NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2019

A look at teams with salary-cap space that could be busy this summer, plus the latest on the Oilers and Sabres, in the first NHL rumor mill of 2019.


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites NHL insider Pierre LeBrun’s appearance on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 yesterday discussing clubs with salary-cap space that could be busy in this summer’s free-agent market. He believes the New York Rangers could be on Columbus Blue Jackets’ winger Artemi Panarin’s list of preferred destinations. The Rangers could also be an option for defenseman Erik Karlsson if he doesn’t re-sign with the San Jose Sharks. 

Speculation persists linking the New York Rangers to Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin. (Photo via NHL Images)

LeBrun also noted the Montreal Canadiens will have plenty of salary-cap room for 2019-20. While Montreal hasn’t been a preferred destination for top free agents in the past, their bounce-back performance this season and their cap dollars might make them more attractive.

The San Jose Sharks play in a market that many players prefer to play. If Karlsson doesn’t re-sign with them, they’ll have plenty of cap space to pursue a big-ticket player. 

LeBrun also points out the Vegas Golden Knights still have plenty of cap room, suggesting they could pursue Ottawa Senators winger Mark Stone if he decides to test the market in July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers, Sharks, and Golden Knights will be among the preferred spots for free-agent players this summer. The Canadiens may have cap space but they’ll be a fall-back measure for those who fail to land in one of the other markets. Frankly, I don’t expect any of this summer’s top UFAs will land in Montreal. 


TSN: In the wake of the Edmonton Oilers acquiring depth defensemen Alex Petrovic and Brandon Manning on Sunday, Pierre LeBrun reports they’d love to get a top-four defenseman before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Unfortunately, that type of deal isn’t available to them at the present time, though maybe that might change when teams start falling out of playoff contention. LeBrun believes they’d like to land that top-four blueliner for futures, rather than giving up a top-six forward. 

THE SCORE: Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli met with the Edmonton media yesterday to justify the acquisitions of Petrovic and Manning, claiming it was imperative to shore up his blueline. He also noted better rearguards currently aren’t available. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarelli’s been raked over the coals by Oilers followers over those two moves, though he didn’t give up a lot to bring in two third-pairing defensemen. If he could’ve landed a top-four blueliner without giving up much in return, he would’ve done it by now. Rather than shrugging his shoulders and doing nothing, Chiarelli is at least trying to find solutions to keep his club in playoff contention while waiting for better deals to materialize. Whether they help the Oilers defense remains to be seen. 

The problem with giving futures for that top-four defenseman is it could hurt their long-term development by bringing in a quick fix. Of course, it depends on which blueliner becomes available. If it’s a draft pick or two outside the first round, maybe that deal can be made for a playoff rental. 


THE BUFFALO NEWS:  Mike Harrington recently observed the Sabres are running on fumes offensively of late and wondered if GM Jason Botterill will attempt to address that need soon. He believes Botterill is trying to find help but rival GMs are reluctant to make significant deals right now. The Sabres could use an experienced second-line center. Options could include Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings, Brayden Schenn of the St. Louis Blues and Charlie Coyle of the Minnesota Wild but they won’t come cheap. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carter could be unwilling to accept a trade to Buffalo and retire, leaving the Kings with an annual salary-cap recapture penalty for the next three seasons. The asking price for Schenn or Coyle could be a promising young Sabre such as Casey Mittelstadt. 


NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2018

Latest on Alex Pietrangelo and the Blues, Charlie Coyle, Jimmy Howard and much more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo continues to feature prominently in the NHL rumor mill. (Photo via NHL Images)


SPORTSNET: Noting colleague Nick Kypreos recently wondered if St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was a fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Elliotte Friedman guesses the Blues may have put Pietrangelo in discussions with the Leafs over William Nylander but they opted to retain the winger. One reason why the Leafs would’ve passed is they might be unable to re-sign Pietrangelo to a contract extension next summer. Their preference could be for a defenseman with some affordable term on his contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports word around the league is Blues general manager Doug Armstrong is in open-minded listening mode. He doesn’t sense Pietrangelo’s name being mentioned in trade talks but doesn’t rule out the possibility. LeBrun reminds us the Blues captain has a no-trade clause and there’s no indication he’s unhappy in St. Louis. Still, all bets are off regarding the Blues core players as Armstrong considers possible roster shake-up options.

LeBrun’s colleague Jeremy Rutherford dismissed a rumor attributed to him claiming the Blues had informed teams that all players were available, including Vladimir Taranseko. “Armstrong is listening to anything. To my knowledge, the Blues have NOT called teams or informed teams that everyone is available. But some clubs are under the impression that Army would consider trading anyone, including Tarasenko.”

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin lists the Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche, and Vegas Golden Knights as possible destinations for Pietrangelo.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cites TSN’s Darren Dreger’s Wednesday appearance on NBCSN discussing the Blues. “My sense from talking to managers around the National Hockey League is that Armstrong isn’t willing to part with any of his core, young pieces. Again, he can see the future in St. Louis in some of these young guys like Jaden Schwartz, but he is willing to consider just about anything else.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong may be listening to offers but that doesn’t mean he’s going to trade most of his best players. If he got an incredible offer for one of them he could act on it, but those type of deals are rare during the season. If he’s going to move a guy like Pietrangelo or Tarasenko, I think that happens in the offseason when teams are flush with extra salary-cap dollars and more willing to spend. 

Pietrangelo, who remains sidelined with a hand injury, would attract considerable interest around the league if the Blues are willing to move him. That, however, depends upon his willingness to waive his no-trade clause, something he might not be keen to do. He’s also carrying a $6.5-million annual salary-cap hit through 2019-20, which won’t be easy to move during the season. The Blues would likely have to take back a contract or two as part of the return. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle brushed off ongoing rumors linking him to the Montreal Canadiens. “I’ve been [getting traded] to Montreal since five years ago. So it really means nothing,” said Coyle. Friedman cites Coyle’s versatility, fitness, and work ethic among the factors that could make him an attractive trade chip. While he won’t score a lot of goals, the Wild resisted moving him because they know his value. They told interested teams last summer they wanted to package Coyle with a contract they wanted to move, making it difficult to move him.

Friedman notes the Boston Bruins have been linked to Coyle. He also wonders if the Bruins might consider LA Kings forward Jeff Carter.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun cites a recent report from colleague Michael Russo claiming the Wild were listening to offers for Coyle, listing the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, and Boston Bruins as potential suitors. He doesn’t think there’s much there with the Canadiens and Senators but believes the Bruins may have “kicked tires” on Coyle.

During a subsequent appearance on Montreal’s TSN Radio 690, LeBrun reports the Wild may be talking to teams about Coyle but it doesn’t mean they’re going to move him. He feels the Canadiens are no longer involved.

NBC SPORTS: Joe Haggerty feels Coyle could make a lot of sense for the Bruins if the price is right but thinks there will be bigger and better options available to the Bruins at the trade deadline. He believes the Bruins need a scoring winger on David Krejci’s line once he returns to the second line when sidelined center Patrice Bergeron returns to action. Coyle doesn’t fit that role at this point in his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild GM Paul Fenton may be willing to discuss Coyle with other clubs but it doesn’t mean he’ll find what he’s looking for. My guess is he wants a more reliable young scoring forward, or at least one with the potential to fill that role.  He could still try packaging him with a contract he wants to move (Nino Niederreiter, perhaps?), which will only complicate things and ensure Coyle stays in Minnesota.

The Canadiens were linked to Coyle last season. However, the latest speculation out of Montreal suggests their focus has shifted toward an experienced top-four defenseman. As for the Bruins, Haggerty would prefer they pursue Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds. 


SPORTSNET: Looking at the Philadelphia Flyers’ efforts to find an upgrade between the pipes in a weak trade market for goaltenders, Elliotte Friedman reports the Detroit Red Wings have made it clear they want a first-round pick in return for goaltender Jimmy Howard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think the Wings are serious about moving Howard. He’s played a big role in their overcoming a lousy start to climb back into playoff contention this season and could earn himself a short-term contract extension.

If they do trade him they might not get a first-round pick for him. However, a Wings fan reminded me that Detroit GM Ken Holland managed to get three draft picks, including a first rounder, from the Vegas Golden Knights for Tomas Tatar last season. So perhaps a first for Howard isn’t as far-fetched as it seems. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders if the Chicago Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings would consider trading their starting goaltenders as they look to the future. While Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford and Kings netminder Jonathan Quick have had injury questions they could be big improvements in goal for a number of teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford has a no-movement clause but that ensures he can’t be demoted. He carries a 10-team trade list and an annual cap hit of $6.5 million through 2019-20.  Quick lacks no-trade protection but he carries a $5.8-million annual cap hit through 2022-23, which could be almost as effective as a no-trade clause. Don’t see either guy going anywhere for the foreseeable future. 

The Kings have field inquiries from teams seeking help on defense. Friedman said a rumor linking Jake Muzzin to the Tampa Bay Lightning was debunked. He suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins (among others) could check out Muzzin or currently sidelined Alec Martinez.

Friedman doubts the Edmonton Oilers will move center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers are playing well of late and Nugent-Hopkins has “quietly turned into a really good player.” If Leon Draisaitl is going to remain on Connor McDavid’s line, they need Nugent-Hopkins production behind them.

The Bruins have been linked to New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes. He could also be a good fit with the Colorado Avalanche.

If the Buffalo Sabres make a move to bolster their playoff chances it won’t be for a rental player. “Maybe for a younger player under team control for a while, but not for a rental.”


NHL Rumor Mill – December 12, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – December 12, 2018

Latest on the Flyers, Wild, and Blackhawks in your NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher is trying to be active in the trade market in search of a goaltending upgrade, speaking to half the teams in the league. He’d also like to add a veteran defenseman to his young blueline and a top-nine forward before the Dec. 19th holiday trade freeze. LeBrun said Fletcher won’t force a move if it’s not there, but he’d like to give his roster a shot of adrenaline to remain competitive this year.

Darren Dreger added someone will try to link the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Flyers because of ongoing speculation they need a power forward like Wayne Simmonds or the Carolina Hurricanes’ Micheal Ferland. Leafs management, however, appears more interested in finding a right-shot defenseman.

NBC SPORTS: John Boruk looked at potential free-agent options for Fletcher to target if the Flyers fail to sign Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky this summer. He suggests targets such as Ottawa Senators forwards Mark Stone and Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman.

Boruk also suggests winger Michael Raffl could become a trade chip if Fletcher decides he doesn’t have a future with the Flyers beyond this season. Raffl is due to become an unrestricted free agent next July and could interest a club seeking bottom-six depth. He also has an affordable $2.35-million cap hit for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers aren’t the only club believed seeking trades before the upcoming holiday freeze. The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues are also said to be shopping around. 

Pending UFAs such as Simmonds and Raffl could become trade candidates, though at this stage they will be considered playoff rental players.  Maybe Fletcher will consider swapping one of them for another pending UFA with the thought of re-signing the new addition if he helps improve the Flyers’ performance this season. 

Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle continues to pop up in recent trade speculation (Photo via NHL Images)


TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted a recent report from The Athletic’s Michael Russo claiming Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton is shopping the likes of forward Charlie Coyle. LeBrun believes Fenton is making more calls to see what’s available in the trade market. He believes the Boston Bruins have “kicked tires” on Coyle. While he doesn’t know if anything’s imminent, LeBrun thinks Fenton might be finally ready to act.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since being hired back in May, Fenton has yet to swing a significant trade as he preferred to take some time to evaluate his roster before making a move. He’s now had over two months and could be ready to pull the trigger. 

Russo also said the Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Montreal Canadiens were monitoring Coyle and noted Fenton would also consider moving winger Nino Niederreiter. Coyle or Niederreiter could attract interest from clubs like the Bruins, Senators, and Canadiens that are believed looking around for depth on their forward lines.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun doesn’t believe any of the Chicago Blackhawks core players are in play, in part because they all have no-move contracts. He doubts legacy players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are going anywhere.

LeBrun believes defenseman Duncan Keith would still attract plenty of interest around the league if he became available in the trade market. So far, there’s no evidence to suggest he will be. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun suggested that’s an offseason conversation. If Keith, or any of the Blackhawks carrying full no-movement clauses, doesn’t want to be traded there’s nothing Hawks management can do about it. They can’t bury those players in the minors and won’t banish them to the press box or cut their playing time. 


NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2018

Could the Sharks pursue Mitch Marner next summer? Could the Bruins trade Torey Krug to Edmonton for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? What’s the latest on the Penguins and Wild? Read on for the details in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE MERCURY NEWS: If Erik Karlsson decides not to re-sign with the San Jose Sharks, Paul Gackle suggests general manager Doug Wilson consider pursuing Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner. With the Leafs facing a potential cap crunch next summer attempting to re-sign Marner and Auston Matthews, it’s a situation Wilson could exploit. Marner would bring a valuable injection of youth, speed, and playmaking skills to the Sharks’ forward lines.

Could the San Jose Sharks attempt to pry Mitch Marner away from the Toronto Maple Leafs next summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

If Wilson were to go the offer-sheet route he would have to swing deals with the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres to regain the first-round draft picks he gave up in the trades for Karlsson and Evander Kane. Those picks would be part of the necessary compensation to the Leafs if they were unwilling to match that offer for Marner. 

Gackle acknowledged the difficulty of pitching an offer sheet for Marner. He suggests a more likely scenario is a trade before July 1 if the Leafs feel they cannot afford Marner and Matthews, allowing Wilson to swoop in as he did with Karlsson and Kane. While the cost of acquiring Marner in terms of return and salary would be expensive, Gackle believes it would be worth it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind this is merely speculation on Gackle’s part. It would take considerable creativity on Wilson’s part to go the offer sheet route and I doubt he could make all the pieces fit. A trade is a more likely option but there’s no certainty the Leafs will be entertaining offers for Marner. Still, it will be worthwhile monitoring how the Leafs address that coming salary-cap conundrum. If they decide to re-sign Matthews and move Marner, Wilson would probably be among the suitors. 


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Bob McKenzie was asked about the trade status of Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel during an appearance Saturday on Ottawa’s TSN 1200. He believes Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has only two untouchables: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. While Rutherford might not necessarily want to trade Kessel, he might be open to it for the right offers. If he went down that road, however, the asking price would be expensive. Kessel has three years remaining on his contract and still carries a modified no-trade clause.

McKenzie also believes some teams may have called Rutherford about injured starting goaltender Matt Murray. Like Kessel, he doesn’t think moving Murray is something the Penguins would move into lightly. “I think in a perfect world what the Pittsburgh Penguins would like is for Matt Murray to come back healthy from his injury and play at the top of his game, and not have any issues in goal whatsoever.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Could the Penguins trade Kessel or Murray? Sure. Will they? Not this season and probably not for the foreseeable future.

It’ll take a significant offer to convince Rutherford to part with Kessel. Given the “win-now” mentality in Pittsburgh, a package of draft picks and prospects won’t cut it. As for Murray, they won’t trade him unless Casey DeSmith or Tristan Jarry show they’re capable of stealing the starter’s job away from him. I don’t think they’ve reached that level yet. 


BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter wonders if the Boston Bruins could trade defenseman Torey Krug to the Edmonton Oilers for center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He notes the Bruins could use “an experienced, highly skilled attacker,” while the Oilers could use playmaking help, especially on the blueline.

Porter also points out the Oilers had some interest in Krug last summer and he could look more attractive now. He also believes Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli could be fired if his club fails to reach the playoffs this season.

Porter suggests sweetening the pot by including a promising forward such as Edmonton native Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Ryan Donato or Danton Heinen. Krug has a modified no-trade clause but maybe he’d waive it to play with one of the game’s greats in Oilers center Connor McDavid.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t the first time a Boston pundit has floated the notion of swapping Krug for Nugent-Hopkins (hi, there, Joe Haggerty!) but I don’t believe that deal will ever materialize. All the things Porter listed that make Nugent-Hopkins attractive to the Bruins  (playmaking skills, defensive play, skating, and anticipation) are also what makes him valuable to the Oilers, who’ve recently rebounded under new head coach Ken Hitchcock and climbed back into the playoff race


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently reported that “multiple sources” claim the Minnesota Wild are dangling forward Charlie Coyle in the trade market. It’s believed the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, and Boston Bruins have at least shown interest and are watching Coyle closely. Russo also said there’s “little doubt” Wild GM Paul Fenton would trade three-time 20-goal scorer Nino Niederreiter, who’s struggled with injury and consistency this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having lost center Matt Duchene indefinitely to a recent injury, the Senators could be very interested in Coyle, who could also prove a decent insurance policy in case Duchene departs next summer via free agency. The Canadiens’ interest in Coyle stretches back to last season but their priority this season could be bolstering their top-four defense depth. I can see Coyle being a more reasonable trade option for the Bruins than Nugent-Hopkins. He certainly wouldn’t cost themTorey Krug. 


NHL Rumor Mill – December 3, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – December 3, 2018

Latest on the Leafs, Bruins, and Wild in your NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston reports William Nylander’s new six-year, $41.77-million contract could affect the Toronto Maple Leafs’ efforts to re-sign Jake Gardiner. The 28-year-old defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent next July and is earning an annual average value of $4.05 million on his current deal. The Leafs must also re-sign star forwards Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, who become restricted free agents next summer and will be due to receive significant raises.

Can the Toronto Maple Leafs afford to re-sign Jake Gardiner? (Photo via NHL Images)

Johnston cites colleague Nick Kypreos could command between $6 million to $7 million per season on the open market next summer, though that might not be feasible for the Leafs, who have over $56 million invested in 12 players for 2019-20. Kypreos believes if Gardiner is willing to accept a slight increase over his current cap hit the Leafs would be more than willing to sign him to a long-term deal. Elliotte Friedman suggests using signing bonuses as a way of getting Gardiner to accept less than what he’d get via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could cost around $22 million for the Leafs to get Matthews and Marner under contract, pushing the Leafs’ cap hit to around $78 million committed to 14 players. Even if Gardiner agrees to a slight pay bump, the Leafs won’t have much room to re-sign him and still have enough room to fill out the rest of their roster. They’ll have to shed some salary to free up sufficient cap space or watch Gardiner depart via free agency. 


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty addressed trade suggestions and questions from his readers. Asked about the possibility of adding a power forward, Haggerty suggested Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds could be a good short-term option if he’s available by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: if the Flyers don’t gain ground soon in the Eastern Conference standings, their new general manager (whoever that might be) could try to trade him before the Feb. 25, 2019 deadline. Despite Simmonds’ struggles this season, he could still attract plenty of interest from playoff contenders (like the Bruins) in need of a two-way physical presence on their forward lines. 

To add some secondary scoring, Haggerty suggests dealing from some of their surplus young wingers. He in favor of moving Anders Bjork as he’s not sure Bjork fits into the Bruins’ big picture. They might also have to part with Ryan Donato or Danton Heinen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those three have frequently surfaced in the trade-rumor mill of late. One of them could be playing elsewhere by the trade deadline. 

Regarding the possibility of trading defenseman Torey Krug, Haggerty feels there’s more upside to keeping Krug than in trading him. The only reason to move him would be if there’s significant value for him in the trade market. Haggerty also shoots down the idea of dealing for St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Taransenko, citing the high cost to land him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins aren’t landing Tarasenko and I don’t see the Blues making such an extreme move this season. If they decide to shop Taranseko, it’ll happen in the offseason, perhaps during the 2019 NHL Draft.

As for Krug, he was frequently mentioned in last summer’s trade chatter but that talk has since died away. Seems the Bruins value his puck-moving abilities and offensive contributions. 


THE ATHLETIC: During a recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo was asked about recent speculation claiming the Boston Bruins could be interested in Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle. He believes Coyle might benefit from a fresh start and playing in his hometown. He mentioned Bruins forward Ryan Donato as an intriguing possibility for the Wild. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russo’s colleague Joe McDonald recently reported the Bruins could revisit their offseason interest in Coyle, suggesting it could take packaging one of their young forwards with a draft pick to acquire him. Since then, however, there’s been nothing really new about this speculation. Could be worth watching as Wild GM Paul Fenton continues to evaluate his roster. 

Asked if the Wild should pursue Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, Russo feels it depends on the asking price. He’d also like to see how Puljujarvi performs under new Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Oilers remain reluctant to part with Puljujarvi as they fear he’ll blossom elsewhere. Baring a significant offer, they’re unlikely to move him this season. 


NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2018

Latest on the Bruins, Wild, Canadiens, and Coyotes in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: With Patrice Bergeron sidelined at least four weeks with a rib injury, Joe McDonald reports the Boston Bruins are looking at the possibility of trading for a center. That will depend on whether Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson can handle the first-line center role in Bergeron’s absence.

McDonald claims the Bruins could revisit their offseason interest in Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle, with either Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen, or Anders Bjork packaged with a draft pick heading the other way. Coyle would be seen as a stopgap measure until Bergeron’s return, providing much-needed depth down the middle for the Bruins for the remainder of the season.

The Boston Bruins could have interest in acquiring Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle. (Photo via NHL Images)

 McDonald also suggests St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak or Arizona Coyotes center Derek Stepan as alternative trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyle’s name surfaced last season in the trade-rumor mill. As we’ll see below, he’s considered by some as a potential trade chip for the Wild. If the Bruins are in the market for a center, Coyle seems a more likely trade option than Bozak or Stepan.

The Blues signed Bozak last summer and I don’t think they’re looking at making trades just yet, especially involving one of their recent veteran additions. Given the Coyotes’ lack of depth at center, I don’t think they’re keen to move Stepan unless they’re getting a proven center in return. 


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently speculated over possible Minnesota Wild trade candidates and if the club could pursue a deal to acquire Toronto Maple Leafs restricted free agent William Nylander before Dec. 1.

He dismissed the notion of the Wild landing Nylander, pointing out whatever interest management may have had a month ago has waned since the Wild 11 of their last 16 (13 of their last 18 since Nov. 23). Russo also cites a source claiming general manager Paul Fenton isn’t going there as it’s too complicated, with the Leafs likely to ask for defenseman Matt Dumba and Nylander reportedly seeking over $8 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Leafs are willing to accept Jared Spurgeon instead of Dumba and if the Wild can convince Nylander to accept a more affordable contract, I don’t see the young Swede continuing his NHL career in Minnesota. 

Russo considers Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter among the Wild’s most likely to move candidates. He also suggests they might consider trading pending unrestricted free agent Eric Staal if their season goes off the rails by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wild remain in playoff contention Staal isn’t going anywhere. Russo believes Coyle isn’t a finisher and just lacks a killer instinct while Niederreiter’s current struggles have to be troubling for Wild management. Still, I believe there is a market for either guy if Fenton puts one or both on the trade block. 


THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu lists Charlie Hudon, David Schlemko, Tomas Tatar, Andrew Shaw, and Jordie Benn as possible Montreal Canadiens’ trade candidates, with little-used forward Nikita Schebak as the most likely to go. 

Canadiens coach Claude Julien isn’t pleased with Hudon’s defensive shortcomings. Schlemko’s injury history and $2.1-million salary-cap hit could make him difficult to move. Tatar’s play this season has increased his trade value but also his value to the retooling Canadiens. Shaw is having success skating alongside Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin but Basu speculates GM Marc Bergevin might listen if the price is right.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance yesterday on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman discussed the Florida Panthers’ potential interest in Montreal Canadiens third-string goaltender Charlie Lindgren. He believes the Panthers had interest in the promising Lindgren last season but believes the Canadiens could set a high asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens become sellers it’ll likely be in the New Year, probably in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. Of those who could move, Benn seems the likely option as the Habs will soon have a logjam on the blueline when Shea Weber and Noah Juulsen return from injuries. If call-up Brett Kulak keeps playing as well as he did in last night’s game against Buffalo, it could increase the likelihood of Benn hitting the trade block. 

As for Lindgren, he’s in the first season of a three-year contract and the Canadiens aren’t in any rush to move him. Still, they could use him as trade bait at some point to address another roster need. 


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Morgan recently listed Brendan Perlini, Richard Panik, Dylan Strome, and perhaps Alex Goligoski as potential Arizona Coyotes’ trade candidates. Perlini is struggling to produce, Panik’s a frequent resident in coach Rick Tocchet’s doghouse, while flaws in Strome’s game raise questions over where he’d be playing if Christian Dvorak weren’t sidelined. Meanwhile, Jakob Chychrun could soon be ready to take Goligoski’s place among the Coyotes’ top-four defensemen.