NHL Rumor Mill – October 2, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 2, 2020

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

TSN: Frank Seravalli updated and expanded his trade-bait board. Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray and Vegas Golden Knights’ netminder Marc-Andre Fleury now sit in the top five.

Arizona Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s colleague Darren Dreger reports Ekman-Larsson is willing to waive his no-movement clause for the Bruins and Vancouver Canucks and Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong is talking with both clubs hoping to work out a deal. Dreger believes the Coyotes will either have to retain some of Ekman-Larsson’s $8.25-million annual average value or they’ll have to take back some contracts in return.

The Coyotes lack a first-round pick for this year and next year, but the Bruins and Canucks don’t have first-round picks in this year’s draft. The Province’s Patrick Johnston suggested Canucks GM Jim Benning offer up Loui Eriksson, who has two years left on his contract at $6 million AAV, as part of the return. Eriksson’s only being paid $5 million in actual salary over those two years. However, the Coyotes could be on his 15-team no-trade list.

Acquiring Ekman-Larsson would allow the Bruins to replace Torey Krug, who’s expected to depart via free agency next Friday. If the Coyotes aren’t willing to pick up part of his cap hit, the Bruins will have to give up something worthwhile while freeing up some additional cap space to absorb Ekman-Larsson’s contract.

Turning to Murray, Seravalli noted the Edmonton Oilers were linked to him. With free agency looming, he said many observers are wondering if they might set their sights on Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, the Ottawa Senators’ second-round picks, Canucks winger Jake Virtanen and Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask round out the top ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli said there were rumors the Oilers had an interest in DeBrusk but their cap constraints likely make him too expensive. He’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. Maybe he becomes part of the Bruins’ package offer for Ekman-Larsson?

As for Rask, Seravalli cites multiple sources claiming Bruins GM Don Sweeney has been gauging the goalie’s value in the trade market. He’s got a year left on his contract ($7 million AAV) with a 15-team trade list. If he trades Rask, however, he’ll have to find a suitable replacement via trade or free agency. While both markets are flooded with goaltenders, that doesn’t mean Sweeney is guaranteed to land an upgrade over Rask.

Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn and Wild forward Ryan Donato come in at 11 to 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning must shed salary to re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. Gourde and Johnson have full no-trade clauses while Killorn has a 16-team no-trade list.

New York Rangers center Ryan Strome, St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson, and Blue Jackets goalies Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo fill spots 16 to 20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation the Blues could attempt to trade Pietrangelo’s rights if the two sides fail to hammer out a new contract before the UFA market opens next Friday. The Jackets could be open to moving one of their goalies, either to free up cap room or perhaps in a package deal for a scoring forward.

Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper, Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin, Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen and Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad fill spots 21 to 24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kuemper trade chatter has cooled in recent days as the Coyotes shift their focus on trade Ekman-Larsson. It’s now believed they prefer to retain him. Hanifin recently surfaced in the rumor mill when Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned his name came up during the Flames discussions with the New Jersey Devils last fall about Taylor Hall. Hanifin might not be available if the Flames let TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic depart next week as free agents.

Nashville Predators forwards Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Nick Bonino, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brady Skjei, Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere complete spots 25 to 30.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli said the lack of quality centers in this year’s free-agent market has the Predators believed to be seeking opportunities to move one of theirs. I’m guessing GM David Poile would like to bring in a scoring winger in return or to free up the cap room to pursue one via free agency. Poile would love to move Kyle Turris but the four years remaining on his contract at $6 million per season makes that almost impossible.

I’m not convinced the Hurricanes are keen to move Skjei after acquiring him at the February trade deadline. Domi and Gostisbehere have been fixtures in the rumor mill for some time. Speaking of the Canadiens, Pierre LeBrun said they’re willing to move their first-round pick (16th overall) in this year’s draft for the right return. He indicated they’re in the market for a top-six forward.

New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, Canadiens center Phillip Danault, New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk, Canucks center Brandon Sutter and Blues winger Jaden Schwartz are in spots 31 to 35.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’re reaching the spot in the list where there are players who could be traded, but various factors likely work against it. For example, I don’t believe the Canadiens intend to trade Danault. While centers Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi could become the Habs top-two centers next season, they’ll need Danault’s skill and experience in case one or both of those youngsters struggle or become sidelined. Maybe that move takes place at next season’s trade deadline. Not now.

Blues center Tyler Bozak, the Golden Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault, Alec Martinez and Paul Stastny, and Coyotes winger Phil Kessel fill spots 36 to 40.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchessault, Martinez or Stastny could become a cap casualty if the Golden Knights need to shed salary to re-sign Lehner or pursue a big-ticket free agent like Pietrangelo. That’s assuming they can’t find any takers for Fleury.

Edmonton’s Kris Russell, Carolina’s Vincent Trocheck, Columbus’ Alexander Wennberg, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour, the Rangers’ Tony DeAngelo, Edmonton Evan Bouchard, Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk, San Jose’s Martin Jones, Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton and Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky round out the bottom ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli wonders if Bobrovsky’s contract is the NHL’s most unmovable. Bill Zito, the Panthers new GM, should become the front-runner for GM of the Year if he can trade that contract.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2017

Montreal Canadiens want Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov to return, but on the club’s terms.

Latest on Matt Duchene, Alexander Radulov and more in your NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is willing to welcome back unrestricted free agents Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov, but on the Habs’ terms. During yesterday’s press conference announcing the re-signing of Carey Price, Bergevin said he’s made his final offers to Radulov and Markov and won’t negotiate any further.

If both players sign elsewhere, Bergevin said there’s no suitable replacement for them in this summer’s free-agent market. He also said Radulov’s asking price was expensive. “If I told you what Radulov’s agent was asking in January, you’d fall off your chair,” he said in French. He also said it would be first come, first served for the duo. 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars are reportedly among the clubs with interest in Radulov. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Radulov, who turns 31 on July 5, is believed seeking a six- or seven-year, $42-million deal, while the Habs apparently countered with a four-year contract. Markov, 38, wants a two-year, $12-million contract. Of the two, I expect Markov to be most likely to return. Still, it’s possible both could land with new clubs very soon, though it’ll likely be for much less than what they’re currently seeking.

Their departures could put Bergevin into the trade market for possible replacements. He’s got nearly $60 million invested in 20 players for 2017-18. He could either re-sign restricted free agent forward Alex Galchenyuk or trade him for a scoring forward or top-four blueliners. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline yesterday reported the Blue Jackets were trying to swing a trade to acquire center Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche. Discussions between Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and Avalanche GM Joe Sakic held lengthy trade discussions on Saturday. Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray was assumed to be part of a possible deal for Duchene.

Portzline speculates another Jackets roster player (“perhaps Boone Jenner, Oliver Bjorkstrand or Cam Atkinson”) would have to be included. The Jackets could also have interest in Ilya Kovalchuk in a sign-and-trade scenario with the New Jersey Devils.

Kekalainen told Portzline yesterday that he was comfortable heading into next season with his current roster, meaning he’s not gutting it just to acquire Duchene or break the bank to land an expensive free agent. Portzline said it’s no secret the Jackets GM wants to add a top-six center and he’s aggressively shopping for one, but he won’t get reckless. The Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins also reportedly had trade discussions with the Avs regarding Duchene.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche GM Sakic apparently won’t budge from his high asking price for Duchene, reportedly with a good, young established top-four defenseman as the centerpiece of the return. It also appears, however, those clubs with interest in the Avs center remain insistent on Sakic lowering his price. This standoff could be resolved as early as today or it could stretch on for weeks.

As for Kovalchuk, NHL Network’s Brian Lawton said he’s heard the left wing seeks a three-year deal worth $6.5 million annually to return to the NHL. If so, I doubt he’ll find any takers for that price. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently reported the Rangers, prior to signing Kevin Shattenkirk on Saturday, inquired into Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and Carolina’s Justin Faulk. The cost for Barrie was Brady Skjei, which is a non-starter for the Blueshirts. Trouba and Faulk were ruled off-limits by their respective teams. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s understandable that the Avs would want a good young defenseman if they were to move Barrie in a trade. For all the talk of Trouba and Faulk perhaps becoming trade candidates this summer, it appears their teams have no intention of moving them. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reported Saturday the Minnesota Wild had talks with unrestricted free agent center Matt Cullen. The discussions, however, failed to yield a deal.