Updates on the Penguins, Stars, and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST DERICK BRASSARD SPECULATION
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said his acquisition of center Joseph Blandisi from the Anaheim Ducks wasn’t tied to a possible move of Derick Brassard. He claimed he swapped Derek Grant for Blandisi because of concern he’d lose Grant for nothing via waivers if he attempted to demote him.
Mackey noted there’s growing speculation suggesting the Penguins will trade Brassard but Rutherford said he doesn’t know where it’s coming from. “Media people keep asking about him. We haven’t taken any position one way or the other. I guess it’s a fun topic of the time right now.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blandisi has since been sent to the Penguins AHL affiliate. For whatever reason, Brassard hasn’t been a good fit as the Penguins third-line center. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s shipped out before the trade deadline to make room for a replacement.
Rutherford won’t publicly admit if he’s trading him. Nevertheless, there was a recent report claiming the Columbus Blue Jackets had asked about the veteran center.
MORE MOVES IN STORE FOR STARS?
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In the wake of the Dallas Stars shipping Devin Shore to Anaheim last week for Andrew Cogliano, Joey Hayden wondered if general manager Jim Nill has more moves up his sleeve before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He noted ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski recently suggested Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist or New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello as possible rentals to bolster the Stars’ offense.
Both possess salary-cap hits between $4.5 to $4.75 million, meaning the Stars would have to free up some dollars to take on one of them. “Should the Stars want to add another piece before next month’s trade deadline, they’ll likely have to shut down Marc Methot (knee), Martin Hanzal (back) or Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches) for the season,” said Hayden. Doing so would free up the necessary cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hayden observes Methot’s cap hit is $4.9 million, Hanzal’s is $4.75 million and Johns is $2.35 million. Cap Friendly indicates the Stars’ current cap space is $2.53 million and $4.8 million at the deadline. Putting one of those guys on LTIR would provide additional breathing room, especially if they don’t move a salaried player to acquire a scorer.
The asking price for Nyquist could be a first-rounder but the Wings could part with him for a second-rounder. Zuccarello’s recent improvement could also push up his trade value into the second-round pick range.
POSSIBLE COYOTES TRADE CANDIDATES
AZCENTRAL.COM: Richard Morin listed Richard Panik, Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Weal, and Jordan Oesterle as Arizona Coyotes who could come up in trade discussions. Morin considers Panik, a pending UFA winger, the most likely to be moved, suggesting the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild as potential suitors
Goligoski and Hjalmarsson are both signed beyond this season and could attract interest. Goligoski, however, has a full no-movement and Hjalmarsson a 10-team trade list.
Weal, recently acquired from Philadelphia, could have value if he puts up points if he continues skating on the Coyotes’ first line. Oesterle could interest teams seeking an affordable puck-moving defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panik tallied 22 goals in 2016-17 with the Chicago Blackhawks. With 10 goals in 45 games, he could hit the 20-goal mark this season. That could make him a cost-effective option for clubs that miss out on landing some of the biggest fish leading up to the trade deadline. I doubt Goligoski and Hjalmarsson, who signed a two-year contract extension last summer, are going anywhere.