NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 30, 2021

Another look at how this summer expansion draft could affect several teams in the NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen recently looked at several teams that could be faced with a tough loss or an interesting decision to make in this summer’s expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and Ryan S. Clark previously did a feature examining six clubs that could make side deals with the Seattle Kraken to protect key players. Boylen is examining nine teams.

The Colorado Avalanche needs Erik Johnson to waive his no-movement clause. If he does, they’ll have to decide if they’ll protect eight skaters or seven forwards and three defensemen. Under the former, they could lose a forward like Andre Burakovsky, Joonas Donskoi, Tyson Jost or Valeri Nichushkin. Under the latter, Ryan Graves could be left unprotected. If Johnson doesn’t waive his clause, they’ll have to go the eight skaters option, leaving the Seattle Kraken the choice of Graves or one of those forwards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Ryan S.Clark reported Johnson is expected to waive his NMC. The Kraken will likely pass on him given his age (33), injury history and his $6 million annual average value through 2022-23. He also reported the Avs are willing to trade one of their forwards for something decent in return and are open to discussing their needs with the Kraken

The status of sidelined defenseman Oscar Klefbom and how general manager Ken Holland handles pending unrestricted free agents like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson and Tyson Barrie could affect the Edmonton Oilers’ plans. If Klefbom is healthy and Larsson or Barrie is re-signed before the draft, the Oilers could lose a defenseman like Ethan Bear. Caleb Jones could be protected only if the UFA blueliners aren’t re-signed and Klefbom is exposed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klefbom’s status remains uncertain. Holland could wait until after the expansion draft to re-sign Larsson and/or Barrie. That depends, of course, on whether the Kraken have interest in either blueliner during their exclusive free-agent interview window from July 18-21.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (NHL Images)

Five members of the Minnesota Wild (Zach Parise, Mats Zuccarello, Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin) have no-movement clauses. If none of them waive their clauses, the Wild could be forced to make a side deal with the Kraken or risk losing defenseman Matt Dumba if they protect just three defensemen or risk losing a forward by protecting eight skaters. If they’re faced with leaving Dumba unprotected they could attempt to trade him before the protected lists are due.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clark reported Wild management could have discussions with those five players about waiving their NMCs. Having Parise, Suter and Zuccarello waive would be the best scenario. They’re aging players carrying hefty salary-cap hits for at least three more seasons who likely won’t be enticing to the Kraken.

If Dumba becomes the odd man out, I expect they’ll try to trade him rather than lose him for nothing in the expansion draft. Boylen also suggested they could make a side deal with the Kraken by sending them a player to ensure they take someone other than Dumba in the draft.

The Kraken could make a push for Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton if he’s left unsigned and unprotected. If he’s re-signed, he’ll have to be protected and that would leave blueliner Jake Bean available. The Kraken could also have a shot at goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic if pending UFA Petr Mrazek is re-signed before the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun speculated the Hurricanes could hold off on signing Hamilton in order to protect Bean, leaving Brady Skjei exposed. They could do the same with Mrazek to protect Nedeljkovic. There’s a chance Hamilton or Mrazek could sign with the Kraken but their priority could be staying in Carolina.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn could be left exposed if they protect Torey Krug, Colton Parayko and Justin Faulk. If they go the eight-skaters route, they risk losing a forward like Jaden Schwartz, David Perron or Robert Thomas. Dunn was a fixture in the rumor mill this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn could be traded to another club or the Blues could try to work out a side deal sending the Kraken another player to ensure Dunn isn’t selected in the expansion draft.

The Nashville Predators are expected to protect eight skaters to ensure defensemen Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and Dante Fabbro aren’t available. Forwards Luke Kunin or Mikael Granlund (if signed before the draft) could be protected. Boylen wonders if Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene could be exposed, though the Kraken probably won’t take one of those high-priced forwards without a sufficient sweetener.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll take quite an offer to convince Kraken GM Ron Francis to take on Johansen or Duchene. Both are underachieving forwards carrying $8 million cap hits for several more years.

Travis Dermott is expected to be the odd man out for the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, contract negotiations with pending UFA winger Zach Hyman could affect which players they end up protecting. If Hyman is re-signed, they’ll have to protect seven forwards, leaving an extra defenseman exposed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under that scenario they’ll protect Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin and T.J. Brodie, leaving Justin Holl exposed. They could take the chance on Hyman re-signing after the expansion draft to protect four blueliners and leave Dermott exposed. If they sign Hyman, they could try to work out a deal with the Kraken to ensure Holl isn’t taken.

Boylen expects Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic will waive his no-movement clause to allow the club to protect a younger forward like Dillon Dube or Glenn Gawdin. He also wondered if the Kraken would take defenseman Mark Giordano if left exposed. The 38-year-old Flames captain has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen observed that big changes could be coming to the Flames roster following this season. Those, however, could occur following the expansion draft. As for Giordano, the Kraken could prefer players who fit into their long-term plans.

The Dallas Stars could go the eight-skater option to protect four defensemen if Jamie Oleksiak is re-signed. That could leave a forward such as Radek Faksa, Denis Gurianov or Joe Pavelski exposed. Boylen feels it could be easier for the Stars if Oleksiak isn’t protected or a side deal is worked out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wait until after the draft to re-sign Oleksiak and take the chance that the Kraken will pass on him or else talk trade to ensure he’s not taken in the draft if they opt to protect seven forwards and three blueliners.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2021

Connor McDavid leads the Oilers over the Jets, the Hurricanes clinch a playoff spot, the stars of the week are announced, a new broadcasting deal with Turner, the latest on Patrick Roy and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied a hat trick and added an assist leading the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-1 rout of the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers have 58 points, sitting one up on the Jets for second place in the Scotia North Division while McDavid has a league-leading 81 points. Earlier in the day, the Oilers announced winger Zack Kassian was placed on long-term injury reserve. The Jets, meanwhile, announced winger Nikolaj Ehlers will miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid leads the NHL with 81 points (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will miss Ehlers’ production. He’s second among their scorers with 46 points.

The Montreal Canadiens (51 points) opened a six-point lead over the Calgary Flames for fourth place in the Scotia North Division with a 2-1 victory. Tyler Toffoli scored the game-winner while Cole Caufield was held scoreless in his NHL debut. The Flames suffered another blow earlier in the day when they learned defenseman Noah Hanifin will require season-ending shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens control their fate as they hold a game in hand over the Flames.

The Carolina Hurricanes clinched a playoff spot despite dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Dallas Stars. Stars captain Jamie Benn scored the game-winner and collected three assists. The Hurricanes sit atop the Discover Central Division with 69 points, securing a third straight postseason berth for the first time since the franchise relocated to North Carolina in 1997. With 54 points, the Stars remain two points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators.

Speaking of the Predators, they got a 39-save performance by Juuse Saros to down the Florida Panthers 4-1 to prevent the latter from clinching a playoff spot. Florida goaltender Chris Driedger left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. The Panthers sit two points back of the division-leading Hurricanes.

The St. Louis Blues regained fourth place in the Honda West Division with a 4-1 upset of the Colorado Avalanche. David Perron had a goal and two assists as St. Louis (48 points) moved a point ahead of the Arizona Coyotes. Blues defensemen Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn missed the game with upper-body injuries. The Avs played without winger Brandon Saad, who’s sidelined two to four weeks with a lower-body injury. They sit in second place with 66 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Canadiens, the Blues control their fate as they hold three games in hand over the Coyotes.

A four-point performance by Evander Kane (one goal, three assists) gave the San Jose Sharks a 6-4 win over the Coyotes. The Sharks (43 points) sit four back of the Coyotes and five behind the Blues.

A 25-save performance by Marcus Hogberg gave the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Brady Tkachuk collected two assists while Drake Batherson tallied the winning goal. The Canucks played without goaltender Thatcher Demko as he suffered an undisclosed injury during the morning skate. The Senators, meanwhile, could be without Matt Murray (lower-body injury) for the rest of the season.

Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. The Ducks have dropped five in a row.

HEADLINES

San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot, and Florida Panthers left winger Jonathan Huberdeau are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 25, 2021.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed practice yesterday with a lower-body injury and is doubtful for tonight’s game with the New York Islanders. Defenseman Justin Schultz (lower body) is also doubtful though he did skate in yesterday’s practice in a non-contact jersey.

SPORTSNET: The NHL has reportedly reached an agreement with Turner Sports on a seven-year broadcasting deal that includes three Stanley Cup Finals. This deal would give the league two television partners for the first time since 1998-99 as it recently reached an agreement to return to ESPN starting next season. The Turner deal spells the end of NBC Sports’ coverage of NHL games following this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The combined deals will reportedly provide the NHL $625 million annually in broadcasting revenue. That’s a significant increase over the $200 million annually on its current deal with NBC.

SPORTSNET: Hall-of-Fame goaltender Patrick Roy is exploring options for a possible return to the NHL as a coach or general manager. Roy was head coach of the Colorado Avalanche from 2013-14 to 2015-16 but stepped down citing a lack of input in personnel decisions. He’s also the long-time head coach and general manager of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news sparked speculation among Montreal Canadiens fans that Roy could replace Marc Bergevin as general manager. Roy’s new agent, however, claimed they haven’t had any conversations with the Canadiens and no deals are imminent with any other NHL club.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Andrew Shaw yesterday announced his playing career is over after 10 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens. Multiple concussions cut short his career at age 29. Shaw spent seven seasons with the Blackhawks, winning two Stanley Cups and scoring 116 goals and 247 points in 544 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Shaw and his family in his future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 12, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 12, 2021

The Trade Deadline is at 3 pm ET today. Check out the latest on Josh Manson, Rickard Rakell. Mike Hoffman, Jaden Schwartz, Sam Bennett and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Responding to a reader’s question yesterday, Eric Stephens believes the Anaheim Ducks will set a higher asking price for defenseman Josh Manson and winger Rickard Rakell because they each have a year remaining on their respective contracts. He feels the Ducks should seek a first-round pick and a top prospect for each player. Stephens doesn’t know if general manager Bob Murray is shopping Manson and Rakell but he’s getting a lot of calls.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With so many of the top rental players off the market perhaps there will be more interest in Manson and Rakell before the deadline.

STLTODAY.COM: Tom Timmermann reports the Blues’ recent surge back into playoff contention muddies the waters regarding their trade plans. Pending free agent winger Mike Hoffman seemed the most likely trade candidate but that may have changed due to an injury to forward Robert Thomas.

St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman (NHL Images).

It would take a significant offer and pessimism on the part of Blues’ management over contract talks to pry winger Jaden Schwartz loose. Like Hoffman, he’s a UFA this summer. So is center Tyler Bozak, who might be enticing to clubs seeking depth at center. Vince Dunn is a restricted free agent and could be appealing as an offensive defenseman.

Timmermann believes the Blues would seek draft picks to restock their prospect pipeline.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers need a left-winger, a second-pairing defenseman and a third-line center. GM Ken Holland, however, doesn’t want to part with a first-round pick or a Grade-A prospect for a rental player. He’s also hampered by limited salary-cap space. Matheson speculates Holland could wait and see if the price drops for pending UFAs such as the Blues’ Mike Hoffman or the Philadelphia Flyers’ Scott Laughton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland could pursue a player or two with term on their contracts. That will require some salary-cap creativity as we saw in the Savard and Foligno trades over the weekend in which a third-team used their cap space to broker a deal.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson believes Sam Bennett is the Flames’ most valuable trade chip approaching the deadline. However, the fact he’s still in Calgary over two months following his agent’s public trade request suggests any offers have been underwhelming.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett’s a restricted free agent this summer so Flames GM Brad Treliving doesn’t have to move him at the deadline. He could wait for a better offer during the offseason before the Seattle expansion draft.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell recently mentioned a right-shot defenseman and an extra forward as trade deadline possibilities. He speculated Waddell may have had discussions with the Ducks about Josh Manson or the Los Angeles Kings about Sean Walker. Both are right-shot defenders with term remaining on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We know the asking price for Manson could be expensive. The Kings could be reluctant to part with Walker as he’s in the first season of a four-year deal with a $2.65 million annual average value.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports the Penguins could be attempting to acquire physical winger Nicolas Deslauriers from the Anaheim Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was reported yesterday the Penguins had acquired Deslauriers but that was subsequently walked back. Perhaps it was because they were in the process of acquiring Jeff Carter from the Kings. We’ll find out later today if they revisit a Deslauriers deal.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks expects a quiet trade deadline for the Rangers. He believes GM Jeff Gorton would listen if he received offers for Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich or Mika Zibanejad to perhaps lay the groundwork for offseason deals. However, they haven’t gotten any such inquires.

Brooks also believes the Rangers could buy out the final season of banished defenseman Tony DeAngelo’s contract this summer if he’s not traded at the deadline or selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus report a Chicago Blackhawks source said management is resigned to getting less than expected for forwards Mattias Janmark and Carl Soderberg after seeing the Detroit Red Wings receive only a fifth-round pick from the Montreal Canadiens for Jon Merrill.

The Blackhawks’ cap space remains their hottest commodity for cap-strapped clubs seeking a third-party broker to facilitate a trade. They could also listen to offers for pending RFA defenseman Nikita Zadorov but they aren’t actively shopping him.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall lists Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl and Erik Gustafsson as likely Flyers trade candidates because of their UFA eligibility this summer.

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is a fixture in the rumor mill but his $4.5 million annual cap hit over the next two years makes him difficult to move. Hall also doesn’t rule out the possibility of young forward Nolan Patrick as a trade option for a second-round pick.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mark McIntyre reports Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff won’t mortgage his club’s future for a rental player to bolster his blueline. He does have draft picks to use as trade bait and can add a salary with Bryan Little on long-term injury reserve.

McIntyre believes a rental player is a likely route. He suggested defense targets as New Jersey’s Dmitry Kulikov, Ryan Murray Sami Vatanen, or Ottawa’s rugged Erik Gudbranson. Others include Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak or Detroit’s Marc Staal.










NHL Trade Deadline: Top 5 West Division Trade Targets

NHL Trade Deadline: Top 5 West Division Trade Targets

 










NHL Rumor Mill – April 8, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 8, 2021

Last night’s Kyle Palmieri trade shakes up TSN’s trade bait list. Check out the latest on Mike Hoffman, Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman moves into third on the NHL trade-bait list after the New Jersey Devils traded Kyle Palmieri last night to the New York Islanders.

St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman was a healthy scratch from last night’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. Blues coach Craig Berube said that move was made to insert Sammy Blais into the lineup. Trade speculation about the winger will ramp up if he’s scratched from the Blues’ next two games before Monday’s trade deadline.

Buffalo Sabres left wing Taylor Hall remains the top forward on the trade-bait list.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites NHL insider Doug MacLean telling CHED radio host Reid Wilkins he’s heard the Oilers are interested in Hall, who spent his first six NHL seasons in Edmonton until traded to the Devils in 2016.

MacLean said his “reasonable source” indicated the Oilers were looking at a deal that has Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins under contract for next season for a combined $12 million.

Staples believes the Oilers would have to trade a forward such as Zack Kassian or James Neal to free up the salary-cap dollars necessary to acquire Hall or move out a goalie like Mikko Koskinen. The Oilers’ first-round pick would also have to be included in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What MacLean’s source seems to be suggesting is the Oilers are looking at getting ahead of the free-agent market by acquiring and signing Hall, who (like Nugent-Hopkins) is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

I don’t see how the Oilers can afford to acquire Hall at the trade deadline. They’re maxed out at the cap and have $2.3 million in long-term injury reserve money remaining. They also don’t have any picks in the second, third- and fifth rounds of this year’s draft so I don’t believe general manager Ken Holland will part with this year’s first, or next year’s for that matter. I also don’t see a trade market for Kassian or Neal.

Anything’s possible, of course, and if Holland could pull this off without giving up a first-round pick it’ll be an impressive feat. I just don’t believe we’ll see Hall coming to Edmonton at the trade deadline.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno sits at No. 4 on the list.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen won’t trade Foligno without the captain’s approval. The 32-year-old forward has a 10-team no-trade list and it sounds like he’d be open to a move but only for the right situation. The Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild could be among his suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I had my doubts that Foligno would be traded but this report changed my mind. He could be moved by the deadline if Kekalainen first receives a suitable offer and Foligno is willing to accept it, especially if it comes from one of the teams on his no-trade list.

Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton remains at No. 9.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall isn’t putting much stock into Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he can see the Pittsburgh Penguins having an interest in Laughton. While Penguins general manager (and former Flyers GM) Ron Hextall knows Laughton’s value and could be interested, Hall believes the Flyers’ asking price could be quite high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Mike DeFabo reports Hextall is in the market for a big, physical forward, preferably an experienced center. Laughton could fit the bill but, as Hall pointed out, the Flyers will set an expensive price for him.

DeFabo notes the Penguins have few tradeable assets plus there’s also the salary crunch to contend with. He anticipates Hextall could instead acquire a bottom-six forward if he makes a move at all.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson moves up into tenth on the list.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wonders if the Bruins and Anaheim Ducks are talking trade again. The two clubs have a recent history of deals before the trade deadline.

Boston assistant GM John Ferguson Jr has been scouting the California-based teams. Murphy isn’t sure the Bruins are looking at Manson but they have had inquired about the blueliner in the past. The Ducks’ asking price, however, could be high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy also reported the Bruins were among the clubs interested in Kyle Palmieri before he was shipped last night to the New York Islanders, with one of the trade scenarios involving Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk. The source couldn’t confirm if the Bruins said no to that.

The Bruins do need blueline help. If a suitable deal for a scoring winger isn’t available perhaps GM Don Sweeney shifts his focus to a defenseman like Manson. The asking price, however, is reportedly a first-round pick and a top prospect.

Blues defenseman Vince Dunn and center Tyler Bozak sit 13th and 18th respectively on the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie wonders if the Montreal Canadiens could pursue Dunn or Bozak. With Brendan Gallagher going on LTIR, they have sufficient salary-cap wiggle room to make another addition before the trade deadline. Adding a top-four defenseman is a bigger need for the Habs than a bottom-six center.

Others who’ve moved up or debuted on the list include Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (15), Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nikita Zadorov (17), Dallas Stars blueliner Jamie Oleksiak, Blue Jackets rearguard Michael Del Zotto (30) and Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (38).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think the Blackhawks will trade Zadorov while they’re still jockeying for a playoff spot in the Discover Central Division. The Jackets aren’t facing pressure to trade Merzlikins. He has another season left on his contract and is exempt from this summer’s expansion draft.

Dropping on the list is Florida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger (22) and Flames center Derek Ryan (33).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Driedger’s played very well backing up erratic Panthers starter Sergei Bobrovsky. Trading him while they battling the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Central wouldn’t be a wise decision.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2021

The latest on Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Mike Hoffman and Josh Manson plus updates on the Leafs, Bruins, Flames, Oilers and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SABRES SCRATCH HALL AS TRADE TALKS INTENSIFY

TSN: Darren Dreger believes the Buffalo Sabres deciding to hold Taylor Hall out of last night’s game against the New Jersey Devils indicates trade talks regarding the 29-year-old left winger are picking up. “Thing have intensified with a couple of teams,” said Dreger, adding it’s unlikely Hall will still be a Sabre by Monday’s trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman said sitting out Hall (and the New Jersey Devils doing the same with Kyle Palmieri) doesn’t mean anything’s imminent but more precautionary to avoid injury leading up to deadline day. He believes Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams is considering a number of scenarios big and small before the deadline, including perhaps listening to pitches for Jack Eichel.

Buffalo Sabres sit Taylor Hall ahead of the April 12 trade deadline (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall will be on the move by deadline day, it’s just a question of where and how much the Sabres can get for him. I doubt they’ll get a first-round pick. As for Eichel, that sort of trade happens in the offseason. Friedman feels Adams may be getting the lay of the land regarding what his captain’s trade value will be.

UPDATES ON THE LEAFS, BRUINS, FLAMES AND OILERS

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski said recent reports have the Maple Leafs linked to Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm. An industry source told Zwolinski the Leafs have been heavily scouting Los Angeles Kings right-winger Adrian Kempe. They’re also believed eyeing Predators forward Mikael Granlund. Salary cap space is a major consideration as the Leafs are among nine teams with less than $1 million in cap room.

THE ATHLETIC (stick tap to THE SCORE): Leafs GM Kyle Dubas told Pierre LeBrun the play of forward Alex Galchenyuk has somewhat lessened his club’s urgency to add a forward. He cited how well Galchenyuk has fit in on a line with John Tavares and William Nylander. Nevertheless, the Leafs GM is keeping his options open as the deadline approaches.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak would be a consideration for the Leafs if they pursue a depth blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kempe, 23, carries a $2 million cap hit and is a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’s second among Kings scorers this season with 12 goals. Dubas has a trade history with the Kings but GM Rob Blake is under no pressure to move Kempe.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports rumors are swirling linking the Bruins to Devils winger Kyle Palmieri and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to address their needs for a scoring winger and left-side blueline depth. The cost for Palmieri would likely be a first-round pick and a forward prospect.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also hears the Bruins linked to Palmieri and Hall but also heard they don’t think adding a rental player is a good idea for the cost.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giving up a first-rounder as part of the return for Palmieri makes sense only if the Bruins can re-sign him. Otherwise, they’re better off trying to find a winger with term remaining on his contract.

TSN: Frank Seravalli believes Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving could be open to doing just about anything as his club slips further out of playoff contention. A couple of teams could be interested in Treliving’s plans for Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan but deals like that typically happen in the offseason. Backup goaltender (and pending UFA) David Rittich is drawing some interest but things are quieter on lower-priced UFAs like Derek Ryan.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson doesn’t expect any blockbuster moves by the Flames at the trade deadline. He can see Rittich, Ryan and Sam Bennett getting peddled as potential rentals in exchange for mid-round draft picks. He anticipates a more significant shakeup in the summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big changes are likely coming for the Flames but we’ll have to wait until the offseason for those. Bennett, Rittich and Ryan are the most likely to be moved at the deadline.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector doesn’t expect any movement by the Edmonton Oilers before the trade deadline. The Oilers are capped out and deep into their long-term injury reserve. GM Ken Holland made most of his significant moves during the offseason.

Elliotte Friedman isn’t convinced about the Oilers being among the suitors for Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening.

LATEST ON THE BLUES, DUCKS AND KINGS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes St. Louis Blues forwards Mike Hoffman and Tyler Bozak could be on the move before the deadline. GM Doug Armstong isn’t shy about trading underachieving UFAs when his club is in playoff contention.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon believes Armstrong could become a seller if the Blues don’t reverse their fortunes soon. Hoffman could draw interest from teams seeking scoring depth such as the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs. Defenseman Vince Dunn could become a trade chip to restock their depth chart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman turned into a big disappointment this season for the Blues. They might get a second-round pick for him at the trade deadline but his inconsistent play could make him a tough sell. Dunn would draw more interest but I don’t see him fetching a first-round pick. Maybe a prospect and/or a promising NHL-ready player.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks have had a few calls on Josh Manson. They still like the 28-year-old defenseman but given where they are in the standings and youth movement they have to listen. The Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets are among the clubs with interest in Manson but the Ducks’ asking price is a first-round pick and a top prospect.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Ducks are seeking players between ages 19 and 23 who are ready to play but they’re really hard to find. He wondered if the Vegas Golden Knights might kick tires on Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson won’t be moving at the deadline if the Ducks maintain that asking price. GM Bob Murray said he won’t move Getzlaf unless the Ducks captain asks to be traded. So far, there’s no indication that’s happening.

If Getzlaf waives his no-movement clause the Golden Knights are unlikely to land him. The Las Vegas Sun’s Justin Emerson reports the flattened cap and a number of long-term contracts handed out in recent years limits what they could do at this year’s deadline.

Friedman also reported what the Los Angeles Kings do at the deadline could come down to whether they re-sign pending UFA forward Alex Iafallo. “They’ve been grinding away at it”, he said.

NOTABLE RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Philadelphia Flyers are listening to offers for Scott Laughton. There hasn’t been much contract extension talk regarding the UFA center. He can see the Pittsburgh Penguins with interest in the Flyers forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but I think Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher could look at moving Laughton to anyone except the Penguins.

The Colorado Avalanche have looked into adding a forward with an edge, a defenseman to replace what they lost in Ian Cole and sidelined Erik Johnson and a goaltender. They could be lurking on Kyle Palmieri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending depth is their priority. They’d also like to add some muscle to their blueline. They’re already loaded with offensive depth up front.

Goaltenders to watch include San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk, Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Ottawa’s Anton Forsberg and perhaps some of the Carolina Hurricanes’ depth now that Petr Mrazek has returned from a fractured them. A wild rumor about the Hurricanes having an interest in Anaheim’s John Gibson was shot down by multiple sources.

The Florida Panthers have some decisions to make before the deadline. Do they carry goalies Chris Driedger and Spencer Knight? Add a scorer like Hall or Palmieri or add a defenseman. Sources say they want this season’s performance to be a multiple-year thing so they’re not going to rush into anything.

Tampa Bay Lightning could be a stealth team on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll have to be dollar-in, dollar-out. The Lightning are capped out this season.

Nashville Predators called the Winnipeg Jets about defense prospect Ville Heinola but the Jets don’t want to move him.