NHL Rumor Mill – March 4, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 4, 2021

Should the Bruins pursue Jack Eichel or revisit their interest in Oliver Ekman-Larsson? Will the Penguins add some toughness before the trade deadline? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST BRUINS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins should be among the first team to contact the Buffalo Sabres if Jack Eichel decides he wants out or if they decide to move him in order to stockpile assets for their ongoing rebuild. However, the Bruins should say no if the asking price is David Pastrnak or Charlie McAvoy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Patrice Bergeron aging and the possible departure this summer of David Krejci via free agency, Eichel would be a great fit with the Bruins. However, I don’t believe they can come up with a suitable trade package to pry him away from the Sabres if they’re unwilling (as they should be) to part with Pastrnak or McAvoy.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy noted the Bruins’ need for an experienced left-shot defenseman. He suggested Bruins general manager Don Sweeney should revisit his offseason trade discussions with the Arizona Coyotes regarding blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The Coyotes captain was willing to waive his no-movement clause for the Bruins or Vancouver Canucks but a trade failed to materialize by his self-imposed Oct. 9 deadline.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk continues to pop up in trade speculation (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekman-Larsson’s agent was emphatic his client wasn’t going anywhere after that deadline passed. Maybe the Bruins could revisit those discussions in the offseason. With the Coyotes jockeying for a playoff spot in the Honda West division they’re probably not thinking of becoming sellers right now.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: DJ Bean wonders if the Bruins should go for it this season and fill in the cracks in their roster to improve their chances for a deep playoff run. He points out their roster could have a different look next season if Tuukka Rask and David Krejci depart via free agency this summer.

If the Bruins decide to go for it they’ll need to at least add a top scorer on Krejci’s line. They have $3.62 million in salary-cap space. They could be unwilling to part with their 2021 first-round pick and their prospect pool is unimpressive. Bean suggests inconsistent winger Jake DeBrusk could be an interesting trade candidate, though there is the risk that he could blossom on another club.

Bean also noted the Bruins could use an experience left-side defenseman, pointing out Nashville Predators blueliner Mattias Ekholm could be available.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa reports one NHL assistant general manager claims the Bruins haven’t made DeBrusk available. Another NHL source, however, can see the 24-year-old winger being moved.

Shinzawa points to DeBrusk being bounced around the lineup and a five-game stretch sidelined by a lower-body injury as factors affecting his disappointing performance this season. He feels the Bruins should get back a like-minded forward or a left-shot defenseman if they decide to put DeBrusk on the block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk has been a fixture in the rumor mill since the offseason but Sweeney has stuck with him. The Bruins GM might be able to bring in a decent second-line rental player by the trade deadline without having to part with DeBrusk to do so. Finding a top scorer for Krejci’s line or an established top-four left-side rearguard, however, could be difficult without giving up something worthwhile in return.

WILL THE PENGUINS ADD TOUGHNESS AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski cites Penguins director of hockey operations Brian Burke hinting his club could make a move or two before the April 12 trade deadline. “That’s the goal, to see if we can add this year. See how far we can get with this group. Yes, the team is getting older. The stars are getting older. But since I’ve been here, they’ve all been excellent,” said Burke.

Penguins GM Ron Hextall last Saturday admitted he’d like to add some toughness after Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson injured Pens forward Mark Jankowski with a hit during a recent game. Hextall said his club would look into it if a suitable player could be found but there aren’t many available around the league.

Kingerski listed Ottawa’s Austin Watson, Anaheim’s Nicolas Deslauriers and Detroit’s Luke Glendening as three options that could address that need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We know Burke likes an element of truculence on his rosters. Acquiring one of those players listed by Kingerski shouldn’t cost very much provided they’re available.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2021

A look at TSN’s latest trade-bait board in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: With the NHL’s Apr. 12 trade deadline six weeks away, Frank Seravalli lists Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Columbus Blue Jackets blueliner David Savard, New York Rangers rearguard Tony DeAngelo, Buffalo Sabres defender Brandon Montour and Sabres winger Taylor Hall among the top-five players on his trade-bait board.

Ekholm has a year remaining on his contract and could fetch more than Savard, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. However, Seravalli believes the latter’s playoff experience and right-hand shot will draw interest from postseason contenders. It remains to be seen, however, if Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen will move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Philly’s Jordan Hall observed recent trade speculation linked Ekholm to the Philadelphia Flyers. However, he believes the club’s performance over the next month will determine if they need external help on their blue line.

Seravalli notes Kekalainen tends to let pending UFAs play out their contracts but that might change if the Jackets fall further out of playoff contention. DeAngelo remains available but his banishment from the Rangers over his personal issues makes rival general managers reluctant to take a chance on him right now.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images)

It’s only a matter of time until the Sabres become sellers. Montour and Hall are both pending UFAs but the latter has a full no-movement clause. His camp was reportedly interested in talking contract extension with the Sabres but that might have changed given the club’s ongoing poor play. His $8 million cap hit could be difficult for most contenders to absorb. 

Predators winger Mikael Granlund, Detroit Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan, Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen, Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Canucks winger Tanner Pearson round out the top ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund, Ryan and Pearson are pending UFAs on teams with fading playoff hopes. Granlund was linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs while Ryan acknowledged the possibility he could be traded but hopes to return to the Wings this summer as a free agent.

Virtanen and Bennett are fixtures in this year’s rumor mill. The Canucks reportedly attempted to ship him to the Anaheim Ducks over the weekend for Danton Heinen but his $3.75 million in actual salary for next season was a rumored sticking point. The Athletic’s Thomas Drance believes this shows the Canucks still hope to get something decent back in return.

The Bennett trade chatter picked up a month ago when his agent went public with a trade request. Flames GM Brad Treliving recently stated his club will decide the versatile forward’s fate and not his agent. Treliving may be reluctant to move Bennett this season because he ramps up his game in the playoffs. However, he could change his mind at the trade deadline if the struggling Flames fail to improve.

Red Wings forward Luke Glendening, St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn, Sabres center Eric Staal, Wings blueliner Marc Staal and Senators winger Ryan Dzingel fill the final five spots on the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Ryan, Glendening and Marc Staal are both pending UFAs who could be shopped at the deadline for draft picks. The latter still has a no-movement clause but could waive it for a contender.  Detroit Sports Nation cited a report in The Athletic quoting an NHL executive’s belief that Wings GM Steve Yzerman could shop a young forward like Tyler Bertuzzi or Anthony Mantha if the right deal came along. Bertuzzi could draw more interest but Yzerman could prefer moving the talented-but-inconsistent Mantha, who also has a bit of an injury history. He’ll likely seek a good young player in return.

Dunn was the hot topic of trade chatter a month ago but that has died out as the Blues deal with an injury-ravaged roster. Eric Staal still has a 10-team no-trade list but his experience could make him an invaluable addition to a playoff club. Dzingel was recently acquired by the Senators from the Carolina Hurricanes but could also be moved by the trade deadline for a draft pick.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 22, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 22, 2020

The Devils interview Gerard Gallant for their vacant head-coaching position, the latest speculation on the 2020 Draft, a potential stumbling block for the league’s plans to resume the schedule, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Pierre Lebrun cites sources reporting the New Jersey Devils held a virtual interview last week with former Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant regarding their vacant head coaching position. Interim Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald has also spoken to several other candidates. Current interim coach Alain Nasreddine remains a legitimate candidate for the job.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco wonders if Fitzgerald conducting these interviews for a new bench boss indicates he’ll remain the Devils GM. She points out it would make little sense otherwise for him to be interviewing new coaches. The ownership group recently interviewed former Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis for the management job. Fitzgerald last week said he hadn’t had discussions with ownership regarding the future of his role.

The New Jersey Devils interviewed former Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Devils all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention if the schedule resumes, it’s understandable that they would want to start interviewing potential coaching candidates now. Mastracco makes a good point about Fitzgerald’s role. A new GM usually wants to hire his coaching staff. Maybe this is an indicator that Fitzgerald will remain the general manager after this season.

LeBrun, Frank Seravalli, and SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reported the NHL is considering staging the 2020 Draft in June before the potential resumption of the schedule this summer. It would be unprecedented, as no draft has ever been held before the Stanley Cup playoffs.

While it would create some much-needed buzz for the league, potential complications – such as the draft lottery, conditional draft picks tied to playoff placement, and trading players on current rosters – would have to be addressed. Seravalli indicated this might not be universally embraced by NHL general managers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get the NHL’s desire to draw attention back to its product at a time when there’s little actual sports news taking place. Nevertheless, staging the draft before the season resumes could create unnecessary headaches. Best to stage the draft following the playoffs and avoid unwanted complications.

Friedman also reports the idea of staging neutral-site games could be a no-go. Instead, the league could consider using one NHL city per division for staging its games. The plan remains to resume the regular season.

TSN: Mark Masters reports Carolina Hurricanes goaltender James Reimer advocates for exhibition games if the league returns to action this summer. He feels it would be helpful for goaltenders to have a training camp and get in a couple of exhibition contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would also be beneficial for all players to get back into game shape before resuming the season, especially with the playoffs being staged soon afterward.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes integrating European players will be a stumbling block for the league’s plans to resume the schedule. Different countries have different responses to coronavirus pandemic.

Sweden, for example, has opted for a herd immunity strategy, meaning their social distancing restrictions aren’t as stringent as in North America. Some Swedish NHL players have resumed skating because rinks aren’t closed in their country. The NHL doesn’t intend on issuing a directive to stop them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Depending on where the returning players are coming from, they could be forced to self-quarantine for 14 days before rejoining their teammates. The league will also have to ensure mass testing of all its players before it can resume play.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward and NHLPA player rep Luke Glendening said he and his teammates would love to finish this season. Health and safety concerns remain important issues, but Glendening said his teammates were “chomping at the bit” to return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics of the NHL’s plans to resume the schedule often point to a perceived unwillingness of players on non-playoff clubs, like the Red Wings, to complete the season. It’s assumed they would lack sufficient motivation to return for a season that, for them, is already lost.

Glendening’s comments, however, suggest otherwise. If the players on the worst team in the league are keen to come back, it’s probably safe to assume those on the other non-contenders share that sentiment.

THE ATHLETIC (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED): James Mirtle examined why NHL players opted to defer their final paycheck, pointing out it’s tied directly to the league’s financial health, hockey-related revenue (HRR), the salary cap, and the collective bargaining agreement.

Mirtle also points out the league’s escrow system wasn’t designed for huge drops in HRR. If it spills over into next season, the league and the players will have to come up with other solutions. He suggested a salary rollback combined with a salary-cap drop.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be very interesting to see what happens beyond this season. If there’s a second coronavirus wave that shuts down part or all of next season, it could have far-reaching consequences for the players and the team owners.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin looks at the leading candidates for this season’s major NHL awards. They include Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (Hart Trophy), Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (Norris Trophy), Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Vezina Trophy), and Colorado Avalanche rookie blueliner Cale Makar (Calder Trophy).

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Tomas Hertl said all is going well in his recovery from knee surgery. There’s no indication he’ll miss the start of next season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 26, 2019

Game recaps, the Penguins trade Erik Gudbranson to the Ducks, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals overcame a 5-1 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 6-5 on a shootout goal by Nicklas Backstrom. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Michal Kempny each scored twice for the Capitals. Tim Schaller tallied two goals while Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat each collected two assists for the Canucks.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice to rally the Washington Capitals to a 6-5 win over the Vancouver Canucks (Photo via NHL Images).

​SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals gave the young Canucks an invaluable lesson. Never sit on a big lead against a talented veteran club.

Third-period goals by Barrett Hayton and Clayton Keller lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Jason Demers collected three assists while Nick Schmaltz and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who’ve won six of their last eight contests. Devils rookie Jack Hughes scored a goal and set up two others. Devils defenseman Will Butcher returned from injured reserve while Connor Carrick (upper body) was placed on IR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a shaky start the Coyotes are playing well of late. Their once-sputtering offense has significantly improved in recent games.

Speaking of surging teams, the New York Islanders picked up their sixth consecutive victory by doubling up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Nick Leddy scored twice, including on a penalty shot, and collected an assist. Tyler Ennis tallied twice for the Senators.

Nathan MacKinnon extended his points streak to 10 games with two assists in a 6-1 thumping of the Vegas Golden Knights. Former Golden Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare collected three points while Nazem Kadri and Matt Calvert each scored twice for the Avs. Golden Knights starter Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled after giving up four goals on 26 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t Fleury’s fault. He had little defensive support in this contest.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark posted a 41-save performance to shut out the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Sam Reinhart and Jake McCabe were the goal scorers. The Wings have dropped seven straight games. Sabres winger Jimmy Vesey and defenseman Marco Scandella were ruled out for this game. Both will be evaluated when the club returns to Buffalo. Wings forward Luke Glendening (upper body) will be sidelined two-to-four weeks.

The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the San Jose Sharks 4-1, spoiling former Leafs winger Patrick Marleau’s return to Toronto. Mitch Marner and Ilya Mikheyev each collected two points while Marleau was held scoreless.

HEADLINES

TRIBLIVE.COM/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday traded defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Anaheim Ducks for minor-league forward Andreas Martinsen and a seventh-round pick in 2021. The Penguins also placed blueliner Zach Trotman on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gudbranson was linked to the Ducks in the rumor mill following their failed attempt last month to acquire Justin Faulk. He’ll bring size, toughness and a much-needed right-handed shot to the Ducks blueline. The move is not linked to Josh Manson’s recent injury.

The Penguins, meanwhile, free up invaluable salary-cap space by shedding Gudbranson’s $4 million cap hit. They’ll need that room when sidelined forwards Evgeni Malkin, Alex Galchenyuk, and Bryan Rust return to the lineup.

CBS SPORTS: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (upper body) will miss the club’s next two games. Winger Sammy Blais is listed as day-to-day with an injured thumb.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk returned to practice yesterday showing no ill-efect from a collision in his crease during Tuesday’s contest against the Edmonton Oilers. Dubnyk was shaken up and forced to leave the game. 

TSN: Former Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams has quietly resumed skating but still hasn’t reached a decision regarding his playing career. An unrestricted free agent, Williams is taking some time away from the game to consider his future.

CBS SPORTS: Calgary Flames forward Austin Czarnik is sidelined with a lower-body injury.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets forward Mason Appleton is listed as week-to-week after breaking his foot in a pickup football game

YARDBARKER: Former Washington Capitals playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly could be signing with KHL team Kunlun Red Star.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov is returning to the KHL.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2019

Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid rally the Oilers over the Capitals, Vladimir Tarasenko and Matt Duchene sidelined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl’s overtime goal completed a 3-1 comeback as the Edmonton Oilers upset the Washington Capitals 4-3. Draisaitl and linemate Connor McDavid each collected three points in this contest. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin sniped two goals.

Leon Draisaitl’s overtime goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

Brayden Schenn’s two-goal effort helped the St. Louis Blues defeat the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 5-2. It was a costly win for the Blues as winger Vladimir Tarasenko left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. An update on his condition could be made today.

The Nashville Predators blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 as Pekka Rinne turned in a 26-save shutout performance. Predators center Matt Duchene left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. An update on his condition has yet to be made. Colton Sissons scored a goal and collected an assist.

Matthew Tkachuk scored twice in regulation and the winner in a shootout as the Calgary Flames nipped the Florida Panthers 6-5. Aleksander Barkov collected four assists for the Panthers, extending their points streak to seven games.

The New York Islanders picked up their fifth straight victory by down the Arizona Coyotes 4-2, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Islanders winger Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Islanders activated Casey Cizikas off injured reserved but winger Leo Komarov’s (illness) status remains uncertain.

Evander Kane scored two power-play goals, Tomas Hertl collected three assists, and Aaron Dell kicked out 35 shots as the San Jose Sharks doubled up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.

Cam Atkinson scored in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3, handing the latter their third straight loss. Jackets blueliners Ryan Murray and David Savard each had two-point performance.

The New York Rangers ended a five-game losing skid with a 6-2 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Ryan Strome scored twice while Rangers defensemen Brady Skjei and Tony DeAngelo each had two points.

Claude Giroux tallied his first goal of the season as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. James van Riemsdyk scored and collected an assist. Flyers forward Michael Raffl left the game in the third period with an injured leg after blocking a shot.

Two first-period goals by Denis Gurianov gave the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. It was Stars winger Corey Perry’s first game against his former club since his contract buyout this summer. Dallas goalie Ben Bishop made 27 saves, handing the Ducks their third straight loss. Ducks defenseman Josh Manson injured his left leg while winger Ondrej Kase left the game with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov returned to the KHL, signing a professional tryout contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Markov had hoped to sign with an NHL club this summer after spending the last two seasons with KHL club Ak-Bars Kazan.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening is expected to be sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks assigned forward Adam Gaudette to their AHL affiliate in Utica.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster Mike Maniscalco underwent successful surgery this week to remove a large non-cancerous mass from his abdomen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Mansicalco has a speedy recovery.

THE SCORE: Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has announced his retirement. He spent 15 seasons in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, and New York Islanders. Seidenberg’s longest tenure was with the Bruins (over six seasons), helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and reach the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. In 859 NHL games, he collected 251 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Seidenberg in his future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 21, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – February 21, 2018

Latest on Erik Karlsson, plus updates on the Rangers, Red Wings and more in your NHL rumor mill.

KARLSSON SPECULATION PERSISTS

TSN: Darren Dreger believes it’s unlikely the Ottawa Senators will trade defenseman Erik Karlsson at the Feb. 26 trade deadline. He suggests the chances of a trade improve in the offseason or it’s possible Karlsson could re-sign. Still, Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion has talked to teams and it’s assumed there’s a high level of interest in the Senators captain.

Dreger and colleague Bob McKenzie agree it’ll take a significant offer to pry Karlsson away from the Senators. McKenzie said he’s heard “upwards of five, six, seven pieces” and perhaps a team being asked to take on winger Bobby Ryan’s contract, which has four seasons remaining at an annual salary-cap hit of $7.25 million.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doesn’t think it’s impossible for Karlsson to be moved at the trade deadline. “Maybe no one wants to pay Ottawa’s price, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t discussed. Ottawa’s front office will consider every option, as it should.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Frank Seravalli updated his trade bait list by putting Karlsson at No. 5. I don’t discount the possibility that Karlsson could be moved at the trade deadline. However, several factors work against such a move. While Dorion is willing to listen to offers, it doesn’t mean he’s shopping Karlsson or intends to trade him at the deadline. Every report out of Ottawa in recent weeks claims the Sens GM hopes to re-sign his captain. Unless Karlsson’s demanding a trade or Dorion’s getting a real sweetheart offer, I don’t see him changing his mind.

Packaging Karlsson and Ryan is complicated by their combined cap hit (Over $13 million) and respective modified no-trade clauses. Even if the Sens agreed to pick up part of Ryan’s cap hit, his list of preferred trade destinations could be different than Karlsson’s. If there do share a couple of preferred trade destinations, those teams could lack the cap space and assets to make that deal happen.

Finally, while I don’t doubt there are clubs with serious interest in Karlsson, few have the cap room or the assets right now to make such a significant trade. That’s why we rarely see superstars in the prime getting dealt at the trade deadline. Those deals typically occur in the offseason, when clubs are flush with cap dollars and more willing to swing big trades.

Yes, it’s possible Karlsson could be moved at the trade deadline, but I think it’s unlikely. 

Interest remains high in New York Rangers winger Rick Nash (Photo via NHL Images)

LATEST ON THE RANGERS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports as many as five or six teams are believed to have pitched some offers to the New York Rangers for winger Rick Nash. “Nashville, Columbus, Dallas, Winnipeg and Boston” are among the clubs believed to have varying degrees of interest. The Jets aren’t believed on Nash’s 10-team trade list but maybe he’ll be open to that move.

Noting the number of teams (five or six) potentially interest in Nash, Bob McKenzie believes there’s double that number looking at Rangers winger Michael Grabner, who carries a very affordable $1.6-million cap hit on an expiring contract. The asking price is said to be a second-round draft pick.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cites a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey noting a source said the Pittsburgh Penguins could be looking at Grabner as a trade option. He also think there’s “Western Conference interest” in Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Tampa Bay Lightning are a known interested party in McDonagh, as are the Boston Bruins despite yesterday’s acquisition of Nick Holden. Brooks also speculates the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets could be “among unidentified suitors”. He expects the Rangers have set a high asking price for McDonagh.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders GM Garth Snow is believed to have spoken to the Rangers about McDonagh but the conversation probably didn’t go very far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash is expected to be moved at the trade deadline but interested parties are likely waiting for the asking price (which includes a first-round pick and a top prospect) to come down. Grabner won’t be difficult to move and could be gone by this weekend. He’d be a more affordable option for the cap-strapped Penguins than Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec

While it’s possible McDonagh could be traded by the deadine, I expect that move takes place in the offseason. Like Karlsson, he’s got a year remaining on his contract and the high price the Rangers will set could make him tough to move right now. 

UPDATES ON THE RED WINGS

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports teams like the Nashville Predators have interest in rental scoring wingers. Given the high prices for those rentals, however, they’re also looking at players with term remaining on their contracts that they might get for less than the cost of a rental player. McKenzie mentions Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar, who’s got three years remaining on his contract at $5.3 million annually. While the Wings aren’t obliged to move Tatar, McKenzie said the two clubs have had discussions about the winger.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Red Wings have shown an inclination to move Tatar or Gustav Nyquist but not both. He notes Nashville has shown interest in Tatar, but other clubs could prefer Nyquist because he’s got only a year left on his contract. Nyquist has a no-trade clause but Tatar’s doesn’t kick in until July 1. He also notes the Toronto Maple Leafs have interest in Wings center Luke Glendening, but thinks they’d prefer offering up Josh Leivo rather than a draft pick. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if the Wings move Tatar or Nyquist. of the two, the former is the easiest to deal because of his lack of a no-trade clause, but the remaining tenure on his contract could be a sticking point unless the Wings pick up part of his cap hit. 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it sounds as though no-trade/no-movement clauses are complicating the Winnipeg Jets’ efforts to a player before the trade deadline. For rental players, Friedman believes the Jets are a worthwhile bet. He also notes the Jets looked at Mike Hoffman but they’re not on his list of preferred trade destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:Even if a player doesn’t want to stay in Winnipeg beyond the remainder of this season, I agree with Friedman that the Jets are worth the chance. They are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Then again, why should the Jets acquire a player who doesn’t want to be there? Better to find one who does rather than one who could upset team chemistry. 

Friedman suggests Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler as an “under the radar” trade option for the Tampa Bay Lightning, though he acknowledged Edler’s no-trade clause. He also noted Canucks GM Jim Benning would like to add a big player. Maybe a forward with some physicality who has the skill to make plays,” Friedman thinks Benning’s looking at “youngish players” with term remaining on their contracts such as “Nick Bjugstad (Florida), Vladislav Namestnikov (Tampa Bay) or Brock Nelson (Islanders).”

He isn’t sure what the Panthers will do with Bjugstad but said a few teams have scouted him. Namestnikov, who’s arbitration eligible this summer, skates on the Lightning’s top power play unit but shifts to the third line at even strength. Friedman suggests he could be a piece that brings in some trade help.

Word that Vancouver defenseman Chris Tanev will miss another four weeks with a fractured leg complicates things at the trade deadline, but Friedman notes there were some teams inquiring into what it would take to acquire him. He believes it would take a lot. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edler has so far shown no willingness to waive his no-trade clause. Maybe Benning has interest in Bjugstad, Namestikov or Nelson but he’ll likely have to wait until the offseason to pursue them. The Canucks GM also stated earlier this week he had no intention of trading Tanev. 

Friedman thinks the payment for any club interested in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson could be high, as he doesn’t think their preference is to move him.

The Chicago Blackhawks appear more interested in moving their pending UFAs such as Lance Bouma, Jan Rutta and Tommy Wingels.