NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2021
Could Taylor Hall be moved in a trade-and-sign scenario? Are moves in store for the Flyers? Could there be several goaltenders on the move? What’s the latest on the Golden Knights and the Kraken? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TRADE-AND-SIGN FOR HALL?
TSN: Darren Dreger reports Taylor Hall’s agent spoken with Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams on Monday. He said they discussed potential trade options for the 29-year-old left-winger. There are some teams interested in a “trade and sign” scenario.
Adams is also determining what the asking price will look like. Dreger said Hall’s contract becomes less of a cap hit closer to the trade deadline so there could be some upside in that for the Sabres.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger didn’t specify if the trade and sign would mean Hall gets a new contract as soon as the deal is completed or if it depends on his performance with his new club. Adams’ rumored asking price is said to include a first-round draft pick. He’ll have an easier time landing one of those if Hall is willing to re-sign with his new club.
ARE MOVES IN STORE FOR THE FLYERS?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports it’s his understanding the Philadelphia Flyers have had internal discussions whether to acquire a goaltender and allow struggling Carter Hart a chance to reset and work on his game. The next seven games leading up to the trade deadline could be crucial as to whether they want to add to their roster. LeBrun believes Detroit Red Wings netminder Jonathan Bernier could be on the Flyers’ radar.
Frank Seravalli wonders if the Florida Panthers could put in a waiver claim on Shayne Gostisbehere. The Flyers placed the 27-year-old defenseman on waivers yesterday. The Panthers could be in the market for a defenseman after Aaron Ekblad suffered a fractured left leg earlier this week. Seravalli adds Panthers general manager Bill Zito isn’t interested in trading picks and/or prospects.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher must bolster his goaltending depth for his club to remain in the playoff chase in the MassMutual East Division. Hart’s confidence is shot and they’re relying too much on veteran Brian Elliott to shoulder the load. As LeBrun suggests, the next several games will determine if they become buyers before the deadline.
Acquiring a goaltender or another player means freeing up cap space. Placing Gostisbehere on waivers could be that step. There’s also speculation Fletcher could be gauging Gostisbehere’s value in the trade market. However, his $4.5 million annual average value through 2022-23 will be difficult for most clubs to absorb via waivers or trade.
LATEST GOALTENDING SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun looked at several goaltenders who could be available before the trade deadline. Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell could move James Reimer or Alex Nedeljkovic for the right price. LeBrun wondered if the Columbus Blue Jackets might move Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo and what the Arizona Coyotes might do with Darcy Kuemper or Antti Raanta. He doubts Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings or Chris Driedger of the Florida Panthers gets moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell could also keep Reimer and Nedeljkovic when sidelined Petr Mrazek returns to action. Never a bad idea to keep three goalies if you can during this strange season.
The Jackets could shop one of their netminders but that’s a move more likely to happen in the offseason, especially with the Jackets trying to stay in the playoff race. Raanta seems the more likely of the Coyotes goalies to be moved given his UFA status this summer but that’s not a certainty if they stay in playoff contention.
The rebuilding Kings aren’t in any rush to move Quick and his $5.8 million cap hit through 2022-23 is a big sticking point in any trade. The Panthers need Driedger as they jockey for first place in the Central Division.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox examined some possible goalie options for the Toronto Maple Leafs if goalies Frederik Andersen or Jack Campbell end up on long-term injured reserve. Both have been hampered by lower-body injuries in recent weeks.
Rental options could include Buffalo’s Linus Ullmark, New Jersey’s Scott Wedgewood, Carolina’s James Reimer, Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier, Anaheim’s Ryan Miller, San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk, Calgary’s David Rittich, and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne. Longer-term options could include Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper, Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins, the New York Rangers’ Alexander Georgiev, and the Kings’ Jonathan Quick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve already commented on Reimer, Kuemper, Merzlikins and Quick. Ullmark’s the closest thing the Sabres have to a starter so they probably won’t trade him. The Ducks could move Miller as he lacks no-trade protection but I think that happens only if he asks. Rinne’s not waiving his no-movement clause. The Rangers will likely keep Georgiev as Igor Shesterkin’s backup.
That leaves Wedgewood, Bernier and Dubnyk, as well as Rittich if the Flames fall further out of playoff contention by the deadline.
QUIET TRADE DEADLINE FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?
THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports this year’s trade deadline could be a quiet one for the Vegas Golden Knights. While they’ve been aggressive in previous deadlines, a lack of salary-cap space and the club’s solid performance could lead them to stand pat. Nevertheless, Granger feels they’ll monitor the trade market in case anything interesting comes up.
UPDATE ON THE KRAKEN
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis is getting some calls from rival GMs around the league. He said the calls are from teams “who are trying to feel (Francis) out and say, “Listen, if I make this trade, what would it take from you, that I don’t lose this fourth defenseman, for example”. Francis’ prices, however, are high, in some cases a first-round pick and a prospect. LeBrun said that’s scaring off teams from acquiring another player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would affect players signed beyond this season like Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm. There are teams very interested in acquiring Predators defenseman before the trade deadline but doing so would mean it would mess up their expansion draft protection lists.