NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2018

Reviewing the latest additions to the TSN trade-bait list plus updates on the Red Wings, Sharks and more in your NHL rumor mill.

Buffalo Sabres forward Sam Reinhart is the latest addition to TSN’s trade-bait board (Photo via NHL Images).

LATEST FROM TSN’s INSIDERS

TSN: New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou, Buffalo Sabres winger Sam Reinhart, Colorado Avalanche winger Blake Comeau and Winnipeg Jets centre Nic Petan are the latest additions to Frank Seravalli’s list of trade bait heading toward the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline.

Seravalli claims “multiple teams” have expressed interest in McDonagh, though he anticipates the Rangers could wait until the summer to make such a significant move. McDonagh also carries a 10-team “no-trade” clause. While the Blues could be reluctant to part with the promising Kyrou, he could be what’s required to land them a scoring winger such as Buffalo’s Evander Kane at the trade deadline. Seravalli said the Jets seek a center or winger to plug into their top-two lines which is why Petan makes the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Seravalli isn’t saying those players are definitely available or being shopped. Regarding McDonagh, there’s lots of chatter the Rangers could listen to offers but there’s also no guarantee he’s a goner at the deadline.

If the Blues were to part with a quality prospect such as Kyrou, they might prefer landing someone with term remaining on his contract. If they went after a pending UFA like Kane, they could seek assurances he’ll re-sign with them before agreeing to part with a significant prospect. 

Reinhart’s name has occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill amid talk Sabres management are disappointed with his regression this season. However, it might be better to remain patient with him and see if he can rebound next season.

The Jets could wait until Mark Scheifele’s return next month before reaching a decision on potential deadline moves. I expect they’ll be buyers this season.

Not sure the Avs would move Comeau. He’s a pending UFA but with the club playing well of late there’s no reason for them to become sellers. 

TSNPierre LeBrun speculates the San Jose Sharks might get more aggressive searching for a scorer in the trade market after learning center Joe Thornton is sidelined indefinitely following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Before Thornton’s injury, they were in the market for a fourth-line center. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What the Sharks do will depend upon how they adjust to Thornton’s absence and their position in the standings over the next two-three weeks. Pickings are slim for quality centers potentially available in the trade market. Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec, Edmonton’s Mark Letestu, Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau and the New York Rangers’ David Desharnais are the notables kicking around the rumor mill. Speaking of Letestu and Pageau…

LeBrun also reports it’s believed Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford seeks a bottom-six center and has kicked the tires on Letestu and Pageau. 

Darren Dreger reports former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is interested in returning to the NHL but he faces a lengthy process to do so. His application for reinstatement isn’t expected until the conclusion of the KHL season. It would also coincide with the expiration of his contract with the LA Kings, who hold his NHL rights. There’s also immigration issues to sort out. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voynov returned to Russia with his family in Sep. 2015 as a result of his legal issues stemming from domestic violence charges. That could make it difficult for him to return to the United States. 

LATEST ON THE RED WINGS

THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports an NHL source said the Detroit Red Wings have informed potential trade-deadline buyers that they’re ready to sell now. Unrestricted free agent defenseman Mike Green is the obvious trade candidate but there are others they could move.

The Wings came close last fall to trading goaltender Petr Mrazek to Edmonton but the return at that time wasn’t much, believed to be a mid-round pick. His improved play of late may increase his value. Veteran netminder Jimmy Howard, meanwhile, could also be available. The problem with moving Mrazek or Howard is there isn’t much of a market for goaltenders right now.  

Custance speculates the Vegas Golden Knights could be a destination for Green. Golden Knights GM George McPhee knows Green well from their days with the Washington Capitals. If there’s an interest in a Wings’ forward with term remaining on their contract, such as Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist, a trade would be entertained if a deal makes sense now. 

Only the Wings young players, such as Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou, are considered untouchable. Detroit’s blueline must also get younger and better. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Green is one for certain. He’s got a full no-trade but I can see him waiving it to go to a playoff contender. The Golden Knights are playing well but they could benefit from a rental addition to their blueline. Green’s puck-moving abilities could make him a good fit there if the price is right. So far, however, the Wings haven’t yet approached him about waiving that clause. 

A playoff bubble team in dire need of a goaltending upgrade (hello there, New York Islanders) could express interest in Mrazek or Howard. I think Howard might be more enticing to a playoff club. Yes, Mrazek is playing well this month but his previous inconsistency could hurt his value.