NHL Rumor Mill – February 21, 2024
The latest on Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin, the Penguins are listening to offers for non-core players and the Rangers are interested in Kraken forward Alex Wennberg. Get the details on these and rumors involving several other teams in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST ON HANIFIN
TSN: Chris Johnston reports the Calgary Flames might make another push to sign Noah Hanifin to a contract extension. However, it seems likely that the 27-year-old defenseman will be traded. He’s got an eight-team no-trade clause and they’re not all Canadian teams.
Nevertheless, Johnston believes Hanifin will end up with a US-based team because it’s believed his preference is to sign with an American club. He singled out the Tampa Bay Lightning as a possible destination.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning have the cap space to pursue Hanifin with Mikhail Sergachev on long-term injury reserve (LTIR) for the remainder of the regular season. The Flames’ asking price for Hanifin will likely start with a first-round pick but the Lightning don’t have any first-rounders in this year’s or next year’s drafts. Their prospect pool is also shallow, ranked 29th by The Athletic.
PENGUINS LISTENING TO OFFERS FOR NON-CORE PLAYERS
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas is entertaining offers on pretty much everyone except his core players. One of them is winger Reilly Smith, who has a year remaining on his contract with a $5 million cap hit. He won a Stanley Cup last season with the Vegas Golden Knights and that experience could intrigue a few contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sidelined winger Jake Guentzel is among the Penguins’ core. He’s been dogged by trade rumors for weeks amid speculation that Dubas could also re-sign him. Perhaps this report means Dubas still intends on re-signing him? Stay tuned…
RANGERS INTERESTED IN WENNBERG
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports sources claim the Rangers are looking at Seattle Kraken forward Alex Wennberg to fill their third-line center position. The 29-year-old Wennberg is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and carries a $4.5 million cap hit for this season.
Brooks cited Wennberg’s playoff experience, his skating ability and his 200-foot game among the reasons behind the Rangers’ interest in him. He also noted the Boston Bruins have been linked to the Kraken center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken are just three points out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference so they’re probably not sellers right now. That could change if they fail to gain ground in the standings over the next couple of weeks.
UPDATE ON THE BLUE JACKETS
THE ATHLETIC: While the Blue Jackets are in the process of finding a new general manager, Aaron Portzline reports interim GM John Davidson is focused on the upcoming NHL trade deadline.
The Jackets won’t trade their prospects nor is team captain Boone Jenner available. Jack Roslovic is their one prominent pending UFA. Portzline estimates his trade value as being worth a late-round draft pick or a distant prospect.
There was speculation defenseman Ivan Provorov could be a trade candidate to make room for promising Denton Mateychuk on their blueline. However, Davidson said Mateychuk must earn a roster spot in training camp. Nevertheless, Portzline believes Provorov could be moved if the right phone call is made.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Provorov could be moved if someone pitches a first-round pick or a high-quality young player. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s still with the Jackets after March 8.
NOTABLE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM TSN’S INSIDERS
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Ottawa Senators want to do something bigger but must wait for the trade market to establish itself…The Edmonton Oilers would ideally like to add a top-six forward to Leon Draisaitl’s line. However, they’re also eyeing the Anaheim Ducks’ Adam Henrique as a third-line center…The Dallas Stars would like to add a right-shot defenseman as could the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils. Speaking of the Devils, they’re also looking for a goaltender and kicking tires on forwards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have over $2.3 million in trade deadline cap space. It could make it difficult to add Henrique even if the Ducks retain half of his $5.8 million cap hit…With Vitek Vanecek on injured reserve, the Devils’ need for help between the pipes should be their priority if they hope to nail down a wild-card spot.
Pierre LeBrun believes the Florida Panthers want to add to their roster before the trade deadline. They’ll have around $5 million in accrued cap space by deadline day to add a top-nine forward but they lack first-round picks in 2024 and 2025 to use as trade bait.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They also lack a second-rounder in this year’s draft. The Athletic recently ranked their prospect pool at No. 24 but they’ll likely have to dip into it if they intend to be buyers this year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have 13 picks in this year’s draft, 11 in next year’s draft and 10 in 2026. 10 of those are second-rounders, seven are third-rounders and four are fourth-round picks. However, they only have one first-rounder in each of those drafts.
PROPOSED DESTINATIONS FOR THE CAPITALS’ NIC DOWD
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber recently suggested the New York Rangers could be a good fit for Nic Dowd if the Washington Capitals put him on the trade block. She also cited Jason Gregor of Oilers Nation suggesting the Edmonton Oilers as a fit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Part of what makes Dowd enticing in the trade market is his contract. The 33-year-old checking-line center carries an affordable $1.3 million annual average value through next season.