NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2021
Should the Rangers attempt to acquire Patrick Kane? Is it time for the Bruins to move on from Patrice Bergeron? Will the Blackhawks find a market for Marc-Andre Fleury? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks asks if the Rangers should attempt to acquire Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane if they could get a third team involved to make the salary-cap dollars work. Kane, 33, has a year remaining on his contract with a $10.5 million annual cap hit.
“Would you get Kane if it cost you Kaapo Kakko (but not Alexis Lafreniere), Nils Lundkvist (or Zac Jones or Matthew Robertson but not Braden Schneider), Vitali Kravtsov (but not Will Cuyelle or Brennan Othmann) and a 2022 first-rounder?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an interesting flight of fancy by Brooks, who envisions Kane being on a “Super Line” with old teammate Artemi Panarin and center Ryan Strome through next season to bring the Stanley Cup to Broadway for the first time since 1994. He reminds us that former Rangers general managers Emile Francis, Neil Smith and Glen Sather used to make blockbuster deals like this in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
The Blackhawks, however, have yet to name a full-time replacement for departed GM Stan Bowman. Moving Kane, who has a full no-movement clause, might not be something they’re willing to consider leading up to the March trade deadline. Besides, a deal of that magnitude might have to take place in the offseason when teams have more cap dollars to work with and a willingness to spend.
So what do you think, dear readers? Should the Rangers go all-in and try to pry Kane away from the Blackhawks on deadline day? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.
Milbury believes they should consider shopping aging assets like Bergeron (and perhaps even Brad Marchand) and rebuild their bare prospect cupboard if they’re not going to push into the playoffs this season.
Bergeron is due to become a UFA next summer. If he wants to go anywhere, Milbury believes it’ll be to a Stanley Cup contender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think the Bruins front office intends to peddle Bergeron or Marchand or any of their core players this season even if they should be in danger of missing the playoffs by the March trade deadline. They’ll let Bergeron decide what he wants to do once his contract expires.
They’ll try to re-sign him, of course, but that might not be a slam dunk. Much will depend on what type of deal he’ll want and the direction of the Bruins in the coming years. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes his career as a Bruin.
ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports Blackhawks interim general manager Kyle Davidson and his staff are still evaluating their club and haven’t yet decided on their plan for the team. That includes goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.
After talking with some league sources, Kaplan believes the Blackhawks could be open to any trade proposals for Fleury. However, the 36-year-old goaltender has a 10-team no-trade clause. There are also family considerations after he moved them to Chicago following his trade last summer by the Vegas Golden Knights.
It’s also uncertain what the market for Fleury will be. They were only able to get a second-round pick for Robin Lehner two years ago because the goalie market was more limited than they thought. Kaplan said two sources speculated Fleury could be a good fit with the Edmonton Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury got off to a rocky start with the Blackhawks but since early November he’s regained the form that garnered him the Vezina Trophy last season. He was 6-2-0 heading into last night’s game against Montreal with a 1.74 GAA and .944 SP during that period. He picked up a 2-0 shutout against the Canadiens for his 500th career win.
The Blackhawks could get at least a first-round pick for Fleury if he maintains his current level of performance. There should be some playoff contenders keen to bolster their goaltending leading up to the March 21 trade deadline. Whether the Oilers will be among them remains to be seen. That could depend upon Mike Smith’s health over the course of the season.