NHL Rumor Mill – February 19, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – February 19, 2018

Latest on the Flyers plus several general managers are reluctant to spend big on rental players. Details in your NHL rumor mill.


COURIER-POST: With Philadelphia Flyers starting goaltender Brian Elliott sidelined several week and backup Michal Neuvirth suffering an injury in yesterday’s 7-4 win over the New York Rangers, Dave Isaac wonders if general manager Ron Hextall will be forced into the trade market for help between the pipes. Even if Neuvirth isn’t seriously hurt, Isaac notes he’s been inconsistent throughout this season.

The Philadelphia Flyers reportedly rejected an offer of goaltender Petr Mrazek from the Detroit Red Wings (Photo via NHL Images)

 Isaac noted Hextall had recently rejected an offer by the Detroit Red Wings of Petr Mrazek for a third-round pick and wasn’t interested in Wings veteran Jimmy Howard. It also seems unlikely the Arizona Coyotes will part with Annti Raanta. He lists Buffalo’s Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson, Toronto’s Calvin Pickard, San Jose’s Aaron Dell and Colorado’s Jonathan Bernier as possible trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan wondered if Hextall might change his mind about Mrazek if Neuvirth is also out for a lengthy period. He also suggests the Calgary Flames could be a trade option for Mrazek if their starter, Mike Smith, remains out longer than expected with a lower-body injury.

Of those on Isaac’s list, I don’t see Lehner, Dell or Bernier being available. Johnson or Pickard, on the other hand, could be had for the right price but that depends upon Hextall’s willingness to pay it. 


BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney is reluctant to part with his high draft picks, top prospects or good young players, such as defenseman Brandon Carlo, for a rental player. Regarding Carlo, Shinzawa suggests if another team believes there’s more to the 21-year-old blueliner than he’s shown thus far, it could be the Bruins’ best chance to do something big at the deadline. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray is no fan of acquiring rental players, preferring to acquire those he can re-sign. Murray is also unwilling to pay what he considers high prices (according to Stephens, a first-round pick, a top prospect and a young NHL roster player “for starters”) for the best players currently available in the trade market. 

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong isn’t in any mood to part with young talent for a playoff rental. While he still considers his club as a top-10 team, he feels their championship window could be a year or two away from opening. Armstrong could, however, have interest in players with term on his contract, though he’s keeping his cards close to the vest.

Over the weekend, there were reports the Blues were in discussion with the Ottawa Senators regarding forwards Mike Hoffman or Derick Brassard, with St. Louis forwards Robby Fabbri, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka coming up in speculation. Hoffman and Brassard are signed beyond this season. Cap Friendly indicates the Blues also don’t have a lot of salary-cap space for the remainder of 2017-18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney, Murray and Armstrong could make a move to acquire a good player before the trade deadline. However, it’s clear they won’t cave to pressure and overpay for a rental. If those asking prices aren’t lowered, it sounds like they’re willing to pass or consider much more affordable options. 


VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports Canucks GM Jim Benning attempted to clarify the comments he made Saturday during an intermission-panel appearance on Hockey Night in Canada. Benning had said he’d like to add a big player. “Maybe a forward with some physicality, who has the skill to make plays.” On Sunday, however, he told Kuzma his club wants to make hockey trades. “We have some UFAs to see if there’s interest in them and the point I was trying to make is there a hockey trade to be made for somebody with size and strength, who can play in our top nine?”

Regarding struggling defenseman Ben Hutton, Kuzma noted there’s little league interest in the recently-scratched 24-year-old blueliner plus the Canucks are unwilling to give up on him. There’s also little to report on management’s contract negotiations with pending UFA rearguard Erik Gudbranson. Benning indicated conversations are continuing and he remains hopeful of getting a deal done.

The Canucks GM rejected recent trade speculation concerning d-man Chris Tanev. “I’m not looking to trade Chris,” stressed Benning. “General managers call and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t listen, but he’s an important guy who will help our young guys develop.”


NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2018

TSN updates its trade bait board, updates on Jack Johnson and Ben Hutton plus the latest on the Rangers, Sharks and Jets in your NHL Rumor Mill.

New York Rangers winger Michael Grabner continues to surface in NHL trade speculation (Photo via NHL Images).


TSN: Frank Seravalli updated his NHL trade bait list, adding Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, New York Rangers winger Michael Grabner and blueliner Nick Holden and San Jose Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson’s recent trade request explains why he joins the list. He addressed the situation yesterday, stressing the request was made to ensure his financial security. Johnson filed for bankruptcy four years ago after his parents lost most of his money through high-risk loans. GM Jarmo Kekalainen said there are teams “kicking tires” on Johnson but he stressed he won’t move the blueliner unless it’s a deal that makes sense for the team. Johnson has recently started seeing an increase in playing time, which could improve his trade value, 

Pageau’s among several Senators who’ve regularly popped up in recent weeks as possible trade bai . Grabner and Holden are among several players who could hit the trade block if the Rangers decide to become sellers at the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Dell has surfaced several times as a possible trade option for playoff contenders seeking goaltending depth. However, The Mercury News’ Paul Gackle believes trading the 28-year-old backup “is no longer a viable option” as starter Martin Jones has struggled since returning from a minor injury on Dec. 2. 


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Bob McKenzie’s Wednesday appearance on NBCSN discussing recent New York Rangers trade speculation. McKenzie said they’re not committed to trading defenseman Ryan McDonagh. However, he notes the club has been reloading since last year, trading Derek Stepan to Arizona and buying out Dan Girardi. He believes they’re doing due diligence in case they fall out of playoff contention and get an incredible offer for McDonagh, winger Mats Zuccarello or pending unrestricted free agents such as Rick Nash or Michael Grabner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they won’t be staging a fire sale if they drop out of contention by the Feb. 26 trade deadline but they could be willing to entertain reasonable offers. Could they ship out one or two notable players? Sure, anything’s possible. Will they? Depends upon where they are in the standings in a month’s time. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: Paul Gackle reports sources say the San Jose Sharks are “actively shopping” for a fourth-line center. He thinks Sharks GM Doug Wilson and head coach Pete DeBoer are crossing their fingers hoping recently demoted veteran defenseman Paul Martin plays well enough in the minors to attract interest from rival NHL clubs.

Gackle feels Martin could be the Sharks’ only reasonable trade chip, as he doesn’t expect they’ll shop backup goalie Aaron Dell or a young defenseman such as Tim Heed, Dylan DeMelo or Joakim Ryan. Wilson has previously stated his unwillingness to move any of his young forwards. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gackle points out fourth-line centers aren’t expensive to acquire. If Martin performs well in the minors, he could fetch that center via trade. 


WINNIPEG SUN: Despite the Jets’ lofty position in the Western Conference standings, Ken Wiebe suggests they should be buyers before the trade deadline. He notes the roster doesn’t have much playoff experience and could benefit from adding a scoring winger or center. He feels Ottawa Senators center Derick Brassard could be an enticing trade option. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff doesn’t have a history as a major wheeler-dealer near the trade deadline. However, he could make a move or two this year to bolster his roster depth for the playoffs. Brassard could be a good addition, though recent reports out of Ottawa suggest he might not be going anywhere. 

THE ATHLETIC: JD Burke noted recently conflicting reports regarding the trade status of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton. Earlier this month, The Province’s Jason Botchford reported Canucks GM Jim Benning denied a report by the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claiming the club was entertaining calls for the blueliner. Burke explored the pros and cons of moving Hutton, suggesting there’s merit to either outcome. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If we take Benning at his word, Hutton’s not available. Maybe his trade status will change leading up to the trade deadline. Time will tell. 



NHL Rumor Mill – December 22, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – December 22, 2017

Latest on the Golden Knights, Devils and Sharks in your NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the ongoing success of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights could alter general manager George McPhee’s trade-deadline plans. The season began with McPhee carrying a roster with a number of pending unrestricted free agents and pondering how many he could flip at the deadline to bolster his already impressive stockpile of draft picks and prospects. But with the Golden Knights playing much better than anticipated, perhaps they could consider becoming buyers. McPhee said it was premature to ask that question, saying only that it’ll depend upon the landscape when they get there.

ESPN.COM: Matthew Collier suggests McPhee could face the choice between scuttling his club’s playoff chances by trading some of his top UFA players (including James Neal, David Perron and Jonathan Marchessault) to continue building for the future or sacrificing some of that future for a shot at a possible playoff run.

If it’s the latter, Collier suggests it isn’t worth the trade-off to retain their UFAs at the risk of losing them for nothing this summer only to be eliminated in the opening round. He advocates an all-in approach. That mean’s chasing possible rental players such as Buffalo’s Evander Kane or perhaps Vancouver’s Sedin Twins. They also have the cap room to take on a player signed beyond this season, such as Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly or Florida’s Keith Yandle, or even take a huge run at potential 2019 UFAs such as Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson or Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

If that’s not possible, Collier advocates McPhee stay the course and continue building for the future by moving his pending UFAs. Neal or Marchessault could fetch Vegas a first-round draft pick from a contending club. “If the Golden Knights added two more first-round picks to the bundle of draft assets they already hold, McPhee’s team would be more likely to land the superstar-level talent required to compete for the Cup.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During a recent interview with Sportsnet, McPhee already indicated he won’t do anything to derail his club by the trade deadline. “We do have a master plan, but if this team is in the hunt way down the road, way down the road, in March, then we’ll stay in the hunt. I wouldn’t derail it. It’s not fair to this team or this community,” said McPhee.

We must also factor in the possibility that Neal, Marchessault and Perron could prefer re-signing with the Golden Knights. If their asking prices are reasonable, McPhee could re-sign them to maintain a level of veteran skill and leadership that allows their younger players more time to blossom.

Again, the picture will become clearly by February. If they’re chugging along just fine by then, I don’t see McPhee being a major player at the trade deadline, though he could make a smaller move or two if it’ll help keep his team in the hunt. 


NJ.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Chris Ryan was asked if the New Jersey Devils could make a deal at the trade deadline if they maintain their current level of play. While Ryan doubts Devils GM Ray Shero will swing another trade similar to his shipping forward Adam Henrique to Anaheim for defenseman Sami Vatanen, he thinks Shero could make a small move or two to solidify a position.

Ryan doesn’t think they’re in the market for a second-line center/winger but admits a lot can change between now and the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Asked if it was realistic to envision the Devils pursuing Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, he replied it’s hard to envision a scenario where they get seriously involved in bidding for him. He does see them adding defensive depth if necessary. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Devils maintain their hold on a playoff berth by the deadline, Shero could consider adding a depth player to address any potential roster weakness. I don’t see him chasing any of the bigger-name rentals. 


THE MERCURY NEWS (stick tap to GJ Berg): Paul Gackle suggests San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson can make a significant trade without parting with a core player by shopping backup goaltender Aaron Dell. An unrestricted free agent next summer, Dell could be a highly sought-after commodity on the open market. With a 1.94 goals-against average and .935 save percentage, teams lacking goaltending depth are eyeing Dell. While trading Dell for an asset could prove risky if starter Martin Jones becomes sidelined, Gackle feels it’s worth the risk if the Sharks hope to add to their roster to become a true contender this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks need an additional top-six winger to bolster their scoring. If Dell can fetch that type of return, it could be worth the gamble, especially if Wilson can also pry away a decent backup in a separate deal from a non-contender. Otherwise, it’s best to retain him as insurance behind Jones for the remainder of the season. 


NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2017

The latest on the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks,Pittsburgh Penguins & Philadelphia Flyers in your NHL rumor mill.


TSN: During Thursday’s “Insider Trading” segment, Pierre LeBrun reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion continues to listen to trade offers. Eight teams reached out to Dorion on Thursday. He’s not going to make a deal just for the sake of doing so and if a suitable deal isn’t there he’s not going to force it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The struggling Senators dominated the rumor mill this week with focus on Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Cody Ceci, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Derick Brassard. While it’s possible Dorion could swing a deal before the holiday trade freeze kicks in on Dec.19, I wouldn’t be surprised if he waits until sometime in January to make a significant trade. And no, I don’t believe he’ll trade Karlsson.

LeBrun also reports the solid play of San Jose Sharks backup goaltender Aaron Dell is starting to attract some attention. He wonders if Dell, who’s an unrestricted free agent in July, could be this season’s Scott Darling, another backup goalie who garnered lots of interest last season. It’s currently unknown if the Sharks will use him as trade bait closer to the Feb. 26 trade deadline or re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent word out of San Jose suggests the Sharks aren’t likely to move Dell, preferring to retain him as insurance in case starter Martin Jones struggles or becomes sidelined by injury. Of course, that could change if the Sharks are in danger of falling out of playoff contention, but I think they’ll keep him for the rest of the season. 

LeBrun reports hearing the Philadelphia Flyers are willing to listen to offers for forward Jori Lehtera, who’s been a frequent healthy scratch this season. They’re not aggressively shopping Lehtera but could move him for the right price. His $4.7 million cap hit through 2018-19 could scare off some clubs, but he did tally 44 points three years ago with the St. Louis Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Flyers are willing to pick up part of Lehtera’s cap hit, I don’t see him drawing much interest. His production has steadily declined since that career-high season. 


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports an NHL source claims “multiple teams” have contacted the Detroit Red Wings regarding goaltender Petr Mrazek, despite the fact he has only four wins and a save percentage under .900 this season. That’s an indication of how weak the goalie market is right now.

A source from one NHL team that looked at Mrazek noted several factors that work against the goalie’s trade value. His play has declined over the past season and a half, he carries a $4 million cap hit and will likely be a rental player this season as no one will qualify him at that price next summer, plus he has a reputation as a poor teammate.

Custance suggests the Wings should consider showcasing Mrazek in some upcoming games, though that could jeopardize their playoff hopes. Mrazek could fetch them a third-round pick.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Wings will consider absorbing part of Mrazek’s salary for the right trade offer.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests the Wings could seek a second-round pick for Mrazek if they pick up part of his salary. He suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers should consider acquiring Mrazek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Picking up part of Mrazek’s cap hit is the only way the Wings can make this guy more attractive to rival clubs. However, I think interested GMs will want to see him play in some upcoming games. As Custance notes, that’s the dilemma for the Wings, who are desperately trying to stay in the playoff chase. If they use Mrazek and he costs them points, it’ll also hurt his modest trade value. 


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey recently reported Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said his club is reaching a critical point in this season where they’ll have to decide if they’re going to shake things up or not. Rutherford said he’d prefer adding to his current roster. However, if things don’t improve soon he doesn’t rule out making a major move. He’d like to add more scoring to his roster and bolster his depth at center. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford ideally wants a third-line center comparable to Nick Bonino, who was a key factor in the Penguins’ consecutive Stanley Cup championships before departing via free agency last summer to Nashville. He brought in Riley Sheahan earlier this season from Detroit but he lacks Bonino’s offensive skills. I think Rutherford would prefer to bring in a scoring third line center and drop Sheahan down to the fourth line. 


Latest on the Senators and Sharks – December 14, 2017

Latest on the Senators and Sharks – December 14, 2017

Updates on the growing Ottawa Senators trade rumors plus the latest on the San Jose Sharks.


OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion yesterday said he won’t be replacing Guy Boucher as head coach. “Guy was a great coach last year. He got us one goal from the Stanley Cup final. He’s staying,” said Dorion.

However, the Sens GM isn’t ruling out making trades if he feels it will help the team. “We’re looking at everything,” he said. “I think I have talked to 27 or 28 of my 30 (general manager) counterparts in the last three days. We’re looking for solutions. When you go through streaks like this, you have to look at everything.”

Dorion acknowledged he’s got 10-team no-trade lists from his players with no-trade clauses, including captain Erik Karlsson. However, he said the club’s priority is to retain the superstar defenseman for the remainder of his career.

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos said forward Mike Hoffman is the name he’s hearing the most regarding Senators trade speculation and thinks he’ll get traded faster than most.

Jeff Marek asked why not move Karlsson now if they’re not going to re-sign him. He wonders if they could extract more from a team that could have him for the remainder of this season and playoffs plus all of next season, rather than trying to move him before next season’s trade deadline.

Scott Morrison feels the better return could be had in the offseason. Kypreos believes it makes no sense for a team at the bottom of the league to re-sign a soon-to-be 30-year-old player to an eight-year deal worth perhaps $90 million.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes Hoffman would be a good fit for the Edmonton Oilers to address the need for a skilled shooter on Connor McDavid’s line. However, he’s not certain the Oilers and Senators would be a good trade fit, noting the latter requires defense.

Graeme Nichols makes a deep dive into potential trade value of struggling Senators defenseman Cody Ceci. He points out Ceci’s preceeding three seasons weren’t exactly perfect, noting he had his difficulties even when playing sheltered minutes earlier in his career. With Ceci a restricted free agent next summer coming off a two-year bridge deal (earning $3.35 million in actual salary this season), his contract talks could get troublesome.

Noting speculation that the Colorado Avalanche had interest in Ceci prior to shipping center Matt Duchene to Ottawa, Nichols suggests that doesn’t necessarily mean he would’ve been the centerpiece of the return for a Duchene trade that didn’t happen. It also doesn’t mean Ceci is an untouchable asset for the Senators.

If the Senators put Ceci on the block, Nichols thinks it could take one of three forms. If they’re still hopeful of reaching the playoffs, they could seek an established player in return.  It could be a “project-for-project” return, similar to the swap with the Arizona Coyotes in 2011 that brought Kyle Turris to Ottawa. If their eye in on the future, the Sens could seek draft picks and prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know I sound like a broken record, but I don’t see the Senators trading Karlsson before the trade deadline. I believe they want to re-sign him, but if that proves too expensive, the earliest he’s dealt is next summer.

While there will undoubtedly be considerable interest in Karlsson if he was put on the trade block now, I believe teams will be leery about investing too much to land a player who could bolt via free agency in 2019. Those clubs will likely prefer to wait until next summer, when they’ll have the opportunity to request permission from the Sens to discuss a contract extension with Karlsson before giving up quality assets to acquire him.

If the Sens intend to make moves before the trade deadline, Hoffman and Ceci are the more likely trade candidates. I agree with Mitchell that Hoffman could be a good fit on the McDavid line but I don’t see a deal there unless Dorion can pull off another three-team move. Despite Ceci’s struggles, I think he still has value among clubs seeking young blueliners with potential. He still has room to improve and could blossom on a better club. 


THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz said he considers San Jose Sharks backup goaltender Aaron Dell among the club’s few tradeable assets that they might be willing to part with to acquire some scoring. That being said, he thinks “there’s no way in hell” the Sharks trade Dell, suggesting he’ll likely re-sign with the Sharks this summer. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports Sharks GM Doug Wilson said he has no intention of trading away his key young core players for a quick fix before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Wilson feels questions about his current roster could come into greater focus once everyone is healthy. Pashelka noted young players such as Chris Tierney, Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan have taken advantage of opportunities provided because of injuries to veterans this season. However, Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier have been less consistent. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson has a well-earned reputation for being among the busiest general managers leading up to the NHL trade deadline. I’ll be surprised if he stays quiet this season. He’ll obviously remain patient with his roster for now but I expect he’ll look at making moves within a month of the deadline, depending upon his roster needs, the number of quality players available in the trade market and the respective asking prices for those players.

I expect Wilson will look at shopping a prospect or two, rather than established young players. He doesn’t have selections in the second and third rounds of the 2018 draft so I doubt he’ll be shopping draft picks this year. 


NHL Rumor Mill – December 5, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – December 5, 2017

Latest goaltending rumors for the Oilers, Sabres and Sharks plus updates on the Senators and Wild in your NHL rumor mill.


TSN: With Edmonton Oilers starting goaltender Cam Talbot sidelined by injury and backup Laurent Broissoit struggling, Frank Seravalli reports Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli is working the phones in search of a netminder. He lists Buffalo’s Chad Johnson, Winnipeg’s Michael Hutchinson, Philadelphia’s Michal Neuvirth, Toronto’s Calvin Pickard and Detroit’s Petr Mrazek as potential trade targets.

Seravalli notes salary-cap space isn’t an issue this season for the Oilers, whose draft picks could be of interest for clubs seeking to stock up on assets. However, they are one man shy of the 50-player limit, “likely necessitating a body-in, body-out trade.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s colleague Darren Dreger yesterday reported the Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins are among the clubs inquiring into the availability of Johnson and Sabres starter Robin Lehner. While Johnson’s struggled this season, he has decent career numbers (2.52 goals-against average, .913 save percentage) as a backup. If he’s available, the asking price could be a draft pick, perhaps a fourth-round selection. I don’t see the Sabres trading Lehner.

I agree with Seravalli that the Jets likely won’t part with Hutchinson while Steve Mason remains sidelined with a concussion. Neuvirth may be streaky but I don’t see the Flyers moving him right now. I expect they’ll keep their current tandem of Neuvirth and Brian Elliott intact as they attempt to snap out of their recent losing funk. 

Sportsnet’s John Shannon believes Pickard could be the best bet, but he could cost the Oilers a third- or fourth-round pick. He could certainly be a tempting choice but the Leafs won’t be in any hurry to move him. I doubt Chiarelli has interest in Mrazek, who’s struggling this season and won’t bring much improvement between the pipes for Edmonton.

Perhaps Chiarelli should get in touch with San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson. In a recent mailbag segment, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz was asked if the Sharks could trade backup Aaron Dell at the trade deadline rather than risk losing him to free agency this summer. Kurz believes it’s a little early to predict what moves the Sharks could make at the deadline but said he’d include Dell among the assets that could be moved if the Sharks look to upgrade their forward depth. 


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch suggests we shouldn’t be surprised if Senators GM Pierre Dorion decides to make a roster move via call-ups or a trade. With the Sens struggling and five points out of a playoff berth, Garrioch said there’s a belief Dorion is getting calls from rival GMs.

He speculate the Senators could look at improving their defense, which has been horrific at times. Garrioch thinks teams could be calling about blueliner Cody Ceci, who’s been a lightning rod for criticism this season. However, he’s still well regarded around the league. However, “the Senators have never been willing to trade him in the past and the last thing Dorion wants to do is make a change for change sake.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dorion’s already made what’s likely to be his big trade for this season by acquiring Matt Duchene from Colorado and shipping center Kyle Turris to Nashville in a three-team deal last month. If he makes a move before the Dec. 19 holiday trade freeze it’ll likely be a depth move where he gives up a draft pick. He could also keep a close eye on the waiver wire.