Could the Ducks end up moving players like John Gibson and Josh Manson this season? Could the Senators seek another center? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about the speculation linking the Anaheim Ducks to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. He believes Ducks general manager Bob Murray had some level of talks with the Sabres but doubts he would part with Trevor Zegras or Jamie Drysdale as part of the return. The Sabres asking price of four top assets for an injured player is another obstacle. Waiting could drive that price down.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s ongoing issues with the Sabres over treatment for a herniated disc in his neck and his hefty contract are also significant sticking points in any trade discussions. Murray would be wise not to part with Zegras or Drysdale if he’s planning to rebuild.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).
Stephens believes Ducks goaltender John Gibson has been frustrated by the club’s lack of progress over the past three seasons. It’s impossible to know, however, if Gibson will request a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson would draw plenty of interest in the trade market if he did ask to be moved or if Murray decided to shop him for a return of young assets. The 28-year-old’s contract could be a stumbling block. His annual average salary is $6.4 million through 2026-27 and he now has a 10-team no-trade list.
Stephens believes the Ducks have fielded offers for Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Adam Henrique or attempted to move some of them. A deal that would’ve sent Manson to the Winnipeg Jets was reportedly scuttled by Manson, who has a 12-team no-trade list. It’s believed teams were offering a first-round pick or a top prospect for Manson or Rakell, but the Ducks want both pieces.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on Manson, Lindholm and Rakell this season. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. The trio could draw plenty of attention as the trade deadline approaches. Manson is the only one of the three with no-trade protection.
NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger believes the Ottawa Senators still need some veteran depth at center for the coming season. The departures of Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan leave the club thin at center. Promising Shane Pinto could help but he’d be another young center on the roster.
In today’s NHL rumor mill, a look at some of the notable names still in the rumor mill heading into the second day of the NHL draft.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli provided an updated list of trade targets following yesterday’s busy trade market leading up to the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft.
Jack Eichel remains atop the list. The Buffalo Sabres set a “fantastical” asking price seeking multiple draft picks and prospects.
Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The chances of an Eichel trade this summer took a hit following the completion of the first round of this year’s draft. Unless the Sabres seek first-round picks in the 2022 draft, they’ll have to lower their asking price or put more emphasis on younger players and prospects.
St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong envisioned the possibility of winger Vladimir Tarasenko returning with the club next season. His shoulder is now 100 percent healthy following his third surgery to address the injury. Despite his no-trade clause, Seravalli said he’s willing to play almost anywhere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The concern with Tarasenko could be more his $7.5 million cap hit than his shoulder. There are reportedly some teams willing to take it on provided the Blues accept a comparable contract or a return that doesn’t address their roster needs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Avalanche land Kuemper it probably means Philipp Grubauer is hitting the open market. I can see him being shopped before the trade deadline if a suitable deal can’t be found this summer.
The Anaheim Ducks are listening to offers for Josh Manson, who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. They seek a first-round pick as part of the return. Moving him would leave a big gap on their blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get the feeling the Ducks are lukewarm toward moving Manson. Sure, they’ll do it if they get a great offer but otherwise, I think they’re fine bringing him back next season and maybe re-signing him if he’s willing to stay.
Wingers Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault could be available as the Vegas Golden Knights attempt to balance their forward lines. Smith can become a UFA next summer while Marchessault has three years left on his deal with an annual average value of $5 million. They could also listen on physical winger Ryan Reaves.
The Philadelphia Flyers are still trying to move Jakub Voracek or James van Riemsdyk. There could be teams interested in Voracek if the Flyers retain $2 million or so of his $8.25 million AAV.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voracek has three years left on his contract. No surprise teams want the Flyers to pick up part of that hefty cap hit. Based on previous reports, they seem keener to move Voracek than van Riemsdyk.
Should the Ducks make a pitch for Patrik Laine? Could the Coyotes pursue Jack Eichel? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST DUCKS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if the Ducks might pursue a top-six winger such as Patrik Laine to bolster their offense. After his struggles in Columbus, the 23-year-old winger might not re-sign with the Blue Jackets, though the departure of coach John Tortorella could make him rethink that situation. The high cost of qualifying his rights ($7.5 million) prompted Stephens to speculate the Jackets could trade Laine and leave the headache of signing him to somebody else.
Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine (NHL Images).
Stephens suggested there could be sufficient cap space for the Ducks to take on Laine but it could be expensive. It could make it difficult to re-sign Rickard Rakell, Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm before they become UFAs next summer. While on board with the idea of adding Laine, Stephens suggested someone like Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart could be more cost-effective.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks must shore up their sagging offense. Laine, however, would be an exorbitant acquisition. He also struggles without a quality set-up centerman, something the Ducks lack with 36-year-old Ryan Getzlaf in the twilight of his career. Laine could develop chemistry with promising Trevor Zegras but the latter has yet to establish himself at the NHL level.
Reinhart would be more affordable in terms of salary and return for the Ducks, assuming he’s available in the trade market. His ability to play center or wing would provide them with more flexibility among their top six.
In an earlier piece, Stephens examined the Ducks’ off-season priorities. In addition to acquiring a scorer, he felt they must determine if Ryan Getzlaf will be back and what role he’d play.
He also advocated trying to move players who are not in the club’s long-term picture. That could include Rakell, Manson and Lindholm if re-signing one of them proves difficult. Center Adam Henrique, who has three years and over $17 million remaining on his contract, could be another trade candidate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf is no longer capable of playing a top-six role. If he returns it’ll have to be in a checking line spot.
Rakell, Manson and Lindholm surfaced in trade speculation during the season. The high asking prices for those players were believed why they weren’t moved before the April trade deadline. General manager Bob Murray could entertain trade proposals this summer if contract extension talks stall.
The Ducks could leave Henrique exposed in the expansion draft. If the Seattle Kraken pass him over, however, Murray could have difficulty finding a taker because of his contract, which contains a 10-team no-trade list.
The source told Murphy the Coyotes have the type of young players to interest the Sabres. The ‘Yotes would also fulfill the Sabres’ wish to ship Eichel out west.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those young players Murphy’s source alluded to could include winger Clayton Keller, center Christian Dvorak, defenseman Jakob Chychrun and goaltender Adin Hill. I’m not suggesting the Coyotes would have to give up all of them to land Eichel but one or two would have to be part of the deal.
However, I doubt the Coyotes could outbid a club like the New York Rangers or Los Angeles Kings if those teams decide to make serious bids for the Sabres captain. The Blueshirts and Kings carry more depth in quality prospects and young NHL players.
In today’s NHL rumor roundup: a look at what might be in store for Ryan Getzlaf, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell this summer plus some speculation over Jonathan Bernier’s future with the Red Wings.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The day following the April 12 trade deadline, Elliott Teaford reported Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf acknowledged having had trade discussions with general manager Bob Murray. However, the talks never advanced far enough for the 35-year-old Getzlaf to consider waiving his no-movement clause.
Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (NHL Images).
Getzlaf said he wanted to help Murray’s rebuilding project, even if that meant accepting a trade as a playoff rental player if the return helped the Ducks. The pending unrestricted free agent intends to wait until this season is over before considering his future plans.
He could re-sign with the Ducks or sign elsewhere and accept a considerable pay cut from the $8.25 million salary-cap hit of his current contract. Retirement is also a possibility. Family concerns and his own play could also factor into his decision.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t be surprising if Getzlaf agrees to play another season with the Ducks. Perhaps they’ll work out a one-year, bonus-laden deal.
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reported Murray set high asking prices for defenseman Josh Manson and winger Rickard Rakell before the trade deadline. The Ducks GM said his goal was to add players already drafted who had a bit of NHL experience already if possible. Stephens wondered if the Ducks will make a significant move with either player at the 2021 NHL Draft in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson and Rakell are due to become unrestricted free agents next summer. They’re worth keeping around if the Ducks were just retooling with an eye on reaching the playoffs next season. That’s no longer the case.
Perhaps Murray can find a suitable return for one or both players during the draft weekend. Failing that, both will likely be shopped as rental players at next year’s trade deadline.
THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman wondered what the future holds for Jonathan Bernier. The Detroit Red Wings goaltender was the subject of trade rumors leading up to the April 12 deadline. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. GM Steve Yzerman intends to wait until the end of the season to talk contract with his free agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bultman pointed out this summer’s expansion draft could complicate things. If they re-sign Bernier before the draft he’ll have to be protected. Waiting to sign him until after the draft could alleviate that problem.
THE ATHLETIC: Responding to a reader’s question yesterday, Eric Stephens believes the Anaheim Ducks will set a higher asking price for defenseman Josh Manson and winger Rickard Rakell because they each have a year remaining on their respective contracts. He feels the Ducks should seek a first-round pick and a top prospect for each player. Stephens doesn’t know if general manager Bob Murray is shopping Manson and Rakell but he’s getting a lot of calls.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With so many of the top rental players off the market perhaps there will be more interest in Manson and Rakell before the deadline.
STLTODAY.COM: Tom Timmermann reports the Blues’ recent surge back into playoff contention muddies the waters regarding their trade plans. Pending free agent winger Mike Hoffman seemed the most likely trade candidate but that may have changed due to an injury to forward Robert Thomas.
St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman (NHL Images).
It would take a significant offer and pessimism on the part of Blues’ management over contract talks to pry winger Jaden Schwartz loose. Like Hoffman, he’s a UFA this summer. So is center Tyler Bozak, who might be enticing to clubs seeking depth at center. Vince Dunn is a restricted free agent and could be appealing as an offensive defenseman.
Timmermann believes the Blues would seek draft picks to restock their prospect pipeline.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers need a left-winger, a second-pairing defenseman and a third-line center. GM Ken Holland, however, doesn’t want to part with a first-round pick or a Grade-A prospect for a rental player. He’s also hampered by limited salary-cap space. Matheson speculates Holland could wait and see if the price drops for pending UFAs such as the Blues’ Mike Hoffman or the Philadelphia Flyers’ Scott Laughton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland could pursue a player or two with term on their contracts. That will require some salary-cap creativity as we saw in the Savard and Foligno trades over the weekend in which a third-team used their cap space to broker a deal.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson believes Sam Bennett is the Flames’ most valuable trade chip approaching the deadline. However, the fact he’s still in Calgary over two months following his agent’s public trade request suggests any offers have been underwhelming.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett’s a restricted free agent this summer so Flames GM Brad Treliving doesn’t have to move him at the deadline. He could wait for a better offer during the offseason before the Seattle expansion draft.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell recently mentioned a right-shot defenseman and an extra forward as trade deadline possibilities. He speculated Waddell may have had discussions with the Ducks about Josh Manson or the Los Angeles Kings about Sean Walker. Both are right-shot defenders with term remaining on their contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We know the asking price for Manson could be expensive. The Kings could be reluctant to part with Walker as he’s in the first season of a four-year deal with a $2.65 million annual average value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was reported yesterday the Penguins had acquired Deslauriers but that was subsequently walked back. Perhaps it was because they were in the process of acquiring Jeff Carter from the Kings. We’ll find out later today if they revisit a Deslauriers deal.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks expects a quiet trade deadline for the Rangers. He believes GM Jeff Gorton would listen if he received offers for Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich or Mika Zibanejad to perhaps lay the groundwork for offseason deals. However, they haven’t gotten any such inquires.
Brooks also believes the Rangers could buy out the final season of banished defenseman Tony DeAngelo’s contract this summer if he’s not traded at the deadline or selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.
The Blackhawks’ cap space remains their hottest commodity for cap-strapped clubs seeking a third-party broker to facilitate a trade. They could also listen to offers for pending RFA defenseman Nikita Zadorov but they aren’t actively shopping him.
Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is a fixture in the rumor mill but his $4.5 million annual cap hit over the next two years makes him difficult to move. Hall also doesn’t rule out the possibility of young forward Nolan Patrick as a trade option for a second-round pick.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mark McIntyre reports Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff won’t mortgage his club’s future for a rental player to bolster his blueline. He does have draft picks to use as trade bait and can add a salary with Bryan Little on long-term injury reserve.
McIntyre believes a rental player is a likely route. He suggested defense targets as New Jersey’s Dmitry Kulikov, Ryan Murray Sami Vatanen, or Ottawa’s rugged Erik Gudbranson. Others include Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak or Detroit’s Marc Staal.