Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 4, 2024
Check out the latest on Jake Guentzel plus updates on the Bruins and Wild in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
LATEST GUENTZEL SPECULATION
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski cited Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos making an off-hand comment during his Friday show that he’d heard the Penguins offered Jake Guentzel a six-year, $50 million contract, but it had not yet been signed.
Kingerski would be surprised if Guentzel rejected such an offer from the Penguins. He might get a little more than that on the open market, but his stats are a little inflated from skating on Sidney Crosby’s wing for most of his career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That rumored offer cited by Kypreos breaks down to an average annual value of $8.33 million. I agree with Kingerski that it’s unlikely Guentzel would reject that deal unless it comes without some no-trade protection. That could be a sticking point as a lot of high-end pending unrestricted free agents prefer to have no-trade or no-movement clauses to give them a measure of control over the life of their contracts.
The Montreal Canadiens trading Sean Monahan on Friday to the Winnipeg Jets has prompted some to ponder how much the Penguins might get for Guentzel in the trade market. Kingerski looks at what the Canadiens got for Monahan and the Calgary Flames for sending Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks and doubts the Penguins would get significantly more for Guentzel.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kingerski noted that any first-round pick the Penguins might get as part of the return for Guentzel would likely be somewhere between 20th and 32nd overall. Recent draft analysis indicates a 35 percent probability that a player selected in that range will even play 200 career NHL games.
It’ll be interesting to see what Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas does with Guentzel leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. He could put the winger on the trade block if the club remains out of playoff contention or if there’s no progress in contract talks.
What he could fetch in the trade market should be better than what the Flames got for Lindholm and the Canadiens got for Monahan. Kingerski pointed out that there are more buyers than sellers in this year’s trade market but little money to spend. As a result, he believes the return for Guentzel might not be the manna from heaven that some Penguins fans believe it could be.
CAN THE BRUINS AFFORD CHRIS TANEV OR NOAH HANIFIN?
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss pointed out the Bruins still need to add another veteran defenseman to their blueline before the trade deadline. He suggested the Calgary Flames’ Chris Tanev as he would fit the role of physical d-man who can log big minutes, kill penalties, block shots and clear the front of the net.
Goss cited TSN’s Pierre LeBrun indicating the general price tag for Tanev is believed to be a second-round pick plus another asset. A team could probably get him now if they offered up a first-round pick. The Bruins, however, don’t have a second-rounder until 2026 and don’t own a first-rounder in this year’s draft. Giving up their 2025 first-round pick would be too much for a 34-year-old defenseman.
Tanev’s teammate Noah Hanifin would be a better long-term fit. He’s 27 and possesses a very good two-way skill set. However, it would cost the Bruins a lot to acquire him, assuming he’s willing to sign a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s rumored Bruins GM Don Sweeney would love to land Hanifin. That seems something more likely to occur in the offseason when he becomes a UFA and the Bruins have the cap space to pursue him.
Given the Bruins’ lack of tradeable assets and limited salary cap space, I don’t see them landing Tanev or Hanifin by the trade deadline. They’ll have to pursue more affordable options on the blueline.
Boston could make it work if they were to shop Jake DeBrusk. Like Tanev and Hanfin, the 27-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA on July 1.
The Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy suggested the Bruins should attempt to move him in a blockbuster deal if they’re unable to sign him to a contract extension before March 8. However, the Flames might not be interested unless he’s willing to sign a new contract with them. He might not even suit their needs if they’re attempting to rebuild.
POTENTIAL WILD TRADE BAIT.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo and Joe Smith recently looked at the Minnesota Wild’s potential trade candidate if they become a seller by the March 8 trade deadline.
Their pending UFAs include Pat Maroon, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brandon Duhaime, Zach Bogosian and Alex Goligoski. Connor Dewar is due to become a restricted free agent who could be available if the Wild don’t like what it could cost if he takes them to arbitration.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury has come up recently in the rumor mill but it seems unlikely he’ll agree to a trade unless he gets a significant role with a new club. At age 39 and with his career winding down, he’ll be at best a backup with a contender and that might not hold much interest for him.
Maroon and Bogosian have Stanley Cup experience which could make them enticing for contenders seeking affordable playoff depth.