NHL Rumor Mill – October 19, 2019
A list of players who could be shopped at the trade deadline in today’s NHL rumor mill.
POSSIBLE DEADLINE TRADE BAIT
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun recently listed several players who could be shopped at the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The notables include New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall, Los Angeles Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk, Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris, and New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun has his reasons for including those players on his list but you’ll need a subscription to The Athletic to read them. I’m going to offer up my take as to why they could or won’t get traded.
Hall is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. General manager Ray Shero could entertain trade offers if he cannot get the winger signed by February.
If Shero shops Hall near the trade deadline, I expect he’ll want at least a good young NHL-ready player, a top prospect, and a first-overall pick. Whether he gets that return, of course, is another matter. As the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples recently observed, Hall will have more value in the trade market if he’s willing to sign a contract extension with his new club.
The 36-year-old Kovalchuk has six points in seven games but was held scoreless in four of them. He managed just 34 points in 64 contests last season. Cap Friendly indicates he’s carrying an annual average value of $6.25 million through 2020-21 with a full no-movement clause this season. Unless Kovalchuk waives that clause and the Kings pick up a sizeable chunk of his salary-cap hit I doubt he’ll be going anywhere.
Turris, 30, is signed through 2023-24 earning $6 million per season. That’s a lot of money for a fourth-line center, which explains why he’s come up in recent trade speculation.
However, Turris has five points in his first seven games of this season. The Predators could be reluctant to move him if he maintains that production. They could instead try to move him in the off-season when they’ll have to free up cap room for Roman Josi and to fill out the rest of the roster. Even then, GM David Poile could be forced to pick up part of his cap hit.
Like Hall, Kreider is due to become a UFA next summer. He’s not as talented as the Devils winger but his size, speed, and offensive skills will draw interest at the trade deadline. That’s assuming he and the Rangers can’t agree to a new deal by February. If they’re in playoff contention they could be hesitant to move him if he’s playing well.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Erik Gudbranson, Buffalo Sabres blueliner Marco Scandella, Ottawa Senators center Vladislav Namestnikov, and Columbus Blue Jackets rearguard Ryan Murray round out LeBrun’s list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While Namestnikov was recently acquired by the Senators, I agree with LeBrun that they could flip him at the deadline for a draft pick. Gudbranson and Murray frequently surface in the rumor mill but there might not be much of a market for them.
If Rasmus Ristolainen no longer wants out of Buffalo, the Sabres could be forced to consider trading another defenseman to clear their potential blueline logjam once Zach Bogosian and Brandon Montour return from injuries. Scandella’s a UFA next summer and might not fit into the Sabres’ long-term plans.