Trade Candidates Unlikely To Move At 2021 NHL Trade Deadline
The Devils hold Kyle Palmieri out of Sunday’s game as a precautionary measure, speculation over Johnny Gaudreau’s future with the Flames and some suggested trade targets for the Bruins in today’s NHL rumor mill.
PALMIERI TRADE COMING SOON?
NJ.COM: Chris Ryan reports the New Jersey Devils held winger Kyle Palmieri out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals as a precautionary measure with the NHL’s April 12 trade deadline a week away. This isn’t an indication a trade is imminent but his agent expects his client could be moved before the deadline.
Palmieri is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He hasn’t signed a contract extension with the Devils and there’s a risk they could lose him for nothing to the UFA market in July.
This isn’t the first time the Devils have held a player out of the lineup prior to trading him. Taylor Hall was kept out for two games in December 2019 before being shipped to the Arizona Coyotes. Ben Lovejoy and Marcus Johansson were both healthy scratches prior to being moved before the 2019 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palmieri is among the top trade targets ahead of this year’s deadline. He’s been linked to the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs in the rumor mill. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s moved before the end of this week.
Ryan pointed out the Devils’ other pending UFAs (Ryan Murray, Sami Vatanen, Dmitry Kulikov and Travis Zajac) were in the lineup against the Capitals. That probably tells us all we need to know about their trade statuses.
COULD GAUDREAU BE MOVED?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy speculates some big changes could be coming for the fading Calgary Flames at the trade deadline or at the 2021 NHL Draft in July. Johnny Gaudreau could be worth watching as an NHL source claimed the winger is in head coach Darryl Sutter’s doghouse.
The source suggested the Philadelphia Flyers could be a good fit for the Salem, New Jersey native. Gaudreau grew up cheering for the Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary general manager Brad Treliving was feeling the heat from Flames fans following last year’s early playoff exit. Gaudreau was frequently singled out last fall by some Calgary pundits as a trade candidate.
The 27-year-old winger’s eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agent status combined with his declining stats suggest he won’t be a Flame for much longer.
Such a move, however, likely happens in the offseason when teams have more cap space and willingness to make big moves. Whether he gets moved to the Flyers (assuming they’re interested) is another matter. They could be more in the market for goaltending and blue-line depth.
SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins desperately need experienced defensive help with blueliners Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller sidelined by injuries. He suggested they target the Nashville Predators’ Mattias Ekholm, the Columbus Blue Jackets David Savard, the Devils’ Dmitry Kulikov, the Arizona Coyotes’ Alex Goligoski, or the Anaheim Ducks’ Josh Manson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators reportedly seek three assets (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) for Ekholm. He’s probably unavailable now given their recent surge into playoff contention in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Goligoski as the Coyotes hold the fourth and final playoff berth in the Honda West Division
Manson has another year left on his contract plus a 12-team no-trade list. Injuries have also limited him to just 13 games this season. Savard and Kulikov seem more realistic options given their respective clubs’ position in the standings.
Check out the latest on the Bruins, Jets, Capitals, Sharks and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shinzawa rated each option, including the potential cost of acquisition. His list was published on Friday before news emerged of the COVID-19 variant sidelining a number of Canucks, including Edler. Regardless, Edler enjoys living and playing in Vancouver and has shown no willingness to waive his no-movement clause in the past.
Ekholm’s probably no longer available due to the Predators’ surge into playoff contention in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Goligoski as the Coyotes jockey with the Blues and Sharks for the final playoff spot in the Honda West.
Palmieri or Rakell could provide a boost to the Bruins’ offense but the asking price for either guy could get expensive, especially for Rakell with a year remaining on his contract. I don’t see the Devils parting with Wood. The 25-year-old has a year remaining on his contract and probably still fits into the Devils’ plans going forward, whereas Palmieri is slated to become a UFA this summer and could price himself out of New Jersey.
The Bruins options could be going the bargain rental route with Nash, Ryan, Reilly, or Merrill. Neither of those guys, however, will significantly improve Boston’s roster.
RECENT JETS, CAPITALS AND SHARKS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently speculated the Winnipeg Jets are worth watching at the upcoming NHL trade deadline. He felt they could make a move to bolster their defense. However, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff cautions finite resources such as cap space and currency to make trades could make it difficult to find the right fit.
LeBrun believed Mattias Ekholm would be a perfect fit on the Jets blueline. However, a Predators source told him last week the club doesn’t face the same urgency to sell as it did several weeks ago. LeBrun suggested Columbus’ David Savard or Anaheim’s Josh Manson as other options worth considering.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff already made one significant trade this season, shipping Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a draft pick. LeBrun feels he could strike again.
Savard could be the best choice. Cheveldayoff has a recent trade history with Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and the asking price won’t be anything close to the reported three assets (including a first-round pick and top prospect) the Predators want for Ekholm. Manson’s been hampered by injuries this season, carries a 12-team no-trade list and could be reluctant to waive it.
Tarik El-Bashir recently examined some potential low-cost rentals for the Washington Capitals to add depth at center. He suggested Detroit’s Luke Glendening, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula and Columbus’ Riley Nash. El-Bashir also didn’t rule out Calgary’s Sam Bennett.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund and Haula could be unavailable given the Predators’ aforementioned surge in the standings. Bennett seems a more likely trade chip with each passing day but could too expensive for the Capitals. Glendening seems the most affordable option but other cap-strapped contenders seeking depth at center (hello there, Edmonton Oilers) could come calling.
LeBrun also reported the San Jose Sharks have told teams it has cap space to rent for an asset or two. They have around $6 million available and LeBrun suggested they could become the third team in a complicated cap deal to facilitate a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are also rising in the West Division and fighting for a playoff spot. That could affect GM Doug Wilson’s willingness to rent out some of his cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks is referring to the Panthers’ search for blueline help after Aaron Ekblad was sidelined by a fractured leg for the remainder of the season.
Despite his defensive flaws, DeAngelo’s offensive abilities and puck-moving skills would draw attention from clubs seeking blueline depth. However, the young rearguard’s personal baggage, including his clash with a teammate in January that ended his tenure with the Rangers, has also dampened his trade value.
With the April 12 trade deadline two weeks away, here’s a look at the latest on the Bruins, Blue Jackets and Jets in the NHL Rumor Mill.
BRUINS NEED A SCORING WINGER
THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa reports Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney is once again in pursuit of a top-nine right-winger. “They need a forward,” one NHL source told Shinzawa. “For now and for the future. What’s your second line look like if you don’t?”
Shinzawa suggested New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri would be a leading candidate. He has no-trade protection but lives in Massachusetts during the offseason. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, meaning the Bruins don’t have to worry about protecting him in the expansion draft. They could also sign him to a new contract if he’s interested following the expansion draft.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Palmieri would make sense for the Bruins. However, he feels it won’t make sense for the Devils if the return is another prospect or a draft pick or two. He believes the Devils need to move past rebuilding and add an established scorer or two.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing Palmieri might not be easy for the Bruins if the Devils want more than draft picks or prospects. It could cost them struggling (but still promising) winger Jake DeBrusk, who they’re reportedly reluctant to move because they fear he could blossom into a scorer elsewhere.
LATEST BLUE JACKETS SPECULATION
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks thinks Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen owes it to Nick Foligno to move him if the two sides fail to reach an agreement on a contract extension before the trade deadline rather than keep him for a playoff drive. He suggested the Jackets captain could be a good fit on the New York Islanders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks seems to be assuming Foligno would welcome a trade to a playoff contender. That might not be the case. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman thinks trading their captain isn’t something the Jackets want to do. Foligno’s 10-team no-trade clause would also complicate things.
NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Tim Campbell was asked about the probability of the Columbus Blue Jackets trading struggling winger Patrik Laine at the trade deadline. He dismissed that idea, pointing out the Jackets gave up a lot to acquire the winger and won’t give up on him that quickly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine won’t be traded but the Jackets have to get to the root of his (and Max Domi’s) offensive struggles. Part of it is the lack of skilled centers. Part of it could be John Tortorella’s coaching. Complicating matters is Laine’s status as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.
WOULD GOLIGOSKI MAKE SENSE FOR THE JETS?
THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates suggests Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski could give the Winnipeg Jets an opportunity to add an experienced blueliner without giving up high-end futures in return. While Golisgoski’s offensive production is in decline he’s still a capable, big-minute rearguard with a left-handed shot who could serve in a variety of defensive roles.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ates points out Goligoski would be a more affordable acquisition for the Jets than Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm or Columbus’ David Savard. He’s due to become a UFA this summer but his $5.475 million cap hit could be a sticking point.
Cap Friendly indicates the Jets do have over $3.5 million in LTIR space remaining and Goligoski has over $1.9 million in salary still to be paid. They can fit him in but could seek more cap flexibility by asking the Coyotes to pick up part of his cap hit.
HALL AND PALMIERI
SPORTSNET: Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall said he would “for sure” listen if general manager Kevyn Adams approached him about trade options. His comments came following the Sabres 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last night.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this month, Hall indicated he’d also be open to re-signing with the Sabres. Perhaps the strain of 16 consecutive losses has changed his mind. The 29-year-old winger has a full no-movement clause and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. There’s speculation the New York Islanders could be interested in his services.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils and Kyle Palmieri aren’t close to a new contract. He’s told the two sides are struggling to find common ground due to the flattened salary cap and uncertainty over what contracts could look like moving forward. LeBrun considers it more likely Palmieri gets moved by the April 12 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palmieri is completing a five-year deal with an annual average value of $4.65 million. A five-time 20-plus goal scorer who can skate on either wing, the 30-year-old winger would be a very enticing rental player for playoff contenders seeking scoring punch.
WILL THE CANADIENS BE BUYERS AT THE DEADLINE?
TSN: Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told reporters yesterday he doesn’t expect to be busy leading up to the trade deadline due to salary-cap constraints.
TVA SPORTS: Maxim Lapierre believes Bergevin could make a move despite his comments to reporters. Lapierre believed the Habs GM is on the hot seat and maintaining the status quo isn’t an option. He feels the club needs a fourth-line center or a veteran third-line forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d argue landing a reliable top-four, left-side defenseman is the greater need for the Canadiens. Regardless, a number of pundits aren’t buying the notion that Bergevin won’t do something before the deadline.
Bergevin could strike if the opportunity presents itself. Cap Friendly indicates the Canadiens have over $3.5 million in projected trade deadline cap space. They also carry plenty of tradeable assets in draft picks (11 between rounds two and five) and promising prospects.
LATEST ON THE OILERS, FLYERS AND SENATORS
TSN: Frank Seravalli believes the Edmonton Oilers are looking for a right-shot center who can win faceoffs and help them kill penalties. He proposed Detroit’s Luke Glendening, Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter and Calgary’s Derek Ryan as three options, though the latter two carry higher salary-cap hits than Glendening. Seravalli points out the Oilers traded away their second, third, and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft “so they’d like to do all that with a fourth-round pick if they can.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers GM Ken Holland undoubtedly wants to bolster his lineup before the trade deadline. That will be difficult given their limited cap space and shortage of picks in this year’s draft.
Holland will have to get creative, including perhaps moving out a roster player or dipping into his 2022 draft picks. I also don’t see the Canucks or Flames dealing with the Oilers as long as they remain in playoff contention.
PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Ryan Gilbert reports Flyers assistant GM Brent Flahr was among a number of scouts at the Arizona Coyotes game against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. He speculates Flahr could’ve been checking Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski or Jason Demers. The Flyers kicked tires on Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson during the offseason but he has a no-movement clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers won’t be buyers if they continue to struggle in the MassMutual East Division. The New York Rangers have overtaken them for fifth place.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have placed Christian Wolanin on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Belleville or moving him to their taxi squad. He said they’ve been trying to trade the 26-year-old defenseman for the last little while but couldn’t find anyone willing to give up any assets.
A look at several noteworthy names on TSN’s updated trade bait list plus updates on the Penguins and Flyers in today’s NHL rumor mill.
ANALYSIS OF TSN’S UPDATED TRADE-BAIT LIST
TSN: Mattias Ekholm remains atop the updated trade-bait list. Pierre LeBrun recently reported the Nashville Predators seek three assets (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) for the 30-year-old defenseman.
Meanwhile, winger Mikael Granlund rises to No. 3 as Frank Seravalli reported he’s the Toronto Maple Leafs’ primary target ahead of the April 12 trade deadline. Seravalli also pointed out the Predators’ recent surge in the standings have them in wait-and-see mode.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No mention of Nashville blueliner Ryan Ellis on TSN’s list. The Athletic’s Adam Vingan observed Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if Ellis might be available. Vingan weighed the pros and cons of trading either defenseman. He also pointed out the Preds are under no obligation to do so given their recent improvement in the standings and the term remaining on both rearguard’s contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No mention of Coyotes winger Conor Garland on this list. A recent report by Elliotte Freidman speculating over Garland’s availability has BostonHockeyNow’s Joe Haggerty and NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss suggesting the winger would be a good trade target for the Bruins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pierre LeBrun, in his column for The Athletic, suggested Foligno or Palmieri could be targeted by New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello if they become available. He and Elliotte Friedman both reported the Bue Jackets could be reluctant to part with Foligno. With the Jackets back in the playoff race they could also retain Savard. It remains to be seen, meanwhile, whether the Devils will trade or re-sign Palmieri.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Washington listed Bernier and Dubnyk among possible goalie trade targets for the Washington Capitals. Others include Buffalo’s Carter Hutton, Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and Calgary’s David Rittich.
Given the Capitals’ limited cap space, any deal they make will be dollar-in, dollar-out. I rule out Rinne because of his no-movement clause and desire to finish his career with the Predators. I don’t see the Flames moving Rittich as long as they have a shot at a playoff spot.
SPECTOR’ S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch considers it doubtful Dzingel will get traded. He feels teams will be more interested in getting blueline help before the deadline, suggesting Braydon Coburn, Mike Reilly and Erik Gudbranson could be targeted by playoff clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal carries a 10-team no-trade list but it’s believed he could be willing to waive it to go to a contender. However, The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski recently reported Sabres GM Kevyn Adams hasn’t asked Staal about it. Maybe Adams is waiting until the deadline draws closer. Then again, maybe no one’s called the Sabres about the 36-year-old center.
UPDATES ON THE PENGUINS AND FLYERS
THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports Brian Burke, the Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations, dismisses speculation this year’s trade deadline could be a quiet one around the league, suggesting business could soon pick up. He said general manager Ron Hextall is working the phones as they’ll try to add at the trade deadline if they can. Burke indicated he and Hextall would like to bring some size to their roster.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher took accountability for his club’s struggles this season. He cited his inability to replace retired defenseman Matt Niskanen as a significant factor. Fletcher said he’s not looking at selling right now, adding the trade market is very quiet. He indicated he’s willing to upgrade his team if a deal makes sense.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are rising in the standings, emboldening their front office to try to augment their lineup at the trade deadline. The Flyers, meanwhile, could go either way, which explains Fletcher’s position. They’re still in the playoff chase but must gain ground over the next couple of weeks for their GM to consider investing futures for immediate help.