NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2023
Could the Blues trade a defenseman? Are the Predators about to become sellers? What’s the latest on the Canadiens and Senators? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
THE BLUES COULD SHOP A DEFENSEMAN
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the St. Louis Blues could give some consideration to moving a defenseman. Their top four of Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk, Torey Krug and Nick Leddy all have no-trade clauses which could complicate things. Nevertheless, Parayko has been drawing the most interest among this group.
SPECTOR’S NOTE Parayko, Krug and Faulk are each earning an average annual value of $6.5 million. Krug and Faulk are signed through 2026-27 and Parayko to 2029-30. Leddy’s AAV is $4 million through 2025-26.
I don’t doubt that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong is willing to entertain offers for those four. As Dreger pointed out, however, they all have full no-trade clauses. It’s possible they could be moved but the potential destinations will be limited. Their cap hits could also prove difficult for most clubs to absorb unless Armstrong retains a portion, which I don’t see him doing for contracts with that much term remaining on them.
WILL THE PREDATORS BECOME TRADE DEADLINE SELLERS?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes the Nashville Predators could become sellers by the March 3 trade deadline if they don’t soon get on a winning streak to salvage their playoff hopes. He believes GM David Poile could be willing to listen to offers on a lot of his players, including Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, Mattias Ekholm or Mikael Granlund.
NHL WATCHER: cited Elliotte Friedman’s recent appearance on The Jeff Marek Show where he said he doesn’t think the Predators will move Ekholm or Alexandre Carrier. Instead, he speculated it could be Dante Fabbro “or something else”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good news is those players all lack no-trade protection. The bad news is that all but Fabbro and Carrier have two years or more remaining on their respective contracts with annual salary-cap hits between $5 million and $8 million per season. Good luck peddling them before the March 3 trade deadline with so many teams carrying limited cap space. I doubt Poile is willing to retain salary on any of them.
Fabbro and Carrier would draw more interest given their more affordable cap hits. They’re both due to become restricted free agents with arbitration rights this summer which could also make them enticing for clubs seeking more than a rental defenseman.
LATEST ON THE CANADIENS
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens could have difficulty drumming up interest in their trade candidates. Sean Monahan and Joel Edmundson are considered to have the most value but their respective injury histories have teams wary about acquiring them. There’s very little interest in Jonathan Drouin while winger Evgeni Dadonov’s improved play of late might draw attention as a secondary trade target.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens got a first-round pick from the Flames last summer for taking Monahan off their hands so he’s already provided them with draft capital going forward. They also got value for Dadonov by acquiring him from the Vegas Golden Knights last summer as it enabled them to shed the entirety of the remainder of Shea Weber’s contract.
Edmundson is under contract through 2023-24 so the Canadiens can try again in the offseason or next season. There was talk of re-signing Sean Monahan before he was sidelined in December. If they can’t move him now, they could sign him to an affordable one-year deal and try again to peddle him if there’s real interest.
As for Drouin, his plethora of injuries and inconsistency torpedoed his trade value. Nevertheless, the Toronto Star’s Nick Kypreos wondered if the Colorado Avalanche might look into reuniting Drouin with his old Halifax Mooseheads teammate Nathan MacKinnon. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.
UPDATE ON THE SENATORS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion dismissed speculation suggesting he might trade winger Alex DeBrincat. He said the 26-year-old winger won’t be traded. “No chance,” said Dorion, adding the club still hopes to re-sign the pending restricted free agent before the end of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators gave up a lot to acquire DeBrincat last summer. Yes, it will be expensive to re-sign him but they’ll get it done, especially with new ownership soon to take over.
The Senators have received lots of calls regarding rugged forward Auston Watson. Dorion is willing to listen to offers for goaltender Cam Talbot, winger Tyler Motte and defenseman Nick Holden. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings have been linked to Talbot but his recent injury hasn’t helped drum up interest.