NHL Rumor Mill – November 29, 2023
The latest on the Oilers, Flames, Hurricanes, Sharks, Flyers, Devils and Panthers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST FROM GARRIOCH’S “INSIDER TRADING”.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch has a collection of trade rumors this week from around the NHL. So let’s dive in…
The Edmonton Oilers continue to look for a goaltender after sending Jack Campbell to the minors. However, it’s believed the front office wants to give new head coach Kris Knoblauch an opportunity to right the ship before trading away assets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Binnington has a full no-trade clause so he’s probably not going anywhere. He also has a $6 million average annual value that the cap-strapped Oilers can’t afford to take on unless they can shed salary in the deal or in a separate move.
Zadorov recently made a very public trade request which apparently hasn’t sat well with his teammates. He’s been linked to Toronto, where former Flames general manager Brad Treliving is the Maple Leafs GM. They’re looking for a defenseman with John Klingberg on long-term injury reserve (LTIR).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cites a league source recently speculating that the Bruins could be interested in Zadorov. The source also noted that the Bruins had been listening for offers for Matt Grzelcyk and wondered if a one-for-one swap was possible.
The Flames could be keeping their options open but I don’t see them moving anyone right now. They’ve risen into wild-card contention in the Western Conference and will likely want to see how things progress before deciding if they’ll be sellers by the March 8 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce was the subject of offseason speculation but the Hurricanes apparently intend to hang onto him and sort out his contract situation once the season is over. DeAngelo, on the other hand, could be available if clubs are seeking an experienced puck-moving rearguard.
San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier is willing to move Mackenzie Blackwood. Several teams have expressed interested in the 26-year-old goaltenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood is playing fairly well this season with the rebuilding Sharks. He also carries an affordable $2.35 million AAV through 2024-25 and lacks no-trade protection. However, the earliest I see him moving could be leading up to the March trade deadline. Blackwood’s future with the Sharks could also depend on whether Grier intends to sign pending UFA goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to a contract extension.
The Flyers are willing to give forward Morgan Frost a fresh start elsewhere because he’s been scratched by head coach John Tortorella. There’s talk they were interested in shipping him to Ottawa for Shane Pinto. However, that was before Pinto was suspended for breaking the league’s gambling rules. Garrioch said the Senators have shown no interest in moving Pinto.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frost could have an opportunity to draw back into the Flyers’ lineup with Noah Cates sidelined for six to eight weeks.
LATEST ON THE DEVILS
NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating that Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald could be looking around for help between the pipes. Friedman noted that Fitzgerald was also interested in boosting his goaltending at the start of the season but has ramped up those efforts as the tandem of Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid continues to struggle.
Nichols noted that Fitzgerald was in the mix for Connor Hellebuyck prior to his re-signing with the Winnipeg Jets. Other options could include the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson, Jake Allen or Sam Montembeault of the Montreal Canadiens, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Carter Hart or Ville Husso, James Reimer or Alex Lyon of the Detroit Red Wings.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted the Devils had spoken with the Calgary Flames regarding defenseman Nikita Zadorov. However, they want to see if their club can regain its “A” game following their sluggish start before going the trade route.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries have also piled up for the Devils this season with key players such as Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Timo Meier sidelined for long periods of time. Perhaps a healthier roster might help them right the ship.
In the meantime, I expect Fitzgerald will keep an eye on the goalie market. Even if the club improves over the course of the season, he could seek an upgrade by the trade deadline if they’re in playoff contention by then.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE PANTHERS AFTER LOSING THE KANE SWEEPSTAKES?
ESPN: Kevin Weekes believes the Florida Panthers will shift their focus to re-signing pending free agents such as Sam Reinhart, Gustav Forsling and Brandon Montour now that the Patrick Kane sweepstakes has ended.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers GM Bill Zito remains hopeful of getting Reinhart under contract. The rise in the salary cap for next season could make it possible for Zito to re-sign everyone provided they take the decision to accept less money to stay. That’s what Aleksander Barkov did while Matthew Tkachuk took less than market value to join the Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart will be the most expensive to re-sign. He’s earning an AAV of $6.5 million but is on pace for a career-high season as he leads the Panthers with 15 goals and 27 points in 22 games.