NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2019

Latest on William Nylander, Vladimir Tarasenko, Wayne Simmonds, Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Talbot and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


Could the William Nylander rumor mill grind back to life in the offseason? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPORTSNET (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Brian Burke predicts the Toronto Maple Leafs will move William Nylander this summer. He feels the winger’s contract is structured in such a way (front-loaded) that it’ll make it easy for the club to move him this summer.

Burke suggested several factors as to why Nylander could be traded so soon after the Leafs re-signed him. He considers the winger a valuable asset who’ll fetch a good return, noted the Leafs have too many highly-skilled forwards “who aren’t big”, and he’s a good player but not a difference maker. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago, it would’ve been laughable to suggest the Leafs could trade Nylander next summer. After all, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas told Nylander he won’t be traded.

But with Nylander struggling since returning to action last month following a lengthy contract standoff, there’s growing discontent over his performance and how much the Leafs have invested in him. If he fails to improve over the remainder of this season and the Leafs suffer another early playoff exit, the Nylander trade chatter will intensify in the offseason. 


PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said Wayne Simmonds will be re-signed or moved by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. The club isn’t willing to lose Simmonds to free agency this summer for nothing. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cited Elliotte Friedman’s appearance yesterday on Edmonton’s 630 CHED discussing Simmonds’ future. He believes it more likely than not that the 30-year-old winger will be traded. He suggests Nashville or Boston as possible destinations. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Joe Rexrode acknowledged Simmonds would bring the Predators a strong net-front presence but believes the Flyers’ asking price will be too expensive. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also believe Simmonds is more likely to be traded and I think the Bruins will be among the frontrunners. I don’t doubt the Predators would have interest but not at any cost. Simmonds isn’t the only Flyer available in the trade market. After forward Dale Weise cleared waivers, Fletcher reportedly told him to stay home and wait for a trade. 


STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with his readers, Tom Timmermann said he believes the St. Louis Blues will be sellers at the trade deadline unless the Central Division standings do a complete 180-degree turn. He doesn’t see them trading prospects to make a run for the postseason, suggesting unrestricted free agents such as Carl Gunnarsson and Jay Bouwmeester could be moved.  

While the Blues might get better returns for Brayden Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo by trading them with a year left on their contracts, moving them if they can’t get a good return now would be a bad idea. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter noted the trade speculation surrounding Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. While he would be a great fit with the Bruins, the Blues would probably want a combination of top draft picks, high-end prospects and young standouts such as Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk in return. Porter also notes the Bruins have only $3.8 million in salary-cap space while Tarasenko carries an annual average value of $7.5 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the Bruins want to add another scoring winger but I daresay they’re looking at affordable rental options. Tarasenko is well out of their price range. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the San Jose Sharks are in the market for a center. He thinks they checked into the availability of Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford apparently wants a roster player who can fill the third-line center position. The Sharks won’t be able to help them there unless Rutherford uses assets received from the Sharks to bring in a center in a separate deal. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested the recent improvement of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could hasten his departure from the Rangers. He has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.65 million and a 10-team no-trade list. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shattenkirk is a right-shot puck-moving defenseman with five 40-plus point seasons on his resume. He’s also been hampered by injuries in recent years. Unless the Rangers are willing to pick up part of his cap hit or take back a toxic contract, I’m not sure they’ll find much interest in his services. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Sportsnet’s Brian Burke talking about the trade value of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, who’s due to become a UFA this summer. “I don’t think you can move him at that salary. I just don’t think he’s moveable. But I don’t think anyone is going to take a UFA that is making that kind of money and hope he gets his game straightened out for the last month of the year.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Staples points out, Burke is telling Oilers fans a hard truth: Talbot has little or no trade value. His salary-cap hit is $4.16 million and he’s playing poorly this season. 


DALLAS MORNING NEWS: During a recent live chat with his readers, Matthew DeFranks speculates Stars GM Jim Nill isn’t done dealing after shipping Devin Shore earlier this week to Anaheim for Andrew Cogliano. While the Stars are pressed for cap space to add a top-six forward, DeFranks suggested putting Martin Hanzal, Marc Methot or Stephen Johns on LTIR could clear some room. He also doesn’t rule out the possibility of Nill trying to find a trade partner for someone like Brett Ritchie, Valeri Nichushkin, or Julius Honka. 

NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2018

Latest on Bobby Ryan, William Nylander, Rick Nash, Cory Schneider and more in your NHL rumor mill.

The Ottawa Senators weren’t willing to do discounts during Bobby Ryan trade discussions. (Photo via NHL Images)


SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports the closest Erik Karlsson came to being traded prior to getting dealt to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday was to the Vegas Golden Knights at last season’s trade deadline. He was told it would’ve been “a better business deal, but not a great hockey deal”. That means Senators winger Bobby Ryan was included but the Golden Knights would not send their best in the return.

TSN: Darren Dreger reported Thursday the Senators weren’t willing to give teams a discount for taking on Ryan while they were negotiating a Karlsson trade. “Vegas sources indicating that Ottawa wouldn’t put a value on taking the Ryan contract,” Dreger said. “Ottawa’s perspective was, ‘No, you’re getting a decent NHL player here who happens to have an ugly contract. But it’s a hockey trade.'”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Ryan is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $7.25 million. Unless the Senators are willing to absorb part of that cap hit or take back a toxic contract in return, they’re going to have a tough time finding any takers for him. 


Friedman reports there’s no clarity on the future of unrestricted free agent winger Rick Nash. His wife recently gave birth to their third child and Nash’s injury history has him considering retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is Nash will retire. If he’s still uncertain about his future as training camps open, I don’t think he’s really ready to keep playing. 

It’s rumored Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander seeks a contract comparable to Edmonton Oilers’ forward Leon Draisaitl’s $8.5 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’s not getting that much. The Leafs are rumored offering around $6 million annually and I don’t see them going much higher. Nylander is coming off an entry-level deal and has no leverage other than refusing to play and that’s not going to do him any favors. 


WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe notes how long defenseman Jacob Trouba remains with the Jets is a storyline that just won’t go away. He’s under an arbiter-awarded one-year, $5.5-million contract, making him eligible next summer to once again become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’ll also be only a year away from unrestricted free agency.

Some feel the Jets would be better off moving Trouba, but “unless the Jets get blown away by a trade offer that includes a young, controllable top-pairing blue-liner, having Trouba in the fold for a Stanley Cup run makes the most sense.” If they can’t re-sign him before next summer, Wiebe feels the likely outcome is the Jets move the blueliner by the 2019 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Jets suffer a massive collapse that knocks them out of playoff contention by the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline, Trouba won’t be going anywhere this season. I concur with Wiebe’s take. 

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis recently suggested the New Jersey Devils could explore the trade market for 32-year-old goaltender Cory Schneider if he can’t be the bedrock between the pipes. Schneider has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils GM Ray Shero could explore Schneider’s trade value if he’s no longer a capable starting goalie. That cap hit and no-trade clause, however, will make moving him a difficult task. 

Regarding the New York Rangers, Cyrgalis wondered if GM Jeff Gorton would consider moving pending UFA forwards Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello for future assets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there’s decent offers for those guys they could be gone by the trade deadline. 


NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2018

Latest on Erik Karlsson, William Nylander and Tyler Seguin in your NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro wondered if the recent 20-game suspension of defenseman Nate Schmidt might push the Vegas Golden Knights toward acquiring Ottawa Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson. They believe the Golden Knights must do something to replace Schmidt, who led the club in time on ice per game last season. Micallef took note of the previous trade rumors linking the Golden Knights to Karlsson. Seixeiro feels if this doesn’t bring Karlsson to Vegas it never will, adding now’s the time to make that move with Ottawa.

Could Nate Schmidt’s suspension push the Vegas Golden Knights to revisit their interest in Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but I don’t see Golden Knights GM George McPhee using Schmidt’s suspension as justification to pull off a blockbuster move. Yes, the absence of a minute-munching defenseman like Schmidt for 20 games is a problem, but he’s no Karlsson. Unless the Senators reduce what’s believed to be their expensive asking price, making that deal would look like a panic move by the Golden Knights.

I expect McPhee will evaluate his roster during training camp and preseason play, focusing on the young defensemen within his system. I daresay he’ll also keep an eye on the waiver wire and the trade market for affordable help.


TORONTO STAR:  Damien Cox notes the clock’s ticking on the Toronto Maple Leafs getting restricted free agent forward William Nylander under contract before training camp opens next week.

While this situation suggests a bridge contract for Nylander, Cox notes Nylander has some bargaining power, pointing out Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad and Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (taken ahead of Nylander in the 2014 NHL Draft) and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers (selected after Nylander) have big-salary contracts.

He feels Ehler’s $6 million annual salary could be a tad low for Nylander. Still, a bridge deal could also work to Nylander’s favor as it could set him up to negotiate for substantially more in two years time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: New contracts next summer for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner likely factor into the Leafs’ approach to Nylander’s negotiations. He could end up with a short-term contract with the promise of a more lucrative deal down the road after they’ve sorted out new deals for Matthews and Marner.

Nylander does have some negotiating power but the Leafs ultimately hold the hammer. He’s coming off an entry-level contract and didn’t have arbitration rights this summer.