Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 26, 2023
The latest on Patrick Kane plus updates on the Islanders and Coyotes in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
LATEST ON PATRICK KANE
SPORTSNET (via Kukla’s Korner): Elliotte Friedman believes we should learn by early this week when Patrick Kane will finally decide where he’ll play this season. The 35-year-old unrestricted free-agent winger has made it “tougher than an escape room” to figure out where he’s going.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have reportedly pursued Kane since the summer and could offer him the best opportunity to win the Stanley Cup this season. However, the Red Wings have the advantage of salary-cap space if he’s seeking a multi-year deal.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Chris Gawlik noted some recent speculation linking Kane to the Golden Knights. However, he dismissed that notion by pointing out their lack of salary-cap space plus the difficulty they would face in finding a suitable place for him on their roster.
Barring a long-term injury to one of their top-six forwards, the Golden Knights don’t need Kane to win the Stanley Cup this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get the notion of a defending champion wanting to load up for another run at the Cup. Nevertheless, Gawlik does a fine job of pointing out why the Golden Knights probably won’t do it.
COULD PELECH’S INJURY FORCE THE ISLANDERS INTO THE TRADE MARKET?
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple wonders what the New York Islanders will do to replace Adam Pelech, who was placed on long-term injury reserve when he injured his left arm during Friday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Staple noted how the Isles struggled during Pelech’s two previous long absences due to injuries in 2020-21 and last season.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello plucked journeyman defenseman Mike Reilly off waivers Saturday from the Florida Panthers. He’s an affordable stopgap to buy time while Lamoriello looks elsewhere for help if needed.
The Islanders had $700K in cap space prior to Pelech’s injury. Putting him on LTIR enables them to dip into his $5.75 million cap hit. Staple pointed out that recent rumors had Lamoriello inquiring into Calgary Flames defensemen Noah Hanifin and Nikita Zadorov. Another option could be Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Tony DeAngelo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple pointed out that Pelech can come off LTIR as early as Dec. 16 but he could be out until sometime in January if surgery is required. That could be the determining factor whether Lamoriello heads into the trade market. Bear in mind that if they use the LTIR savings to add a defenseman they must be cap-compliant when Pelech is ready to return.
COYOTES SEEKING ADDITIONS TO THEIR ROSTER
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently reported that Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong is actively engaged in trade talks that would involve shipping existing draft picks and prospects out the door to bring in existing NHL talent.
Morgan pointed out how much of a positive impact offseason addition Sean Durzi has made to the Arizona Coyotes’ defense corps. The 25-year-old blueliner is someone who can grow with the club’s young core.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After three years of tearing the roster down, Armstrong has shifted his focus on building up around core players like Clayton Keller and promising future stars such as Logan Cooley. However, don’t expect him to just start shoveling out most of his draft picks and prospects for veterans.
The Coyotes have eight picks in rounds two through four and two picks in round seven of the 2024 draft, six picks through rounds two and three in 2025 and five picks in rounds two and three in 2026. Armstrong can draw on some of them as trade chips to pluck away quality talent from cap-strapped clubs or those who lack draft picks throughout those rounds.
Armstrong won’t be going after aging stars on expiring contracts. Instead, he’ll likely pursue players like Durzi who are in the mid-to-late twenties and could be part of the Coyotes’ long-term plans.