Five Players Who Won’t Be Moved At The 2020 NHL Trade Deadline
The latest on Duncan Keith, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, plus updates on the Flyers and Stars in today’s NHL rumor mill.
KEITH NOT APPROACHED ABOUT WAIVING HIS NMC
THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus reports Duncan Keith has not been approached by Chicago Blackhawks management about waiving his no-movement clause. The 36-year-old defenseman indicates he wants to stay with the Blackhawks. Lazerus believes Keith will stay put as long as the club keeps aiming to reach the playoffs. He feels the veteran blueliner doesn’t want to be part of a lengthy rebuild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lazerus observed Keith has surfaced in trade speculation linking him to Florida, Toronto, Edmonton, and Carolina. His name also popped up briefly in last season’s rumor mill. Unless the Hawks change management and start tearing down the roster, Keith will stay in Chicago.
COULD THE SHARKS CONSIDER MOVING BURNS OR VLASIC?
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt believes Brenden Dillon is the most likely member of the San Jose Sharks defense corps to be moved before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Nevertheless, Witt wonders if there could be a market for Brent Burns or Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
Either player could fetch a significant haul for the Sharks. Witt suggests Vlasic might be a good fit with his hometown club, the Montreal Canadiens, while the Columbus Blue Jackets have the salary-cap space to absorb Burns’ expensive contract. Vlasic has a no-movement clause while Burns has a modified no-trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Witt is just spitballing here. Burns or Vlasic would bring a nice return, but unless either guy askes for a trade, they’re not going anywhere. Burns’ modified no-trade is a three-team trade list, which is almost as ironclad as a no-movement, especially if that list includes California rivals like the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings.
COULD THE FLYERS GO BARGAIN-HUNTING AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?
THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor doubts the Philadelphia Flyers will target players at the top of the trade market before the upcoming deadline. A lack of salary-cap space and the Flyers’ slim Stanley Cup odds makes it unlikely they’ll part with young assets for a notable rental player.
If they do pursue some depth at the deadline, it’ll likely be on their forward lines. Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau would be a good fit, but O’Connor doubts they’ll part with a first-round pick to get him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher could surprise us with a dollar-for-dollar swap, perhaps by dangling defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, but the latter’s struggles this season probably hurt his trade value. If Fletcher attempts to improve his club, it’ll be through the bargain bin. They’ve got just over $2 million in projected trade deadline salary-cap space.
STARS GM KEEPING HIS OPTIONS OPEN
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports Stars GM Jim Nill intends to keep his options open leading up to the trade deadline. He’ll look for offensive help without mortgaging his future, and doesn’t rule out a player-for-player hockey trade. The Stars lack trade currency in the form of prospects, draft picks, and salary-cap space. Pursuing a rental player might not be the best option.
DeFranks suggests New Jersey Devils winger Blake Coleman could be an affordable option. He carries a cost-effective $1.8-million annual average value through 2020-21. However, what makes Coleman enticing to the Stars also makes him attractive to other clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sitting third in the Central Division with 71 points, the Stars are nine points ahead of the fourth-place Winnipeg Jets, who sit one point out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Stars are also one point behind the second-place Colorado Avalanche and three back of the Conference-leading St. Louis Blues.
In other words, Nill isn’t under pressure to make a big splash. While he could make a depth move, he could stand pat if there’s nothing suitable in the trade market.
The latest on the Canadiens and Sharks plus updates on Jeff Carter and Erik Gustafsson in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
COULD THE CANADIENS SHOP KOVALCHUK, DOMI OR TATAR?
SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Chris Johnston reports the Montreal Canadiens are very pleased with the performance of Ilya Kovalchuk. Earlier this month, they signed the veteran winger to a one-year, prorated $700K contract. He’s got eight points in as many games, including four goals. As the Canadiens get healthier coming out of the upcoming All-Star break and with the Feb. 24 trade deadline getting close, Johnston believes Kovalchuk could become a trade asset that lands the Habs a draft pick.
Earlier in the week, Johnston’s colleague Eric Engels observed Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin faces some difficult decisions in the coming weeks. If leading scorer Tomas Tatar’s value in the trade market is high, Engels suggests Bergevin should explore the winger’s value in the trade market. He also feels the same about defenseman Jeff Petry, but acknowledged it would take a significant offer to tempt Bergevin as youngers blueliners Cale Fleury and Josh Brooks are at least a couple of years away from becoming top-four blueliners.
If the Canadiens can’t find a suitable return for Kovalchuk, Engels proposes attempting to re-sign the veteran winger.
TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie believes the Canadiens will be sellers leading up to the trade deadline. He feels they should move Kovalchuk if he can fetch a second-round selection. He also thinks a team willing to do a “problem swap” could come calling about Max Domi. Lajoie lists Nick Cousins, Dale Weise, Jordan Weal, and Brett Kulak as other trade candidates.
LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Jonathan Bernier also ponders what the Habs could get for Kovalchuk in the trade market. He reminds us that the New Jersey Devils traded Brian Boyle last season to the Nashville Predators for a second-round pick. In 2017, the Detroit Red Wings sent winger Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for a third-round and Dylan McIlrath, while the Colorado Avalanche got a conditional fourth from the LA Kings for Jarome Iginla.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk’s thriving thus far in Montreal. If the Canadiens somehow surge back into the playoff chase in a month, they could hang onto him for the remainder of the season. If not, I don’t think it’s far-fetched to suggest they could get a second- or a third-round in return if he maintains his point-per-game pace.
Domi’s name has surfaced a couple of times in recent speculation. While there’s been some grumbling in the Montreal media over his temper, consistency, and supposedly selfish play, the 24-year-old reached a career-high 72 points last season and is on pace for a respectable 55 points. I’m not convinced that he’s in any danger of getting traded.
Tatar, meanwhile, has another year remaining on his contract. Bergevin doesn’t have to shop the 29-year-old winger this season, but it might not hurt to gauge his value in the trade market.
COULD CARTER HIT THE TRADE BLOCK?
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall wonders if LA Kings center and former Flyer Jeff Carter might be available at the trade deadline. The 35-year-old Carter is under contract through 2021-22 with an annual average salary of over $5.2 million. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup champion and a four-time 30-goal scorer who’s on pace for 23 goals this season.
Hall’s colleague John Clark said the Flyers discussed the possibility of trading for Carter. While he has fond memories of his years in Philadelphia, Carter said he doesn’t want to leave Los Angeles. “I love playing in L.A. and being a part of this team,” he said. “We’ll see where it goes.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carter surfaced in the rumor mill midway through last season. A report claimed he could retire if traded, but he denied it. Carter lacks no-trade protection, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the rebuilding Kings looked into moving him.
Nevertheless, his age and annual average value are significant stumbling blocks. An interested club might insist on the Kings picking up a healthy portion of his salary-cap hit. Given the Flyers’ limited cap space, they can’t afford his full AAV.
BLACKHAWKS LISTENING ON GUSTAFSSON?
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently reported the Chicago Blackhawks have spoken with other clubs about Erik Gustafsson. The 27-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He and Hawks GM Stan Bowman declined to comment regarding a possible contract extension.
A league source believes they’re checking the market value and could circle back before the trade deadline. They were asking mostly about prospects.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Powers that how the Blackhawks fare in the coming weeks will also determine what happens with Gustafsson. If they climb back into the playoff picture, they could hang onto the blueliner for a run at the postseason.
UPDATE ON THE SHARKS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s word San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is embarrassed the first-round pick he gave up as part of the deal for Erik Karlsson could turn into a lottery selection. As a result, he’ll try to get a first-rounder back before the trade deadline. He’ll have to sweeten the pot because none of his pending UFAs (including Brenden Dillon and Melker Karlsson) will fetch a first-rounder.
Garrioch speculates teams could call about Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, and Brent Burns. He also claims New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is sniffing around for a defenseman and should give Wilson a call.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson’s reportedly let it be known he’s not interested in moving a core player. Of course, that could change if someone were to make a significant offer, but I doubt that type of deal takes place before the deadline.
Game recaps, Flames retire Jarome Iginla’s No. 12, Ducks officially re-sign Jakob Silfverberg, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild picked up their fifth straight victory by doubling up the Calgary Flames 4-2, snapping the latter’s seven-game winning streak. The Wild’s Ryan Donato scored to extend his points streak to five games. With 70 points, the Wild hold the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Wild winger Zach Parise missed the game with an undisclosed injury.
Before the game, the Flames honored former captain and future Hall-of-Famer Jarome Iginla by raising his No. 12 to the rafters of the Scotiabank Saddledome.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In my opinion, and with all due respect to Lanny McDonald, Iginla was the greatest player in Flames history. He was also among the elite power forwards of the “Dead Puck Era”, tallying 20-or-more goals 17 times in his 20-season career. He’s going to be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
Sidney Crosby had a four-point performance to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Crosby moved into sole possession of second place on the all-time Penguins goal-scoring list with his 495th career goal. Jakes Guentzel also scored twice for the Penguins (77 points), who moved ahead of the Canadiens (77 points) for the first Eastern wild-card berth on the basis of games in hand.
The Tampa Bay Lightning tied an NHL record by collecting their 50th win in their 66th game by thumping the hapless Ottawa Senators 5-1. The Lightning matched the record set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. They sit atop the NHL’s overall standings with 104 points.
Leon Draisaitl tallied his 40th goal of the season and Mikko Koskinen made 30 saves as the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Draisaitl and Connor McDavid each collected three points. The loss leaves the Jackets (75 points) two points outside of the Eastern Conference playoff standings while the Oilers (63 points) sit seven points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.
The Los Angeles Kings dealt a blow to the Chicago Blackhawks’ playoff hopes with a 6-3 victory. Dustin Brown scored twice and Jonathan Quick turned aside 29 shots. The Kings snapped a 10-game losing skid. Brendan Perlini also scored two goals for the Blackhawks (63 points) who sit seven points out of a postseason berth.
Tuukka Rask made 20 saves and Brad Marchand scored the only goal as the Boston Bruins shut out the New Jersey Devils 1-0. With 87 points, the Bruins remain three up on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Devils were playing without forward Kurtis Gabriel, who received a one-game suspension for boarding Philadelphia Flyers center Nolan Patrick.
The Leafs, meanwhile, defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. John Tavares and Mitch Marner each had a goal and two assists. The Sabres (68 points) playoff hopes are fading as they sit nine points out of a wild-card in the East.
Sebastian Aho scored in overtime as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Florida Panthers 4-3. It was the fifth straight win for the Hurricanes (78 points), who sit one up on the Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Arizona Coyotes picked up their sixth consecutive victory by downing the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes (69 points), who sit one point out of a Western Conference playoff spot. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced defenseman Jason Demers is being sent to their AHL affiliate in Tucson on a two-week conditioning stint. Demers has been sidelined since November with a lower-body injury.
Jamie Benn’s hat trick powered the Dallas Stars to a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Stars (71 points) moved into the first wild-card spot in the West and sit just three points back of the Blues for third in the Central Division. Blues winger Jaden Schwartz received a $5,000.00 fine for cross-checking Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks officially re-signed winger Jakob Silfverberg to a five-year contract extension worth $5.25-million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the deal also comes with a modified no-trade clause in which he submits a 12-team no-trade list. He’s a good two-way winger and a streaky scorer, who reached the 40-point plateau in each of the last two seasons. The raise seems a tad high but he provides the Ducks with much-needed experience and skill on the wing.
NHL.COM: Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry received a two-game suspension for high-sticking Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg.
CBS SPORTS: New York Islanders winger Matt Martin is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 602nd career goal and collected two assists in a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars. Ovechkin moved past Jari Kurri into 19th among the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring leaders. The Capitals (91 points) widen their lead in the Metropolitan Division over the Pittsburgh Penguins by four points. As for the struggling Stars (84 points), they’re two points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Stars forwards Jason Spezza (back) and Brett Ritchie (lower-body) missed the game with injuries.
The New York Islanders kept their fading playoff hopes alive by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist for the Isles (72 points), who sit 10 points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
A hat trick by Artemi Panarin carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers. It was the Jackets’ ninth straight win, moving them into a tie with the Penguins in the Metro Division.
The Florida Panthers moved within one point of the New Jersey Devils by downing the Ottawa Senators 7-2. Jared McCann had a goal and two assists. The Senators were playing without captain Erik Karlsson, who was with his wife following the loss of their unborn child. The couple was expecting a son in April.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Karlsson and his wife. The family asks that we respect their wishes for privacy during this difficult time.
The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1, eliminating the latter from playoff contention for the first time in 10 years. Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 44 saves, Alex Kerfoot scored two goals and center Nathan MacKinnon (two assists) moved into second place in the NHL scoring race with 91 points. With 88 points, Colorado sits two points up on the Anaheim Ducks for the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
The Vegas Golden Knights’ 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks was overshadowed by the first-period departure of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after being struck in the mask by a shot from Brandon Sutter. Vegas coach Gerard Gallant couldn’t provide a post-game update. More information could be made available today.
Kyle Connor scored both goals for the Winnipeg Jets in a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Jets sniper Patrik Laine left the game in the second period after injuring his left leg blocking a shot by Kings defenseman Alec Martinez. Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice doesn’t consider the injury serious. Earlier in the day, the Jets revealed blueliner Jacob Trouba was diagnosed with a concussion. No word as to how long he’ll be sidelined.
A ten-game winless skid is over for the Detroit Red Wings as they edged the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on a shootout goal by Frans Nielsen. The loss dropped the Flyers (86 points) into the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Dylan Larkin scored twice and set up another for the Red Wings. Flyers captain Claude Giroux collected three assists.
The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 3-1 deficit with three unanswered third-period goals to nip the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy set a franchise record with his 41st win of the season. James van Riemsdyk scored twice for the Leafs. Tampa Bay winger Ryan Callahan left the game in the first period with what appeared to be an injured right shoulder. A further update could be provided later today.
Brent Burns collected three assists as the San Jose Sharks picked up their fifth straight win by hammering the New Jersey Devils 6-2. With 91 points, the Sharks hold a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division.
Leon Draisaitl had a goal and three assists as the Edmonton Oilers crushed the Carolina Hurricanes 7-3. Oilers winger Pontus Aberg had a goal and two assists.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins winger David Backes (leg injury) is unlikely to play in the club’s upcoming four-game road trip.
TSN: “The league announced Tuesday that GMs want the final decision on video reviews of goalie interference to rest with the hockey operations department in Toronto instead of referees on the ice.”