Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 20, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 20, 2020

Possible free-agent destinations for Alex Pietrangelo, plus the latest on the Islanders and Canadiens in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

WHERE COULD PIETRANGELO GO VIA FREE AGENCY?

THE SCORE: Joel Wegman listed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, and Edmonton Oilers as possible destinations for St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo if he hits the open market next month. Contract talks between Pietrangelo and the Blues broke off last week as the club advised him to pursue free agency.

Wegman acknowledged the salary-cap constraints of the Leafs and Oilers mean they’d have to shed a salary or two to sign Pietrangelo. The Bruins’ logical need is for a scorer (Wegman suggests Arizona’s Taylor Hall) but he doesn’t rule out general manager Don Sweeney signing Pietrangelo and shopping Brandon Carlo or Connor Clifton for a left-side defenseman.

The Flames would have to overpay but they have $17 million in salary-cap room. The Avalanche have plenty of cap room and Wegman suggests they could shop Ian Cole and Erik Johnson to make room for Pietrangelo and create long-term cap space to re-sign Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some interesting suggestions from Wegman. The Leafs have been tied to Pietrangelo in the rumor mill for months. Signing him, however, requires some nifty salary-cap gymnastics by Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, which could include acquiring a player on permanent LTIR to allow them to spend over the cap ceiling.

The Oilers must improve their goaltending and add a reliable right-wing scorer. I don’t think they’ll get into the Pietrangelo sweepstakes. The Flames could try but GM Brad Treliving could be reluctant to overpay for his services.

Boston and Colorado are the intriguing ones on this list. Perhaps Sweeney gets creative as Wegman suggests, but the Avs’ Joe Sakic seems in prime position to strike. I think he should pursue an experienced starting goalie, but Pietrangelo could be that missing piece of the championship puzzle.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE ISLANDERS?

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker looked at the roster issues facing the New York Islanders next season. She expects UFA goalie Thomas Greiss will be replaced by promising Ilya Sorokin. UFA defenseman Andy Greene and winger Matt Martin might have to take pay cuts to stay with the Isles. Forward Derick Brassard was a healthy scratch at times during the postseason.

Center Mathew Barzal and defensemen Devon Toews and Ryan Pulock are restricted free agents. GM Lou Lamoriello said earlier this year he’d match any offer sheet for Barzal and it isn’t his intention to allow negotiations to reach that point.

NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross believes the Islanders need a top-six scorer or two who can improve their power play. Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine, Florida Panthers winger Mike Hoffman, or Arizona’s Taylor Hall could be good initial targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Islanders have $72.5 million invested in 20 players. Barzal’s new contract will eat up most of that remaining $8.9 million even if he agreed to an affordable bridge deal. GM Lou Lamoriello will have to shed salary just to re-sign Barzal, Toews and Pulock, which could mean bidding farewell to Martin, Greene and Brassard.

Lamoriello could get creative to add a scoring forward. However, I don’t see him being able to acquire a sniper such as Laine or sign an expensive UFA winger like Hall or Hoffman.

LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION

TVA SPORTS: noted Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently said he’s interested in landing a big forward who can help his club’s offensive attack. The site listed Chicago’s Brandon Saad, Detroit’s Anthony Mantha, Columbus’ Josh Anderson, Carolina’s Nino Niedereitter, Minnesota’s Jordan Greenway and Edmonton’s Jesse Puljujarvi as power forwards who might be enticing to Bergevin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks must shed salary to re-sign RFAs Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome as well as re-sign or replace UFA goalie Corey Crawford. They could move Saad and his $6 million cap hit for next season but could be reluctant to go that route unless they get a more affordable replacement. Some Habs fans might suggest Max Domi, but the Blackhawks are set at center with Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome, and might not see Domi as an effective substitution for Saad.

Anderson has potential but his season-ending shoulder injury could be cause for concern. Niederreiter tends to be inconsistent and at $5.25-million annually for the next two seasons would be an expensive gamble.

Puljujarvi has proven nothing yet at the NHL level. Unless the Oilers are willing to dump him for a song, Bergevin should consider more established options. I don’t believe Mantha or Greenway are available.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, Nikita Kucherov fined, Ducks talking contract with Jakob Silfverberg, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning became the first team to reach 80 points this season by holding on for a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Lightning forward Brayden Point missed the game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Earlier in the day, the NHL announced Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov was fined $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield on Friday.

The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 4-2 deficit to edge the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 on an overtime goal by Nolan Patrick, with four of their goals coming on the power-play. Flyers captain Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists while Carter Hart made 40 saves. 

Nico Hischier scored the game-tying and game-winning goals as the New Jersey Devils eked out a 3-2 overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens. 

Jack Roslovic’s hat trick helped the Winnipeg Jets thump the Anaheim Ducks 9-3 (Photo via NHL Images).

The Winnipeg Jets tallied a franchise-record six goals in the first period to roast the Anaheim Ducks 9-3. Jack Roslovic had a hat trick and Bryan Little added two goals. Ducks goalie John Gibson was pulled in the first period after giving up six goals on 14 shots while teammate Corey Perry was held pointless in his season debut.  Meanwhile, reports indicate contract talks are progressing between the Ducks and pending free agent winger Jakob Silfverberg. 

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Earlier in the day, the Leafs placed defenseman Martin Marincin on waivers

Jonathan Bernier turned in a 35-save performance as the Detroit Red Wings shut out the Ottawa Senators 2-0. The Wings were playing without center Dylan Larkin, who’s sidelined one-to-two weeks with a strained oblique muscle. Earlier in the day, the league announced Senators forward Zack Smith was fined $5,000.00 for elbowing Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson on Friday. 

The Florida Panthers downed the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Panthers goalie James Reimer kicked out 34 shots while Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist. 

Three unanswered third-period goals powered the New York Islanders to a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, extending their points streak to eight games. Isles defenseman Ryan Pulock collected three assists. 

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko scored one goal and set up two others as his club doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. The Blues have won six of their last nine games to move within three points of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Blue Jackets now hold a three-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

Third-period goals by Blake Comeau and Mattias Janmark enabled the Dallas Stars to beat the Nashville Predators 3-1, giving the Stars their fourth straight victory. 

Erik Gustafsson’s overtime goal lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat had a three-point performance. 

Jacob Markstrom’s 34-save performance carried the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, enabling the Canucks (54 points) to move past the Avs (52 points) into the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.  Jake Virtanen and Antoine Roussel each had a goal and an assist. 

The San Jose Sharks nipped the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 thanks to an overtime goal by Brent Burns. The Coyotes were playing without defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who didn’t embark on their road trip owing to a lower-body injury

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals forward Lars Eller (lower-body injury) will be a game-day decision for today’s contest against the Boston Bruins.

THE SCORE: Sportsnet analyst Brian Burke is no fan of the Carolina Hurricane’s post-game victory celebrations.  “I think it’s bush league. If they want to keep doing it in Carolina, fine. I think it’s bush league (and) I hate it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burke then yelled at some kids to stay off his lawn, shook his fist at a passing cloud, and told a long-winded tale about how much better things were back in his day. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2019

Game recaps, Wild trade Nino Niederreiter to Carolina, plus updates on Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Dubinsky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 28 saves and tied a franchise record with his 252nd career victory in a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. After being a healthy scratch in the Bruins previous game, David Backes returned to the lineup and tallied the game-tying goal that set the stage for his club’s victory. Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson returned to action after missing three games with an illness.

First-period goals by Anders Lee, Michael Dal Colle, and Jordan Eberle powered the New York Islanders to a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. For Dal Colle, it was his first NHL goal. 

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 445th career victory in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images)

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist moved into a tie with Terry Sawchuk for sixth on the NHL’s all-time wins list (445) as his club edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Teammate Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist. The loss dropped the Blackhawks into the bottom of the Western Conference standings.  

Frederik Andersen kicked out 36 shots as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Patrick Marleau and Nazem Kadri each had a goal and an assist while Mitch Marner scored in his fourth straight game. 

The Winnipeg Jets extended their winning streak to four games by defeating the Nashville Predators 5-1. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 37 shots and Brendan Lemieux tallied two goals. 

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a 12-game losing skid by blanking the Minnesota Wild 3-0. John Gibson turned in a 37-save shutout while Brandon Montour collected two assists. 

Jack Campbell made 29 saves as the Los Angeles Kings nipped the Dallas Stars 2-1. Carl Hagelin scored his first goal since joining the Kings in a trade from Pittsburgh on Nov. 14. 

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS: The Minnesota Wild traded winger Nino Niederreiter to the Carolina Hurricanes for center Victor Rask.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was two teams swapping players who could need a fresh start. Niederreiter is a three-time 20-plus goal scorer who saw his production decline (nine goals in 46 games) and his playing time reduced this season. Rask has two 40-plus point seasons on his resume but he’s struggled since returning from hand surgery in late-November.

Both are in their mid-20s with three years left on their contracts. This was the second trade made this week by the Wild, having acquired winger Pontus Aberg from the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 16.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins center Evgeni Malkin blames a lack of confidence for his recent struggles. Though he’s been tinkering with new equipment, Malkin feels the problem “is in my head.” He’s unhappy with his play of late, losing pucks that result in turnovers. The issue appears to be that he’s trying too hard to do too much and the coaching staff wants him to simplify his play. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just goes to show that even a future Hall-of-Famer like Malkin can sometimes lose their poise. By the way, Malkin also has 10 points in seven games this month. 

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky (hamstring) is expected to return to action tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have removed goaltender Craig Anderson from injured reserve. 

CBS SPORTS: The Colorado Avalanche reassigned center Tyson Jost to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres traded forward Justin Bailey to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Taylor Leier. Both have spent this season in the minors. 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2018

A review of TSN’s updated trade-bait board (which includes such notables as Colton Parayko, Jeff Carter, Kevin Hayes, and Jimmy Howard) in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Jake Muzzin, New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes, Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Brett Pesce, and Kings center Jeff Carter top Frank Seravalli’s updated trade-bait board.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko tops TSN’s recently updated NHL trade-bait board. (Photo via NHL Images)

While there’s a lot of attention lately on the futures of Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo, Seravalli claims there are teams willing to line up to land Parayko, who could fetch the Blues a significant return. He suggests the Edmonton Oilers consider pursuing the 25-year-old d-man.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s colleague Bob McKenzie made the observation that if Blues general manager Doug Armstrong could be listening to offers for “just about everybody” (including Tarasenko), it doesn’t mean he’s trading he’s trading everybody. Still, that hasn’t stopped the growing speculation over the futures of some of the Blues best players, including Pietrangelo.

Sportsnet’s Josh Beneteau listed the Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vegas Golden Knights as five clubs that could make a trade for Pietrangelo.

The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford, meanwhile, reports the Blues aren’t believed actively shopping anyone and echoes McKenzie’s opinion that just because they’re willing to consider a big move doesn’t mean they’re going to do it. While there’s a belief the Leafs and Blues had a casual chat about Pietrangelo, Rutherford cites another source saying that speculation probably generated from the Leafs need for a top defenseman and Pietrangelo would make a lot of sense if available.

What’s interesting is that Parayko hasn’t generated nearly as much chatter in the rumor mill as Pietrangelo and Tarasenko, even though he’d probably be the most likely of that trio to move if the Blues opt to swing a major deal. He’s a little younger (25) than the other two, lack no-trade protection and carries a reasonable annual average value ($5.5 million) through 2021-22.

Maybe Parayko’s struggles this season have dampened his trade value, or maybe it’s a case where a guy who doesn’t garner as much media attention ends up being the one who gets traded. If the Oilers take Seravalli’s advice, I expect the asking price could be Darnell Nurse or a package including winger Jesse Puljujarvi. 

Turning to the Kings, Seravalli suggests Muzzin and perhaps currently sidelined defenseman Alec Martinez are prime candidates to become part of a shake-up trade. So could Carter, who lacks a no-trade clause but could use the threat of retirement as a means of picking his next destination. If he were to retire, the Kings would be hit with a salary-cap recapture penalty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings need younger talent so I can certainly see any one of those three being shopped if the return includes a promising young NHL player. The Athletic’s Craig Custance also suggested Tyler Toffoli and Jonathan Quick as possible trade options if they were to follow the blueprint the Boston Bruins used in trading Milan Lucic, a move that allowed to Bruins to quickly restock with young talent. 

As for Carter, Custance’s colleague Fluto Shinzawa suggested Carter could be a good short-term fit for the Bruins to bolster their depth at center. Young Bruins such as Ryan Donato and Anders Bjork could be part of the Kings’ asking price. 

It seems to be only speculation at this point that Carter would use the retirement threat as a measure of no-trade protection. If he were to retire, Cap Friendly yesterday informed me that the Kings would get tagged with a $2.75- million cap hit per season for the remaining three seasons of his contract, with the Columbus Blue Jackets (Carter’s former team) getting tagged for over $180K over the same period.

The Philadelphia Flyers, the team that signed Carter to his current contract, traded him before the deal went into effect. I’m guessing that’s why they won’t also get hit with a cap recapture penalty.

Turning to Hayes, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, and Winnipeg Jets could target him as a depth option at center. He also thinks the Nashville Predators could pursue Hayes’ teammate Mats Zuccarello, who (like Hayes) is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July. 

Seravalli also feels Pesce or Justin Faulk could be peddled by the Hurricanes for a scoring forward, suggesting Leafs winger Kaspari Kapanen could be among their trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs could be reluctant to move Kapanen, preferring to retain their embarrassment of riches up front for the remainder of this season. 

Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle, Detroit Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist, Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland, Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, and Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene round out the top 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports claim Coyle could be available, linking him to the Bruins, Senators and Montreal Canadiens. Trade speculation over the futures of Nyquist and Howard has died down with the Wings staying in playoff contention, though they might pick up if they fall out of the postseason chase before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline.

Seravalli believes Ferland could be dealt because he’s on a pace this season that could put him in line for a Tom Wilson-type contract (six years, $31 million) and that’s rich for the Hurricanes. However, there’s no certainty he will remain on that pace. Let’s see how things shake out with him between now and the trade deadline.

As for Duchene, there’s been some optimistic talk of late suggesting he and the Senators could be working toward a contract extension. Those discussions are expected to resume in January. 

Zuccarello, Blues forward Alex Steen, Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg, Faulk, Philadephia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, Martinez, Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, Wild winger Nino Niederreiter, Rangers forward Vladislav Namestnikov, and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky fill positions 11 to 20 on Seravalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Steen has a full no-trade clause and could be unwilling to leave St. Louis. Silfverberg is due for UFA status in July but the Ducks could hang onto him if they remain in the playoff race. Simmonds is also a pending UFA and has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill. If the Flyers fail to gain ground in the standings, he could be a goner by the trade deadline.

I don’t see any market for the aging, banged-up Bouwmeester. Niederreiter, like Coyle, is thought to be someone Wild GM Paul Fenton might be willing to move but Fenton appears to be staying patient with both players.

Namestnikov surfaced earlier this season as a trade candidate but his improved play since then has largely quieted that talk. The 25-year-old is under contract through 2019-20 at $4 million annually. As long as the Blue Jackets remain in playoff contention, Bobrovsky’s not going anywhere this season. 

Kapanen and fellow Leaf forward Andreas Johnsson, Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, Senators defenseman Cody Ceci, Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin, Vancouver Canucks blueliner Michael Del Zotto, Florida Panthers rearguard Alex Petrovic, Chicago Blackhawks defender Brandon Manning, Canucks center Sam Gagner, and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel fill positions 21-30.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs seek a top-pairing defenseman, Kapanen and Johnsson could be part of the asking price. The recent improvement of Talbot and the Oilers quieted any suggestions that he could become available. Ceci’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer, which likely explains his placement on his list. Like Bobrovsky, Panarin’s going nowhere this season as long as the Jackets are a playoff club. 

The Athletic’s George Richards recently reported Petrovic felt like he’s been pushed aside in Florida. He could be on the move before the trade deadline. He’s a UFA at season’s end. Kessel’s name recently popped up in the rumor mill. Unless an interested club is willing to part with a hefty return, don’t expect to see him moving this season. 

 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 12, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – December 12, 2018

Latest on the Flyers, Wild, and Blackhawks in your NHL rumor mill.

FLYERS GM LOOKING FOR A TRADE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher is trying to be active in the trade market in search of a goaltending upgrade, speaking to half the teams in the league. He’d also like to add a veteran defenseman to his young blueline and a top-nine forward before the Dec. 19th holiday trade freeze. LeBrun said Fletcher won’t force a move if it’s not there, but he’d like to give his roster a shot of adrenaline to remain competitive this year.

Darren Dreger added someone will try to link the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Flyers because of ongoing speculation they need a power forward like Wayne Simmonds or the Carolina Hurricanes’ Micheal Ferland. Leafs management, however, appears more interested in finding a right-shot defenseman.

NBC SPORTS: John Boruk looked at potential free-agent options for Fletcher to target if the Flyers fail to sign Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky this summer. He suggests targets such as Ottawa Senators forwards Mark Stone and Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman.

Boruk also suggests winger Michael Raffl could become a trade chip if Fletcher decides he doesn’t have a future with the Flyers beyond this season. Raffl is due to become an unrestricted free agent next July and could interest a club seeking bottom-six depth. He also has an affordable $2.35-million cap hit for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers aren’t the only club believed seeking trades before the upcoming holiday freeze. The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues are also said to be shopping around. 

Pending UFAs such as Simmonds and Raffl could become trade candidates, though at this stage they will be considered playoff rental players.  Maybe Fletcher will consider swapping one of them for another pending UFA with the thought of re-signing the new addition if he helps improve the Flyers’ performance this season. 

Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle continues to pop up in recent trade speculation (Photo via NHL Images)

WILD STILL SHOPPING COYLE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted a recent report from The Athletic’s Michael Russo claiming Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton is shopping the likes of forward Charlie Coyle. LeBrun believes Fenton is making more calls to see what’s available in the trade market. He believes the Boston Bruins have “kicked tires” on Coyle. While he doesn’t know if anything’s imminent, LeBrun thinks Fenton might be finally ready to act.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since being hired back in May, Fenton has yet to swing a significant trade as he preferred to take some time to evaluate his roster before making a move. He’s now had over two months and could be ready to pull the trigger. 

Russo also said the Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Montreal Canadiens were monitoring Coyle and noted Fenton would also consider moving winger Nino Niederreiter. Coyle or Niederreiter could attract interest from clubs like the Bruins, Senators, and Canadiens that are believed looking around for depth on their forward lines.

COULD THE BLACKHAWKS TRY TO MOVE A CORE PLAYER?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun doesn’t believe any of the Chicago Blackhawks core players are in play, in part because they all have no-move contracts. He doubts legacy players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are going anywhere.

LeBrun believes defenseman Duncan Keith would still attract plenty of interest around the league if he became available in the trade market. So far, there’s no evidence to suggest he will be. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun suggested that’s an offseason conversation. If Keith, or any of the Blackhawks carrying full no-movement clauses, doesn’t want to be traded there’s nothing Hawks management can do about it. They can’t bury those players in the minors and won’t banish them to the press box or cut their playing time. 

 










NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2018

Latest on the Bruins, Wild, Canadiens, and Coyotes in your NHL rumor mill.

BRUINS INTERESTED IN COYLE?

THE ATHLETIC: With Patrice Bergeron sidelined at least four weeks with a rib injury, Joe McDonald reports the Boston Bruins are looking at the possibility of trading for a center. That will depend on whether Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson can handle the first-line center role in Bergeron’s absence.

McDonald claims the Bruins could revisit their offseason interest in Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle, with either Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen, or Anders Bjork packaged with a draft pick heading the other way. Coyle would be seen as a stopgap measure until Bergeron’s return, providing much-needed depth down the middle for the Bruins for the remainder of the season.

The Boston Bruins could have interest in acquiring Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle. (Photo via NHL Images)

 McDonald also suggests St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak or Arizona Coyotes center Derek Stepan as alternative trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyle’s name surfaced last season in the trade-rumor mill. As we’ll see below, he’s considered by some as a potential trade chip for the Wild. If the Bruins are in the market for a center, Coyle seems a more likely trade option than Bozak or Stepan.

The Blues signed Bozak last summer and I don’t think they’re looking at making trades just yet, especially involving one of their recent veteran additions. Given the Coyotes’ lack of depth at center, I don’t think they’re keen to move Stepan unless they’re getting a proven center in return. 

WILD TRADE CANDIDATES

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently speculated over possible Minnesota Wild trade candidates and if the club could pursue a deal to acquire Toronto Maple Leafs restricted free agent William Nylander before Dec. 1.

He dismissed the notion of the Wild landing Nylander, pointing out whatever interest management may have had a month ago has waned since the Wild 11 of their last 16 (13 of their last 18 since Nov. 23). Russo also cites a source claiming general manager Paul Fenton isn’t going there as it’s too complicated, with the Leafs likely to ask for defenseman Matt Dumba and Nylander reportedly seeking over $8 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Leafs are willing to accept Jared Spurgeon instead of Dumba and if the Wild can convince Nylander to accept a more affordable contract, I don’t see the young Swede continuing his NHL career in Minnesota. 

Russo considers Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter among the Wild’s most likely to move candidates. He also suggests they might consider trading pending unrestricted free agent Eric Staal if their season goes off the rails by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wild remain in playoff contention Staal isn’t going anywhere. Russo believes Coyle isn’t a finisher and just lacks a killer instinct while Niederreiter’s current struggles have to be troubling for Wild management. Still, I believe there is a market for either guy if Fenton puts one or both on the trade block. 

POTENTIAL CANADIENS TRADE CANDIDATES

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu lists Charlie Hudon, David Schlemko, Tomas Tatar, Andrew Shaw, and Jordie Benn as possible Montreal Canadiens’ trade candidates, with little-used forward Nikita Schebak as the most likely to go. 

Canadiens coach Claude Julien isn’t pleased with Hudon’s defensive shortcomings. Schlemko’s injury history and $2.1-million salary-cap hit could make him difficult to move. Tatar’s play this season has increased his trade value but also his value to the retooling Canadiens. Shaw is having success skating alongside Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin but Basu speculates GM Marc Bergevin might listen if the price is right.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance yesterday on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman discussed the Florida Panthers’ potential interest in Montreal Canadiens third-string goaltender Charlie Lindgren. He believes the Panthers had interest in the promising Lindgren last season but believes the Canadiens could set a high asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens become sellers it’ll likely be in the New Year, probably in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. Of those who could move, Benn seems the likely option as the Habs will soon have a logjam on the blueline when Shea Weber and Noah Juulsen return from injuries. If call-up Brett Kulak keeps playing as well as he did in last night’s game against Buffalo, it could increase the likelihood of Benn hitting the trade block. 

As for Lindgren, he’s in the first season of a three-year contract and the Canadiens aren’t in any rush to move him. Still, they could use him as trade bait at some point to address another roster need. 

POSSIBLE COYOTES TRADE CANDIDATES

THE ATHLETIC: Craig Morgan recently listed Brendan Perlini, Richard Panik, Dylan Strome, and perhaps Alex Goligoski as potential Arizona Coyotes’ trade candidates. Perlini is struggling to produce, Panik’s a frequent resident in coach Rick Tocchet’s doghouse, while flaws in Strome’s game raise questions over where he’d be playing if Christian Dvorak weren’t sidelined. Meanwhile, Jakob Chychrun could soon be ready to take Goligoski’s place among the Coyotes’ top-four defensemen.