Forget Retooling, It’s Time For The Anaheim Ducks To Rebuild
A look at some potential trade targets for the Canadiens, plus the latest on Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev in today’s NHL rumor mill.
BLUELINE TRADE TARGETS FOR THE CANADIENS
SPORTSNET: Included Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and Anaheim Ducks rearguard Cam Fowler on its list of six trade targets for the Montreal Canadiens to shore up the left side of their blueline.
Gostisbehere’s star has fallen a bit over the last two seasons. He was a recent healthy scratch and might benefit from a change of scenery. Having already parted ways with Corey Perry earlier this year, the struggling Ducks could be ready to move on from some of their established talent. The 28-year-old Fowler is among their top trade chips to bring in pieces for the future.
Other options include Calgary’s T.J. Brodie or Oliver Kylington, Pittsburgh’s Juuso Riikola, and Chicago’s Erik Gustafsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin seeks a top-pairing left-side, Fowler is the best option. He’s a solid, all-around blueliner who would bring a big boost to their defense. Those traits are also why the Ducks are unlikely to part with him unless they get a terrific offer, like a good young scoring forward as part of the return. Fowler also has a four-team trade list and might not be keen to go to Montreal.
Gostisbehere’s struggles since last season have sparked speculation over his future in Philadelphia. He’s a skilled puck-mover but his defensive game often leaves much to be desired.
Brodie’s recent medical scare and UFA status could make him a risky acquisition. Then again, those factors could also make him more affordable. Kylington is young (22), has potential and won’t cost much to acquire, but the Habs are likely in the market for an established top-four defender.
Riikola has been a frequent healthy scratch and I don’t see him significantly improving the Habs’ defense. Like Gostisbehere, Gustafsson is a mobile puck-moving d-man but his defensive play is an area of concern.
WHAT WILL THE RANGERS DO WITH GEORGIEV?
NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has to figure out what to do with his overcrowded crease. Current backup Alexandar Georgiev has played very well spelling off veteran Henrik Lundqvist. However, he’ll soon become waiver-eligible once he plays his 60th NHL game.
“There’s a lot written about who’s going to be here, and waivers and all that stuff, said Gorton. “We’re just worried about the team playing well, and let events play themselves out.” He insists Georgiev remains “a big part of our team.”
Cyrgalis, however, believes Georgiev could be a very attractive trade piece as the Feb. 24 deadline approaches. He feels the Toronto Maple Leafs are an obvious landing spot. Moving Georgiev would create room to bring up promising Igor Shesterkin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cyrgalis believes Gorton will still be active leading up to the trade deadline. He feels the Rangers GM wants to bring in assets that will eventually make the Blueshirts a Stanley Cup contender, not just a playoff contender.
When Georgiev’s name first surfaced, I dismissed the notion he’d be available if the Rangers were in the playoff chase by the deadline. If Gorton’s plan is to build a future Cup winner, perhaps he’d consider parting with Georgiev for the right price.
Big nights for Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, the Stars rally back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Wild, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, and added two assists to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ovechkin moved ahead of Luc Robitaille into 12th spot on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list with his 669th career goal. Nicklas Backstrom collected three helpers and John Carlson scored twice for the Capitals. Auston Matthews had a three-point effort for the Leafs, who also lost defenseman Jake Muzzin to a leg injury following a first-period collision with Capitals winger Tom Wilson.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists as his club crushed the Philadelphia Flyers 7-1. Dominik Kahun and Dominik Simon also each had a goal and two assists. The Penguins welcomes back winger Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Brian Dumoulin off injured reserve.
The Dallas Stars overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild 6-3. Stars winger Alexander Radulov led the way with a hat trick and an assist while Tyler Seguin and Joe Pavelski each had a goal and an assist. Wild winger Kevin Fiala was a healthy scratch.
Nick Bonino tallied a natural hat trick and Pekka Rinne picked up his second straight shutout as the Nashville Predators blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner made 48 saves in defeat while teammate Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seabrook wasn’t pleased about it. I’ll have more on his situation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
The Boston Bruins extended their winning streak to four games by beating the San Jose Sharks 5-1, handing the latter their third straight loss. David Pastrnak scored to extend his points streak to 10 games while Brad Marchand picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 11 games. Bruins center David Krejci returned to action after a five-game absence, tallying a goal and an assist.
Cam Fowler set a franchise record for most goals by an Anaheim Ducks defenseman in a 7-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Fowler surpassed Scott Niedermayer with his 61st career goal. Carter Rowney scored twice, Josh Mahura collected three assists, and John Gibson made 36 saves for the Ducks. Nikolaj Ehlers had three points in a losing cause. The Jets played without winger Patrik Laine, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
The New York Rangers upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1. Filip Chytil scored the game-winner in his season debut, Ryan Strome had a two-point performance, and goalie Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 29 shots. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and forwards Pat Maroon and Anthony Cirelli left the game with injuries and are considered day-to-day.
Andrei Svechnikov scored twice, including a lacrosse-style goal, as the Carolina Hurricanes edge the Calgary Flames 2-1. Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek made 28 saves for the win. Earlier in the day, Flames winger Tobias Rieder cleared waivers but remained in the lineup.
The Detroit Red Wings snapped an eight-game winless skid by upsetting the Edmonton Oilers 3-1. Dylan Larkin had a two-point outing and netminder Jimmy Howard stopped 31 shots.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Head coach Jared Bednar believes the winger will miss some significant time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s two-thirds of the Avalanche’s first line out of the lineup. Landeskog joins Mikko Rantanen (leg injury) on injured reserve. It’ll be a big test for the Avs, who sit atop the Western Conference standings.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils winger Nikita Gusev will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s matchup against the Lightning.
NEW YORK POST: Former NHL player Mark Pavelich was deemed unfit to stand trial for an alleged assault of a neighbor in August. The judge suspended the trial, ruling Pavelich “lacks the ability to rationally consult with counsel, is incapable of understanding the proceedings, and is incapable of participating in the defense due to mental illness or deficiency.”
Latest on the Leafs, Hurricanes, and Ducks plus updates on Artemi Panarin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Tyson Barrie, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SUGGESTED DESTINATIONS FOR PANARIN
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Craig Custance suggested the Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, and New York Islanders as trade destinations for Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin. Custance acknowledged the asking price for a talented rental like Panarin would be expensive but worth the risk for those clubs.
Based on discussions with a league executive and a scout, Custance’s colleague Fluto Shinzawa speculates acquiring Panarin could cost the Bruins their first-round pick, either Ryan Donato or Urho Vaakainen and Trent Frederic.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes the Predators and Bruins checked on Panarin but had a bit of sticker shock regarding the Jackets’ asking price. As the trade deadline nears, he thinks that price could drop, especially if Ottawa’s Matt Duchene or Mark Stone hit the trade block.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Jackets move Panarin (and that still remains an “if” at this point), they’ll want a significant return even if Duchene or Stone end up on the trade market. I don’t see general manager Jarmo Kekalainen budging from a first-round pick and either two top prospects or a top prospect and a promising roster player.
The Leafs and Flames might prefer a more physical (and affordable) scoring forward like Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds or Carolina’s Micheal Ferland. The Isles could be interesting as they might have an eye on re-signing Panarin.
LATEST ON THE DUCKS
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger poured cold water on the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens (or another club) prying defenseman Cam Fowler away from the Anaheim Ducks. He said he was told Fowler “wasn’t available or highly unlikely” to be moved. While Ducks GM Bob Murray could have a move up his sleeve before the trade deadline, Dreger doesn’t expect he’ll consider moving a young defenseman.
Frank Seravalli recently updated the TSN trade-bait list by replacing the recently-traded Brian Boyle with Ducks center Adam Henrique, who sits 15th on the list. Henrique has recently come up in trade chatter. He signed a five-year contract extension last summer that kicks in this summer. The new contract also comes with a modified no-trade clause so the upcoming trade deadline will be one of the Ducks’ final opportunities to move Henrique without hindrance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Ducks in free-fall in the standings (dropping 18 of their last 20 games), Murray is expected to be a seller leading up to the deadline. Fowler has a modified no-trade with a four-team trade list so I doubt he’ll be going anywhere.
Some folks in the media noted Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was scouting the Ducks and assumed Fowler was his target. Maybe he’s looking instead at Henrique? The Canadiens have the cap space to absorb his $5.825-million cap hit on his new contract. Henrique, who can play center or wing, might be a good fit with the improving Habs.
LEAFS SCOUTING HURRICANES?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported a source saw Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Laurence Gilman taking in the Carolina Hurricanes-Buffalo Sabres game. He wondered if the Leafs are interested in one of the Hurricanes’ right-shot defenseman or left wing Micheal Ferland.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t rule anything out, I suppose. I still think the Leafs aren’t done dealing before the trade deadline. Remains to be seen if they’ll swing a deal with the Hurricanes.
COULD KOVALCHUK BE TRADED?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes Los Angeles Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk would be open to waiving his no-movement clause to go to a playoff contender for the right fit. He’s got two years remaining on his contract with a $6.25-million annual cap hit on a front-loaded deal, which could make him a tough sell to contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe if the Kings are willing to pick up part of that cap hit that might make Kovalchuk a little more attractive. He’s put up decent numbers (11 goals, 26 points in 44 games) on the low-scoring Kings.
LATEST ON HAYES
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger suggested New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes could be a player the Minnesota Wild or Winnipeg Jets should be looking at, considering him a good fit with either club. Hayes is slated to become a UFA this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wild keep sliding in the standings, they could go from buyers to sellers. The Jets, on the other hand, need a good second-line center and Hayes could fit the bill.
COULD THE AVALANCHE MOVE BARRIE?
THE DENVER POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Chambers said he believes there’s a “very good chance” the Colorado Avalanche trade defenseman Tyson Barrie at the Feb. 25 trade deadline. With promising right-shot defensemen Conor Timmins and Cale Makar coming on board soon, Chambers believes Barrie’s $5.5-million salary cap hit through next season makes him the odd man out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie surfaced in the rumor mill in the past but this time could be different. Chambers notes the Avs are very excited about Timmins and Makar. Wouldn’t surprise me if they at least gauge Barrie’s value in the trade market. They could also wait until the offseason to move him.
Latest on Mitch Marner, Cam Fowler, Micheal Ferland plus updates on the Predators, Bruins, Wild and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
PREDATORS NOT DONE DEALING?
THE TENNESSEAN: In the aftermath of the Nashville Predators acquiring checking-line forwards Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod, Joe Rexrode believes general manager David Poile isn’t done making moves before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He speculates a core player could be packaged with picks and/or prospects “for a larger scoring piece.” While he doesn’t expect Poile is desperate he feels the Preds GM is willing to listen to a good offer. Rexrode thinks players such as Columbus’ Artemi Panarin, Ottawa’s Mark Stone or Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds could be on Poile’s radar while speculating Kevin Fiala, Craig Smith or Eeli Tolvanen could be trade bait.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Bob McKenzie appeared on NBCSN yesterday suggesting Poile could be “big-game hunting” leading up to deadline day, suggesting he could inquire into the availability of players like Panarin, Stone or Matt Duchene. He also believes Poile could be willing to part with a first-round pick and perhaps a high-end prospect like Tolvanen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Poile’s proven willing in recent years to swing big deals to bolster his club. With the Predators in “win now” mode, he could make a move for one of the notable forwards for the right price though he could also be willing to stick with his current roster if that deal doesn’t materialize. I can see him moving a guy like Fiala or Smith but I’m not sure he’ll sacrifice a potential future star like Tolvanen for a rental player.
MARNER’S AGENT CLARIFIES COMMENTS
TSN: Toronto Star columnist Dave Feschuk said comments made by the agent for Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner regarding his contract negotiations were referring to events from last summer. Darren Ferris’ remarks claiming the Leafs were low-balling his client came a day after the Leafs re-signed Auston Matthews and caused a stir among Leafs followers. Ferris insists progress had been made but his client still prefers waiting until after this season to resume negotiations. He added there was no animosity between the two sides.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner, meanwhile, doesn’t sound concerned about this situation. While saying he’s in no rush to re-sign, the young forward believes a deal will get done. The Leafs will re-sign Marner but it’s going to cost them a lot, perhaps as much as $11 million per season.
COULD THE CANADIENS PURSUE FOWLER?
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Sean Gordon noted Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was scouting the Anaheim Ducks in their two games leading up to Tuesday’s contest between the two clubs. While Bergevin has said he’s not interested in pursuing rental players, Gordon suggests he might look at players with term on their contracts.
With the Canadiens in need of a left-side defenseman to skate alongside Shea Weber, he wondered if the Habs GM was looking at Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler, who’s in the first season of an eight-year deal worth $6.5 million annually. Gordon points out the Canadiens have depth in speedy, skilled forwards and forward prospects, which might interest the Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gordon noted he’s merely speculating here. Still, it’s an interesting suggestion. The Canadiens desperately need an experienced rearguard on Weber’s right side, they have the type of trade bait to interest the Ducks, and the Habs also have the cap space to take on Fowler’s cap hit.
The problem, however, could be the Ducks’ asking price, which could be someone like Jesperi Kotkaniemi or a prospect like Nick Suzuki or Ryan Poehling. Fowler also has a four-team no-trade list. If the Canadiens are on it and he’s unwilling to waive it, further musings of a Fowler-to-Montreal trade is pointless. (CORRECTION: It’s a four-team trade list, which significantly reduces the number of teams he can be dealt to.)
BRUINS NEED SCORING
NBC SPORTS: Justin Leger cites TSN’s Bob McKenzie saying the Boston Bruins need offense, either a second-line winger or a third-line center. “They could use another offensive weapon in their top nine,” he said. McKenzie suggested Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli could be a good fit. He also speculated GM Don Sweeney might look at bigger names like Columbus’ Artemi Panarin, Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, or Carolina’s Micheal Ferland, though Sweeney could be reluctant to spend on a rental player this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins need additional scoring punch beyond their top line or they can forget about contending for the Stanley Cup this season. Sweeney paid a lot for a rental player last year when he acquired Rick Nash but it didn’t pan out as hoped. As McKenzie suggests, the Bruins GM could look at a player like Toffoli who still has term left on his contract.
HURRICANES MIGHT KEEP FERLAND
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Carolina Hurricanes have pulled back a little on their efforts to trading pending UFA winger Micheal Ferland. Management will hold off for the next several games to see how the club performs and could keep him as an “own rental” as they push for a playoff berth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes didn’t want to risk losing Ferland to free agency for nothing this summer and were also believed willing to move one of their right-shot defensemen for a scoring forward. But with the Hurricanes just three points out of a wild-card berth and winning six of their last 10, management could be reluctant to do anything that might adversely affect their recent improvement. The addition of winger Nino Niederreiter last month also provided a welcome boost to their offense.
COULD THE CANUCKS MOVE SUTTER?
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Jason Brough speculates center Brandon Sutter’s tenure with the Vancouver Canucks could be drawing to a close thanks to the development of Bo Horvat, the additions of Elias Pettersson and Jay Beagle, and promising Adam Gaudette in their system. Sutter has a full no-trade clause which reverts to a partial no-trade this summer. Brough suggests perhaps Sutter would be amenable to a move now while he has full control over his destinations. If the Canucks decide to shop Sutter now, the Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild could be worth calling.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brough points out this is all speculation on his part. Still, if they don’t move Sutter before the deadline they certainly could be open to that possibility this summer when they’ll have more trade options.
SHOULD THE WILD START SELLING?
NBC SPORTS: With captain Mikko Koivu suffering a season-ending knee injury, James O’Brien suggests it’s time for the Minnesota Wild to become sellers. He notes they’ve been middling at best this season as they cling to a wild-card spot in the Western Conference and simply making the playoffs might not be good enough anymore.
Possible trade candidates could include pending UFA center Eric Staal or forward Charlie Coyle. O’Brien also suggests looking at the possibility of dealing Zach Parise and/or Ryan Suter, though the 34-year-olds both carry full no-movement clauses and are signed through 2024-25 with annual cap hits of $7.54 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parise and Suter aren’t going anywhere but there should be a market for Staal and Coyle if Wild GM Paul Fenton wants to start rebuilding before the trade deadline. Their play over the next couple of weeks in Koivu’s absence will determine what Fenton does.
AVS WON’T SHOP FIRST-ROUND PICKS
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic believes his club has enough time to reverse their fortunes and climb back into a playoff spot. Still, he said he and his staff might work on a trade or two to improve their depth scoring. Sakic said he won’t part with his two first-round picks in 2019 and won’t give up prospects like defensemen Cale Makar and Connor Timmins or forwards Shane Bowers or Martin Kaut.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic does have two picks in the third round of this year’s draft and I can see him shopping his second-round pick. One or two of those might help them land a rental scorer.
Game recaps, injury updates, Penguins sign GM Jim Rutherford to an extension, Paul Martin retires, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks finally won a game under new head coach Jeremy Colliton by edging the St. Louis Blues 1-0. The victory snapped an eight-game winless skid, which included Colliton’s first three games behind the Blackhawks’ bench. Corey Crawford made 28 saves and Brent Seabrook tallied the only goal.
Ben Chiarot tallied the game-winner as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1. The Capitals were without goaltender Braden Holtby, who was a pre-game scratch because of an upper-body injury. Forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie left the game having suffered possible concussions. Kuznetsov was clipped in the head by Brandon Tanev’s elbow in the first period while Oshie was slammed to the ice by Josh Morrissey in the last minute of the game.
Five consecutive goals (including four in the third period) rallied the Colorado Avalanche from a 3-1 deficit to down the Boston Bruins 6-3. Avs winger Mikko Rantanen tallied a goal and two assists. Jake DeBrusk scored twice for the Bruins, who also lost defenseman Zdeno Chara to an apparent leg injury.
Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 29 shots and Cody Eakin scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Anaheim Ducks 5-0. The Ducks also learned defenseman Cam Fowler will undergo surgery on Friday after being struck in the face by a puck on Monday. Earlier in the day, the Golden Knights announced forward Erik Haula is considered month-to-month with a lower-body (knee) injury.
Prior to trading Carl Hagelin to the Los Angeles Kings yesterday for Tanner Pearson, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford agreed to a three-year contract extension.
SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Penguins, Sidney Crosby skipped practice yesterday with an upper-body injury.
THE SCORE: Former NHL defenseman Paul Martin announced his retirement. In 14 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, and San Jose Sharks, Martin tallied 320 points in 870 games. In 2015-16, he helped the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup Final.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Martin and his family in his future endeavors.