NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2020

Which players could the Devils pursue in the off-season? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked if he saw the New Jersey Devils signing any big-name free agents or try to pull off any offer sheets in the off-season. He doesn’t see them going the offer-sheet route because they don’t have their second-round pick in 2021.

Masisak doesn’t rule out anything regarding free agent signings because we don’t know what the market will look like. If prices remain the same for a typical year, he doesn’t expect the Devils to be a factor with stars like St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo, Boston’s Torey Krug, Washington’s Braden Holtby, or Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom. He also doesn’t see them bringing back winger Taylor Hall.

Could the New Jersey Devils pursue Florida Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov via free agency? (Photo via NHL Images)

Regarding their potential UFAs in 2021, Masisak expects they’ll try to re-sign Kyle Palmieri, Nikita Gusev, and Travis Zajac.

NJ.COM: Randy Miller cites Devils TV analyst Steve Cangialosi suggesting Florida Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov could be a fit. He’s averaged 27 goals and 61 points over the past three seasons and would be reunited with former KHL teammate Nikita Gusev. Dadonov won’t be cheap, as Miller speculates Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes (seven years, $50 million) could be comparable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanging over all of this is the uncertainty over who will be the Devils general manager when the off-season finally begins. They could remove the interim label from Tom Fitzgerald, or hire a more experienced replacement.

Whoever is sitting in the GM’s chair probably won’t pursue any big-ticket talent regardless of the market. Those players cited by Masisak could prefer signing with playoff contenders. The Devils would have to overpay for their services.

That doesn’t mean the Devils won’t be active in the UFA market. With $55.2 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21 (stick tap to Cap Friendly), they have room to re-sign RFAs like Mackenzie Blackwood and Jesper Bratt and sign a UFA or two, but I expect they’ll seek affordable second-tier talent.

Masisak also recently examined the risky trade options to improve the Devils’ defense. They included Anaheim’s Cam Fowler, Boston’s Brandon Carlo, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen, and Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Masisak has also looked at solid blueline targets for the Devils, including Anaheim’s Josh Manson, Calgary’s T.J. Brodie, Columbus’ David Savard, Tampa Bay’s Mikhail Sergachev, and St. Louis’ Vince Dunn.

Considering the difficulty the Devils could face landing one of those rearguards, they could be forced to consider riskier options. I doubt Fowler or Carlo will be available, and Ristolainen no longer seems a trade candidate for the Sabres. Zadorov is a possibility, though it wouldn’t surprise me if the Avs decide to keep him.

That’s not to say the Devils can’t acquire any one of those players. However, the asking prices could be more than they’re willing to spend.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2020

Could Shayne Gostisbehere become a Flyers’ off-season trade chip? Could the Ducks trade one of their top-three defensemen? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD GOSTISBEHERE BECOME AN OFF-SEASON TRADE CHIP?

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports Shayne Gostisbehere remains the subject of frequent trade speculation. The 27-year-old defenseman is in his playing prime with offensive skills and an attractive contract that could make him enticing to other clubs.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (Photo via NHL Images).

Following the Feb. 24 trade deadline, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher admitted teams had made inquiries about Gostisbehere but he wasn’t shopping the blueliner. Nevertheless, Hall doesn’t dismiss the possibility he could become an off-season trade chip.

The development of prospect Egor Zamula, efforts to re-sign pending UFA rearguard Justin Braun, and whenever promising college prospect Cam York turns pro could factor into Gostisbehere’s future in Philadelphia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere also lacks no-trade protection, making it easier for Fletcher to move him. I don’t doubt there was interest in “Ghost Bear”, but his stock has tumbled this season. Despite his offensive abilities, he’s been criticized for sloppy defensive play.

If Fletcher were inclined to move Gostisbehere, he’d probably want a decent scoring forward in return. That deal probably isn’t available right now. 

DO THE DUCKS RECENT SIGNINGS SUGGESTS A BLUELINE CHANGE?

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently mused over the Anaheim Ducks’ blueline plans in the wake of their signing Christian Djoos, Brendan Guhle, and Jani Hakanpää to new contracts. He feels the Ducks are trying to fill a pressing need for depth among their bottom-three defense.

The new contracts for Djoos and Hakanpää are ‘show me’ deals based on their promising auditions this season, while Guhle’s contract indicates they want to iron out the inconsistencies in his game. Stephens doubts Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, or Josh Manson will be subtracted from an already question-filled blueline corps. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler and Manson frequently surfaced in trade rumors this season. At one point, Fowler was linked to the Montreal Canadiens, while Manson is often suggested as a trade target for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Given the Ducks’ defensive woes over the last two seasons, I don’t think they’ll make a bad situation worse by shopping any of those three. Besides, Fowler has a four-team trade list while Manson has a 12-team no-trade list. 










Off-Season NHL Trade & Free Agent Candidates: Anaheim Ducks

Off-Season NHL Trade & Free Agent Candidates: Anaheim Ducks

 










What Are Bob Murray’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Anaheim Ducks?

What Are Bob Murray’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Anaheim Ducks?

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 1, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 1, 2020

Can the Golden Knights be forced to choose between Robin Lehner or Marc-Andre Fleury this summer? Could a shakeup come for the Ducks’ core in the off-season? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

COULD THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS FACE A CHOICE BETWEEN LEHNER OR FLEURY THIS SUMMER?

LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson wondered what the Vegas Golden Knights’ acquisition of Robin Lehner at the trade deadline means for their goaltending tandem. Lehner is an unrestricted free agent this summer. The club, as a rule, doesn’t acquire playoff rental players, but GM Kelly McCrimmon said it was done to shore up their backup goaltending.

Does the Golden Knights’ acquisition of Robin Lehner put Marc-Andre Fleury’s tenure with the club into question? (Photo via NHL Images)

Emerson wonders if they might consider re-signing Lehner and trade Marc-Andre Fleury, though he considers the latter scenario unlikely. Fleury is the face of the franchise, popular among his teammates, and carries a 10-team no-trade clause. Nevertheless, Lehner is younger and has better stats than Fleury this season.

Emerson notes Lehner’s an upgrade over Malcolm Subban and could be an upgrade over Fleury. The Golden Knights lack an obvious successor for Fleury within their system. Re-signing Lehner, however, could prove expensive, as he could seek as much as Fleury’s annual average value of $7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights had no choice but to bring in a reliable backup for Fleury. Subban wasn’t getting the job done, there were no decent options in the trade market under contract beyond this season, and they couldn’t pass up an opportunity to bring in Lehner. The Golden Knights see themselves as a Cup contender, so they had to ensure they had the goaltending depth to get them there.

If Lehner outplays Fleury and carried the Knights to the Cup, maybe McCrimmon will try to trade Fleury and re-sign Lehner. Even then, that’s not a certainty. They can’t afford to keep them both. They got over $72 million invested in 14 players for 2020-21.

MORE CHANGES COMING TO THE DUCKS?

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Following last Monday’s NHL trade deadline, Elliott Teaford reported Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray said he was concerned over a lack of leadership among some of his veterans, though he declined to name them. He also said he didn’t consider moving any of them at the deadline. “Not at this time,” he said. “But we can’t be talking about this at the same time next year.” Murray maintained his roster had to get younger and faster.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens noted Murray remains resistant to shaking up his roster core. Those who were traded (Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie) were promising but considered supplementary players. Stephens feels they were as valuable to the Ducks as Ryan Getzlaf, Jakob Silfverberg, Rickard Rakell, Josh Manson, Adam Henrique, Hampus Lindholm or Cam Fowler. Nevertheless, Murray was displeased with the inconsistent play of his core group this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray will likely spend the remainder of the season evaluating his roster as he lays the groundwork for the off-season. He may have been unwilling to move anyone from his core this season, but perhaps he could be tempted to trade one of them for the right offer this summer.

Manson and Fowler popped up in the rumor mill this season, though that was mostly fans and pundits musing over their availability. Some in Leafs Nation would love to see Manson traded to Toronto, while Fowler was linked to the Montreal Canadiens earlier this season.










Forget Retooling, It’s Time For The Anaheim Ducks To Rebuild

Forget Retooling, It’s Time For The Anaheim Ducks To Rebuild