoring Klingberg’s situation. For that matter, it wouldn’t be shocking if they acquired Evander Kane.
LATEST ON THE CANUCKS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks had permission from the Montreal Canadiens to speak to Claude Julien about their head-coach job. They’ve also talked about Scott Walker for that role. However, he doesn’t think they’re going down that road for either guy. He said the Canucks are considering some options but nothing long-term until they’re convinced they have the right person or people for those jobs.
THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance considers it an open secret that the Canucks are looking for a replacement for head coach Travis Green. However, it considers it “enormously telling” if the Julien or Walker routes are closed off to them. It could also be indicative that general manager Jim Benning could be running out of room to maneuver.
Harman Dayal recently indicated his belief the Canucks aren’t actively shopping forward J.T. Miller, especially if the club remains in “win-now” mode. His versatility and physical style provides them with some much-needed flexibility and bite.
However, the Canucks must consider if Miller is willing to sign a contract extension and whether it would be worth the high price to sign him. They must also consider if they can still build a winner during the Miller-Bo Horvat window or if a retool would be a better option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks and Montreal Canadiens have been jockeying for this season’s dubious honor of Canada’s most dysfunctional team.
At least the Canadiens seem to be making some progress with the reports they could bring in former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton as a potential president of hockey operations. The Canucks front office, meanwhile, still seem stubbornly resistant to doing anything significant to shake things up. Granted, it’s worthwhile not to be too hasty and risk making a mistake but at some point, they have to act.
Miller probably won’t be traded this season but I can see his role and those of every player on the Canucks being evaluated by a new general manager in the offseason. That’s assuming ownership finally runs out of patience with Benning by that point and finds a suitable replacement by then.