NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2023
Check out the latest on the Leafs plus more speculation linking the Coyotes to the Flames’ Noah Hanifin in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving is still in contract extension talks with winger William Nylander. He’s also awaiting clarity on defenseman John Klingberg’s hip injury.
Treliving provided no details regarding the contract discussions with the Nylander camp. He remains hopeful of getting the 27-year-old winger signed before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an encouraging sign that the lines of communication between the Leafs and Nylander’s representatives remain open. There’s still no guarantee that a deal could be hammered out before season’s end but the odds are better if there is ongoing dialogue.
Nylander’s outstanding play this season almost certainly ensures he’ll receive a significant raise over his current $6.9 million average annual value. Estimates range from $8.5 million (too low in my opinion) to $12.25 million (too high). I think it’ll land somewhere between $10 million and $11 million annually.
As for Klingberg, Treliving revealed his hip ailment began during the fourth game of this season. He underwent double hip surgery in 2014. The 31-year-old blueliner is being examined by doctors in New York and it’s believed a decision regarding surgery or physical therapy will be made by the end of this week.
The Leafs need to know how long Klingberg will be sidelined. That will determine if they need to find another defenseman and how much cap space they’ll have to do so.
It’s rumored the Leafs are interested in Calgary Flames blueliners Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev. Zadorov recently requested a trade and his agent indicated he has an interest in coming to Toronto, where he would be reunited with Treliving.
TSN: Darren Dreger also recently noted the Leafs’ rumored interest in Tanev given their need for a right-shot defenseman. He also listed former Leaf and current Anaheim Ducks rearguard Ilya Lyubushkin, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Sean Walker, and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Andrew Peeke.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames management isn’t in any rush to move Zadorov or Tanev now that the club has moved up in the standings into a wild-card spot. I doubt the Flyers are that keen to move Walker right now given their ongoing solid play.
The Ducks probably won’t shop Lyubushkin until closer to the March 8 trade deadline. Peeke, however, could be available. Reports earlier this season claimed the Jackets were gauging the trade market on Peeke and Adam Boqvist.
ARE THE COYOTES INTERESTED IN HANIFIN?
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan noted the recent rumors that have linked the Arizona Coyotes to Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin. He said the rumor “has some legs” but indicated their level of pursuit in the 26-year-old pending unrestricted free agent is “a bit exaggerated”.
Morgan acknowledged the Coyotes’ need for someone like Hanifin on their blueline. He thinks they really need another top-four option because offseason acquisition Matt Dumba hasn’t played like one.
If the Coyotes acquire Hanifin, Morgan believes they’d have to do so without giving up any of their top prospects. They’d also have to sign him to a contract extension that would fit within their long-term budget.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those are the two factors that make a Hanifin trade to Arizona unlikely. The Flames will probably want one of the Coyotes’ top prospects as part of the return. Hanifin could also prefer testing the UFA market in July.
I don’t blame the Coyotes for looking into Hanifin’s availability. They’re a club on the rise with a promising future. However, he could prefer joining an already established playoff/Stanley Cup contender.