Flyers Bandwagon A Welcoming Place as Philly Surges Up NHL Standings
The latest on the Blackhawks and Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope recently reported the Blackhawks will finish the season with Corey Crawford and Malcolm Subban as their goalie tandem, but the future between the pipes appears murky. General manager Stan Bowman said his club will have a proven NHL goalie signed for next season, but didn’t shed light on who it’ll be.
Pope doesn’t expect Subban fits into the Blackhawks’ future. All eyes will be upon Crawford, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and has a concussion history. If Crawford departs, Bowman’s options in the UFA market could include Brady Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Jaroslav Halak, Anton Khudobin, Thomas Greiss, Mike Smith, and former Blackhawk Robin Lehner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford is 35 now and his best seasons are behind him. Perhaps he’ll agree to a one- or two-year deal for less than his current $6-million annual average value. If he agrees, I can see the Hawks trying to land an affordable backup via trade or free agency.
If they part ways with Crawford, I doubt they can afford Holtby or Markstrom. Halak, Khudobin, and Greiss are experienced backups, but they’ll try to get the best deal possible if they hit the open market. Smith, 37, is in the twilight of his career. Lehner didn’t sound happy over his dealings with Blackhawks management this season and could seek a long-term deal elsewhere.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers speculates it could get expensive for the Blackhawks to re-sign Dominik Kubalik. The 24-year-old winger leads all rookies with 29 goals and is tied with Patrick Kane for the lead among Blackhawks scorers.
Kubalik’s completing a one-year contract worth $925K and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. The Blackhawks’ limited salary cap space will be a factor.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks’ goaltending situation could also affect what they can comfortably afford for Kubalik. Powers said both sides sound like they don’t want to go the arbitration route. Perhaps a one-year deal around $3 million can be worked out, with the promise of a more lucrative contract if Kubalik builds upon his rookie season.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE SABRES’ OFF-SEASON
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy examined potential off-season moves following another disappointing season for the Buffalo Sabres. Bolstering their offense could be the priority. The Sabres will free up a lot of salary-cap space if they allow Michael Frolik, Jimmy Vesey, Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson to walk this summer. Wayne Simmonds might be worth retaining for toughness and leadership for the right price. Recent acquisition Dominik Kahun could be an affordable re-signing.
Kennedy feels they need to improve their penalty killing, suggesting Derek Grant and Vladislav Namestnikov as possible UFA targets. He advocates giving the starter’s job to Linus Ullmark but also suggests checking to see if Robin Lehner would be open to returning to Buffalo, or pursuing Jacob Markstrom if he doesn’t re-up with the Vancouver Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres currently have just over $47 million invested in 10 players. Part of their cap space will be taken up re-signing RFAs like Kahun, Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson, Brandon Montour, and Lawrence Pilut. Nevertheless, they’ll have enough to address some of their needs via trades or free agency.
I anticipate GM Jason Botterill will be busy in both markets, with bringing in a top-six scorer (preferably a center) his priority. I daresay we’ll also see defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen resurface in the trade rumor mill.
New York Rangers re-sign Chris Kreider to a seven-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $6.5 million
Not a trade, but Kreider was considered the top trade bait entering deadline day. Reports out of New York this morning suggested he was likely to be moved. The Rangers bent on the term, as they reportedly offered a six-year deal. Perhaps the Kreider camp gave a little on the dollars. The 28-year-old left-winger gets the long-term deal to stay put, but time will tell if this deal pans out over the long term for the Blueshirts.
New York Islanders acquire center Jean-Gabriel Pageau
The Islanders address a glaring need on their forward lines with Pageau, a skilled two-way player who can skate at center or on the wing. They overpaid to get him, sending a conditional first-round pick in 2020, a 2020 second-rounder, and a conditional third in 2022 to the Ottawa Senators. That was offset by re-signing Pageau to a six-year, $30-million contract extension. The rebuilding Senators got a fine return, leaving them with potentially 13 picks in the 2020 Draft, with nine of those in the first three rounds.
The Hurricanes shored up their banged-up blueline by parting with a first-round pick for Skjei and shipping forward Janne Kuokkanen and a conditional second-round pick to the Devils for Vatanen. With Dougie Hamilton out for several more weeks with a broken leg and Brett Pesce sidelined by an upper-body injury, Skjei and Vatanen should help fill the gaps.
Florida Panthers trade Vincent Trocheck to the Carolina Hurricanes
The Panthers were rumored for weeks to be in the market for a top-four defenseman and Trocheck recently surfaced as a trade candidate. Instead, they swap him for checking-line forwards Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark plus two prospects. Trocheck, meanwhile, should provide the Hurricanes with some welcome depth at center.
Vegas Golden Knights acquire goaltender Robin Lehner
Big pickup there for the Golden Knights, shipping Malcolm Subban, a prospect and a second-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2019 Vezina Trophy finalist. Lehner will share the duties with starter Marc-Andre Fleury, providing Vegas with a solid one-two punch between the pipes.
Pittsburgh Penguins acquire forwards Patrick Marleau, Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford made a significant move earlier this month by acquiring Jason Zucker from Minnesota. He wasn’t done tinkering with his forward lines, bringing in three key playoff rentals. They got Marleau for the San Jose Sharks for a conditional third-rounder and shipped center Dominik Kahun to the Buffalo Sabres for winger Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues. In the twilight of his career, Marleau gets a final shot at winning the Stanley Cup. It’s Sheary’s second go-around with the Penguins, winning Cups with them in 2016 and 2017. Rodrigues had requested a trade from the Sabres earlier in the season.
Edmonton Oilers deal for winger Andreas Athanasiou
The Oilers sent Sam Gagner and two second-round picks to the Detroit Red Wings for one of the fastest players in the league in Athanasiou, prompting speculation he’ll become a new linemate for Connor McDavid. If those two mesh well together, Athanasiou will regain the 30-goal form that he’s been lacking this season. Failing that, perhaps he’ll be a better fit on their second line with either Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers also acquired winger Tyler Ennis from the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Mke Green from the Red Wings.
Calgary Flames bring in Erik Gustafsson and Derek Forbort
With Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic still sidelined, the Flames sent a third-round pick in 2020 to the Chicago Blackhawks for Gustafsson and a conditional fourth in 2021 to the Los Angeles Kings for Forbort. Gustafsson is a mobile blueliner and Forbort will bring a physical edge to the Flames defense corps.
Buffalo Sabres acquire winger Wayne Simmonds
The Sabres sent a fifth-rounder in 2021 to the New Jersey Devils for Simmonds. He’ll provide leadership and experience, but won’t address their ongoing need for a scorer. At least they didn’t pay much to get him, plus the Devils picked up half of his $5-million salary-cap hit.
Boston Bruins trade winger Danton Heinen to the Anaheim Ducks for Nick Ritchie
This is a swap of two young forwards who needed a change of scenery. Ritchie was the Ducks first-round pick (10th overall) in 2014 but struggled to play up to expectations as a power forward. Heinen had a promising rookie performance (47 points) in 2017-18, but his production has eroded since then.
Colorado Avalanche land Vladislav Namestnikov
With their forward lines depleted by injuries, the Avs sent a 202 fourth-rounder to the Ottawa Senators for the versatile Namestnikov. The 27-year-old is a solid two-way forward who can skate at center or on the wing. He should fit in well on their checking lines.
Philadelphia Flyers add Derek Grant and Nate Thompson
The Flyers had an interest in Jean-Gabriel Pageau before the Senators shipped him to the Islanders. They instead went a more affordable route, sending a minor-league forward and a 2020 fourth-rounder to the Anaheim Ducks for Grant, and a 2021 fifth-rounder to the Montreal Canadiens for Nate Thompson. The two veterans will provide the Flyers with experienced depth up the middle.
Vancouver Canucks acquire Louis Domingue
With starting goalie Jacob Markstrom sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury, the Canucks sent minor-league goalie Zane McIntyre to the Devils for Domingue. He’ll split the duties with Thatcher Demko and should provide some additional insurance once Markstrom returns.
The NHL Trade Deadline is 3 pm ET today. This listing will be updated regularly throughout the day until all trade activity is complete.
Anaheim Ducks trade defenseman Korbinian Holzer to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Matt Irwin.
Washington Capitals trade defenseman Christian Djoos to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Daniel Sprong.
Montreal Canadiens trade Nick Cousins to the Vegas Golden Knights. Details to follow…
New Jersey Devils trade goaltender Louis Domingue to the Vancouver Canucks in exhange for goalie Zane McIntyre
Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Barclay Goodrow from the San Jose Sharks for a first-round pick.
New York Rangers traded defenseman Brady Skjei to the Carolina Hurricanes for the Hurricanes’ first-round pick in 2020.
Vegas Golden Knights acquired goaltender Robin Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks for Malcolm Subban, Slava Demin and a 2nd round pick.
New Jersey Devils trade defenseman Sami Vatanen to the Carolina Hurricanes for winger Janne Kuokkanen and a second-round pick.
Buffalo Sabres trade Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Dominik Kahun.
Calgary Flames acquire defenseman Erik Gustafsson from the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick.
Los Angeles Kings ship defenseman Derek Forbort to the Calgary Flames for a fourth-round pick.
Edmonton Oilers trade a fifth-round pick in 2021 to the Ottawa Senators for Tyler Ennis.
Edmonton Oilers acquired Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner from the Detroit Red Wings for Sam Gagner, a second-round pick in 2020 and a second-rounder in 2021.
Boston Bruins trade Danton Heinen to the Anaheim Ducks for Nick Ritchie.
Buffalo Sabres acquire winger Wayne Simmonds from the New Jersey Devils for a conditional fifth-rounder in 2021.
Philadelphia Flyers acquire center Derek Grant from the Anaheim Ducks for minor-league center Kyle Crisuolo and a fourth-round pick in 2020.
Toronto Maple Leafs trade goaltender Michael Hutchinson to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Calle Rosen.
Pittsburgh Penguins acquire Patrick Marleau from the San Jose Sharks for a conditional third-round pick in 2020. The pick becomes a second-rounder if the Penguins win the Stanley Cup.
Montreal Canadiens trade center Nate Thompson to the Philadelphia Flyers for a fifth-round pick in 2021.
Florida Panthers trade center Vincent Trocheck to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forwards Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark and prospects Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen.
New York Islanders acquire center Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders for a first-round pick (lottery protected) in 2020, a second-rounder in 2020, and a third in 2022. There are conditions attached to all picks. The Islanders re-sign him to a six-year contract extension.
Ottawa Senators trade Vladislav Namestnikov to the Colorado Avalanche for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft.
Detroit Red Wings trade defenseman Mike Green to the Edmonton Oilers for sidelined forward Kyle Brodziak and a conditional draft pick.
The NHL 2020 Trade Deadline is today at 3 pm ET. Here’s the latest on Chris Kreider, Joe Thornton, Tyson Barrie, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and more in the rumor mill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be evaluating today’s notable deals in the Soapbox following the deadline. While we’re waiting for today’s activities, check out TSN’s updated Trade Bait list.
UPDATE ON KREIDER
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports it appears the New York Rangers will move Chris Kreider before today’s deadline as contract talks reached an impasse. The Rangers offered a six-year extension worth just under $7 million annually, but the Kreider camp seeks a seven-year term.
The Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Vegas Golden Knights could have an interest in Kreider. The New York Islanders may have also checked in, but Brooks feels they have no chance of landing Kreider.
The Blueshirts could also entertain offers for Marc Staal and Brady Skjei. Brett Cyrgalis believes Jesper Fast could garner the Rangers a second- or third-round pick.
TSN (via Forever Blueshirts): Darren Dreger last night reported the Rangers have an offer of a first-round pick on the table. The expectation is they could get a first-round pick and a prospect or a first and an NHL player.
**UPDATE** The Rangers announce they’ve re-signed Kreider to a seven-year extension worth an annual average value of $6.5 million.
INTEREST REMAINS IN THORNTON
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports there’s still no confirmation San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton will waive his no-movement clause. Four clubs (Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning) are thought to be on his shortlist of trade destinations. It’s believed Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has been granted permission to at least explore what he could get from those clubs.
LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope believes Erik Gustafsson will almost certainly be traded today after the Blackhawks left the defenseman in Chicago as they departed on their current road trip. Other Blackhawks trade candidates could include goaltender Robin Lehner or winger Brandon Saad. Trade partners could include the Carolina Hurricanes, Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Florida Panthers.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus report the Hurricanes aren’t willing to part with one of their two first-round picks in this year’s draft for Lehner. Two team sources claim three or four clubs could be interested in Gustafsson. The Golden Knights were thought to be among them, but that no longer seems to be the case. If Lehner isn’t moved today, contract talks with Hawks management could resume.
SENATORS STILL TRYING TO RE-SIGN PAGEAU
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are still believed trying to re-sign Jean-Gabriel Pageau to a contract extension before today’s trade deadline. While they’ve listened to trade offers, other clubs realize the Sens wish to keep him. Meanwhile, forward Vladislav Namestnikov and Tyler Ennis were recent healthy scratches as there’s interest in both players from other teams.
What happens with the Rangers’ Chris Kreider could determine the fates of Pageau, Namestnikov, and Ennis. The Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames are all seeking forward depth.
BARRIE STILL LINKED TO THE CANUCKS
WILL THE WINGS MOVE ATHANASIOU?
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Detroit Red Wings held Andreas Athanasiou and Mike Green out of yesterday’s game against the Calgary Flames. With Green subsequently traded to the Edmonton Oilers, Athanasiou could be next.
The Oilers are rumored as a potential destination for Athanasiou. The Wings are trying to stock up on draft picks, prospects, and young players.
DUCKS SHOPPING GRANT?
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Elliott Teaford reports the Anaheim Ducks held Derek Grant out of the lineup in last night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks as a precautionary measure. It’s a clear sign Ducks GM Bob Murray has at least one offer for the 29-year-old center.