NHL Rumor Mill – March 23, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 23, 2021

A look at some potential goalie trade bait, the obstacles facing teams in this year’s trade market plus the latest on the Hurricanes, Jets, Islanders, Penguins and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill. 

POTENTIAL GOALIE TRADE BAIT

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin included Florida’s Chris Driedger, Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins, Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper, Anaheim’s Ryan Miller and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick on his list of 10 goaltenders who could get moved at the NHL trade deadline. Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier, San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin and Arizona’s Antti Raanta are the others.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Driedger’s a pending unrestricted free agent but I don’t see the Panthers trading him while they’re among the top three clubs in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Korpisalo and Merzlikins as the Jackets remain in the playoff chase. Besides, they both have a year left on their contracts so there’s no rush to move either guy at the deadline.

If the Coyotes trade Kuemper I believe that happens in the offseason when they could get a better return from a club with cap space. If Miller wanted one last shot at winning a Stanley Cup he would’ve signed with a contender instead of the Ducks. He’s happy in Anaheim and I doubt he has any intention of leaving.

Quick has two more years left on his contract worth $5.8 million. I don’t see much interest in him given the current cap situation. Even if the Kings picked up half of his cap hit he’s still a declining asset with a long injury history.

Bernier, Dubnyk and Raanta are pending UFAs and thus more likely to move. Khudobin could be intriguing to some clubs and he carries an affordable $3.33 million annual average value, but he’s 34 and that contract has two more years on it.

TEAMS FACING OBSTACLES IN TRADE MARKET

NHL.COM: Dan Rosen reports most NHL clubs are still trying to navigate through quarantine protocols and a flat salary cap as the April 12 trade deadline approaches. He also adds the cost of top rental players such as Buffalo’s Taylor Hall and Eric Staal and New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri could be a high draft pick and a top prospect. Those in the rumor mill with term on their contracts, such as Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg, could be more expensive.

Asking prices could be expensive for rental players such as New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri (NHL Images)

Some teams, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders, are in the market to add players before the deadline. The Islanders have additional salary-cap flexibility after placing captain Anders Lee (knee injury) and his $7 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any significant movement by Canadian teams could come by the end of March. If they wait until the deadline any player acquired from American franchises will be unavailable until April 27 after they’ve cleared the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people crossing the US border into Canada. That won’t leave them much time to adjust to their new teams before the playoffs open on May 11.

LATEST ON THE HURRICANES, JETS AND SHARKS

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said he and Dougie Hamilton’s camp have agreed to table contract extension talks until the season is over. Hamilton is in the final season of a six-year, $34.5 million contract and is slated for UFA eligibility this summer.

Waddell also said he believes his club is close to a contract extension for head coach Rod Brind’Amour. He could be willing to tinker with his roster before the trade deadline, citing a need for a right-shot defenseman and perhaps a top-nine forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell doesn’t have to make any significant moves with his club battling for first place in the Central Division. However, he alluded to team owner Tom Dundon’s competitive nature and desire to ice the best team possible. The Hurricanes will be worth watching as the trade deadline nears. Dundon’s wish to turn them into a Stanley Cup contender could push Waddell into the market.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe reports the expectation remains the Winnipeg Jets will try to add a defenseman to play on one of their top-two pairings. The best trade target remains Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm. Columbus’ David Savard could be out of the picture given the Blue Jackets’ recent rise into playoff contention in the Central Division.

Another option could be Anaheim’s Josh Manson. Like Ekholm, he has a year remaining on his contract. The asking price for Ekholm will be high while injuries have limited Manson to six games this season. Wiebe also suggests keeping an eye on Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets must be careful taking on a defenseman with term on his contract (Ekholm, Manson, Ristolainen) as that could complicate their expansion draft protection list for their blueline. A rental such as Savard or perhaps Vancouver’s Travis Hamonic might be the way to go here unless they work out a deal with the Seattle Kraken before the expansion draft.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Alex Didion cited a report by The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz indicating Patrick Marleau would be open to a trade that sends him to a playoff contender before the April 12 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But are playoff contenders open to acquiring a fading winger like the 41-year-old Marleau at the trade deadline? He has just five points in 30 games this season.

UPDATES ON THE ISLANDERS, PENGUINS AND DUCKS

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports acquiring a first-line winger remains the New York Islanders’ priority. He believes Columbus’ Nick Foligno could be off the Isles’ list of targets owing to the Jackets’ recent rise in the Central standings. Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson has been sidelined a month, curtailing the Canucks’ trade options.

Sean Gentille, Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe report the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t shopping defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Despite their left-side blueline depth, they’re reluctant to move a blueliner given the schedule and need for depth to secure a playoff spot. They also rejected a rumor linking the Penguins to Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart, citing the club’s lack of cap space and available assets to pry him away from the Sabres.

Pierre LeBrun reports Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray could attempt to trade a few veteran players between now and the start of next season as he transitions his roster toward younger players. However, most of those moves might not come until the offseason. Murray admits things are quiet in the trade market due to the pandemic, the flattened salary cap, and this summer’s expansion draft.

Murray doesn’t have many rental players to shop. The Ducks GM could instead look for a hockey deal, with LeBrun suggesting winger Rickard Rakell making the most sense. Rakell is a good two-way winger with an affordable $3.78 million cap hit through next season.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 18, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 18, 2021

Analysis of TSN’s list of trade-deadline buyers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Frank Seravalli listed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins as his eight buyers heading toward the April 12 trade deadline.

Seravalli cited the Leafs’ willingness to make a trade soon for a middle-six rental forward and their willingness to move a top prospect to do so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Luke Fox listed Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf, Buffalo’s Taylor Hall and Eric Staal, Columbus’ Nick Foligno, New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund and Los Angeles’ Alex Iafallo as his top-seven pure rental targets for the Leafs.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

Forget about Getzlaf unless he waives his no-movement clause which doesn’t appear likely. Hall also has a no-movement clause but Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said every option is on the table regarding his roster.

The Leafs were linked to Granlund for weeks in the rumor mill and could remain their main target. I wouldn’t rule out Staal as he’s affordable though his age (36) could be a factor. Getzlaf, Hall, Foligno and Palmieri could prove too expensive to add to the Leafs’ limited cap payroll. The Kings reportedly intend to re-sign Iafallo.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could pursue a rental defenseman primarily for expansion draft purposes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would rule out Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, who has a year left on his contract. A better fit could be Columbus’ David Savard if Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen is willing to sell at the deadline.

New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello admits he’ll use his $5.5 million of LTIR space to find a replacement for sidelined winger Anders Lee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall, Foligno and Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson could be options for the Isles. The Canucks, however, could be reluctant to move Pearson as long as they remain in the playoff chase. The Athletic’s Arthur Staple believes the Isles’ first-rounder in this year’s draft is most likely in play, that Lamoriello will consider all rental options, and he could act quickly.

Seravalli points out the Hurricanes made three moves at last year’s trade deadline and are more open to change than most on his list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been very quiet on the Hurricanes’ rumor front but that doesn’t mean they aren’t shopping around. They could perhaps use another secondary scorer or a physical checking-line forward. There’s some speculation about bringing Eric Staal back to Carolina but it remains to be seen just how seriously they’re entertaining that option.

The Golden Knights could use some depth at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They have almost no projected trade-deadline cap space but have defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on LTIR. However, they could be unwilling to use that if he’s returning before the season’s end. It might have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out move.

Seravalli expects Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic to make a move for a backup goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If anything happens to starter Philipp Grubauer the Avs are screwed. Sakic is being patient but he could pull the trigger to add someone like Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier or San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk.

Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher appears smitten with Predators’ defenseman Mattias Ekholm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To trade or not to trade, that is the question for the Flyers. They need defensive help and Ekholm could be a good fit but adding him would mess up their expansion draft protection list for their blueliners.

Fletcher could be unwilling to part with assets if his club loses ground in the standings. If he does pursue a defenseman he could go the rental route with someone like Columbus’ David Savard.

The Bruins are competing with the Flyers for that final playoff berth in the East Division. It’s been a transition year on defense while core players like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are aging.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Don Sweeney must decide if his club’s window of opportunity for a Stanley Cup run remains open or has slammed shut. If it’s the latter, he might not make any significant moves here. Their primary need is secondary scoring but they have limited trade assets.

Seravalli considers the following clubs as “soft” buyers: Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Oilers need either a scoring left-winger or a second-pairing left-shot defenseman but they aren’t interested in rentals or moving draft picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could leave the Oilers looking at an affordable depth move rather than addressing those two issues. You’ve gotta give to get.

The Flames have sought an impact right-shot winger for some time but prices are expensive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported earlier this week the Flames weren’t willing to pay the Ducks’ high price for Rickard Rakell. GM Brad Treliving could end up seeking a more cost-effective option like Detroit’s Bobby Ryan.

The Capitals could be in the market for an experienced goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As an LTIR team they have no trade-deadline cap space available. GM Brian MacLellan recently indicated any move will be dollar-in, dollar-out.

Seravalli suggests Penguins GM Ron Hextall could look at bolstering his forward depth but he’s unwilling to part with futures.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall would like to add some toughness to his lineup. That’s usually affordable but costs a draft pick to do it.

The Blues might not need any acquisitions as sidelined players such as Jaden Schwartz, Colton Parayko and Robert Thomas come off injured reserve. Sniper Vladimir Tarasenko recently returned from injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Doug Armstrong will likely evaluate his roster as it gets healthier to determine if a move or two is necessary by the deadline.

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois recently pointed out his club has “literally zero cap space”. Sidelined winger Nikita Kucherov could also return to the lineup before the end of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t fully dismiss the possibility of BriseBois making a deadline move. However, I’d say the odds are against it this year unless he’s moving one lower-salaried player for another.

Seravalli considers the Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild, Dalla Stars, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers as “neutral trade deadline teams”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin talked about how his limited cap space and the two-week quarantine period for players acquired from American teams could hamper his efforts to add to his roster. That doesn’t mean he won’t be looking but he will have to get creative to make it work.

The Stars could end up as sellers if they don’t gain ground in the standings soon. Kings GM Rob Blake could make an addition but won’t waste assets on a rental player. Ditto the Blackhawks as GM Stan Bowman recently indicated. He’s interested in players with term on their contracts. He’s also reportedly willing to use his $22 million of LTIR space to take on a bad contract if he can also get draft picks and/or prospects with the deal.

The Panthers could make a move but they aren’t under pressure to do so as they jockey with the Lightning and Hurricanes for first place in the Discover Central Division. I also doubt Wild GM Bill Guerin is interested in rental players. I’d put the Rangers among the sellers if they fail to gain ground on the Bruins and Flyers in the East.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2021

The latest on the Leafs and Canadiens plus ongoing speculation about Mattias Ekholm, Rickard Rakell, Devan Dubnyk and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LEAFS AND CANADIENS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun cited the different approaches by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens toward the April 12 trade deadline. Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas is going all-in as the Leafs aim to add a forward. Meanwhile, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin indicated he might not do much owing to limited salary cap space and 14-day quarantine for players acquired from American-based teams. LeBrun also feels the Canadiens’ inconsistency thus far could affect whether Bergevin adds at the deadline.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (NHL.com).

The Leafs could pursue a rental player such as New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri or Columbus’ Nick Foligno or Nashville’s Mikael Granlund, or a hockey deal for a player with term on his contract like Nashville’s Filip Forsberg or Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell. Frank Seravalli also noted Dubas’ willingness to move a top prospect. He considers Rasmus Sandin as close to untouchable as possible unless Dubas can hit a home run at the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas told reporters yesterday he’d like to get a deal done sooner rather than closer to the trade deadline because of that 14-day quarantine period. He would like to add a rental player but didn’t rule out adding a player with term if the deal made sense. Darren Dreger considers Dubas’ willingness to move a top prospect falls in line with being open to moving a first-round pick if the trade made sense.

Adding a rental forward is probably the Leafs’ best bet in terms of cost. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman doesn’t think Rakell’s a fit. He observed the Anaheim Ducks’ asking price for Rakell is high, preferring younger players with a bit of NHL experience. He also said the Calgary Flames wouldn’t pay it. The Predators will also set a high ask for Forsberg.

Montreal GM Bergevin didn’t rule out making a move if it made sense but it’s clear it would have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap. Defenseman Ben Chiarot could be placed on long-term injury reserve thus giving the Habs around $3.5 million in cap relief. However, Bergevin expects he’ll return from his fractured hand by late-April, meaning the Canadiens would have to dump salary to become cap compliant.

Bergevin could make a move over the next couple of weeks if his club can string together some wins and improve their chances of securing a playoff spot. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels believes he’ll pursue a more affordable addition like Detroit’s Luke Glendening than Buffalo’s Eric Staal to shore up his depth at center.

Engels cites sources saying the Canadiens are interested in Glendening but they’ll have to move a player off their roster if they wish to have enough cap space to address their need for a left-side defenseman. He suggested a swap of forward Artturi Lehkonen for Glendening.

LATEST ON EKHOLM AND DUBNYK

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm “is the belle of the trading ball.” The Predators have made it clear they want a return similar to that the Leafs gave up two years ago to acquire Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings. That was a first-round pick, a second-rounder and a prospect.

Friedman believes the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets are among those interested in Ekholm. He’s doubtful the Philadelphia Flyers are in because they could be unwilling to pay the cost this year. The Leafs looked into it but they’re already deep on the left side of their blue line with Muzzin and Morgan Rielly. Friedman feels Ekholm would be a good fit with the Edmonton Oilers but he believes Oilers GM Ken Holland wants to build up his draft and prospect capital.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss doesn’t believe the Bruins should pursue Ekholm when their obvious priority is landing a top-six forward. He points out secondary scoring is their most glaring issue right now.

Eric Engels also mentioned the Canadiens as a suitor for Ekholm if they can find a way to shed a salary such as Tomas Tatar or Joel Armia. Based on Bergevin’s comments, however, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be pursuing the Predators’ defenseman.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes San Jose Sharks goalie Devan Dubnyk could be available by the trade deadline. Dubnyk has a 10-team no-trade list but LeBrun feels he’d waive it for the right contender and the right fit. The Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals come to mind as possible destinations. The Avs are in the market for a short-term replacement for sidelined backup Pavel Francouz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubnyk isn’t a full-time starter anymore but he has plenty of playoff experience and could be a worthwhile addition for playoff contenders in a backup role. Making the dollars fit, however, could be tricky. He carries a $4.33 million annual average value with over $1.9 million remaining to be paid.

MORE TRADE TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S “31 THOUGHTS

The Jets need one more defenseman. Ekholm or David Savard would be a good fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Savard might be the better one as they seem to have more of a need to address the right side.

The Ducks were asked about Max Jones but that’s a no-go. Friedman said we’ll see where things go with Troy Terry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman last Saturday said he’d heard Terry might welcome a change of scenery. However, The Athletic’s Eric Stephens subsequently cited a source saying that’s not the case.

The New Jersey Devils and Kyle Palmieri have started conversations about the pending UFA’s future. Friedman thinks the Bruins, New York Islanders and Leafs could be interested if Palmieri hits the trade block.

Friedman believes Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will consider almost anything heading toward the trade deadline. He feels Dylan Larkin, Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider aren’t going anywhere. There’s interest in pending UFA goalie Jonathan Bernier.

It could be difficult for the Vancouver Canucks to re-sign pending UFA winger Tanner Pearson with Thatcher Demko, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes due for new contracts as well.

The Colorado Avalanche is one of the teams seeking a Blake Coleman-type player.

The Chicago Blackhawks are in a position to absorb a contract or two for the right assets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Frank Seravalli also reported on this, pointing out they’ve got $22 million in LTIR cap space. They’re willing to take on a rival team’s bad contract if they can also get some good assets (draft picks, prospects) as part of the return.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 16, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 16, 2021

Check out the latest on the Predators, Canadiens, Islanders, Blackhawks, Jets and Capitals in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PREDATORS

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan reports Pekka Rinne wants to retire as a Nashville Predator. The 38-year-old goaltender is in the final year of his contract and could be in his final NHL season but the thought of joining a contender as a rental player hasn’t crossed his mind. He indicated as of last week there haven’t been any conversations with management regarding his future. He has a modified no-trade clause in which he submits 10 potential trade destinations before the start of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vingan also noted last month’s report by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicating the Predators prefer Rinne finish his career in Nashville. Even if the veteran goalie wanted to be traded his declining performance probably wouldn’t attract many suitors.

Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (NHL Images).

Speaking of Friedman and the Predators, he said yesterday on his “31 Thoughts” they sought a “Muzzin-like package” of two prospects and a first-round pick for Mattias Ekholm. He said the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets were in but received conflicting reports about the Montreal Canadiens’ interest (stick tap to “NHL Watcher”).

Friedman also questioned if the Toronto Maple Leafs would be in the Ekholm bidding as that would give them three lefties on their blueline with Jake Muzzin and Morgan Rielly. He also considered the Philadelphia Flyers as a wild card because of the effect it would have upon their expansion draft protection list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins, Jets and Canadiens have the cap space to acquire Ekholm. The Leafs can’t do it unless the Preds retain part of Ekholm’s cap hit. Even then, they might have to move out a player to clear sufficient cap space. The Flyers won’t be the only club concerned about how acquiring Ekholm could affect their expansion protection lists.

CANADIENS

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu noted the Canadiens could get some salary-cap relief to pursue a player at the trade deadline by placing sidelined defenseman Ben Chiarot on long-term injury reserve. The problem, however, is uncertainty over how long he’ll be sidelined. He’s listed as out six-to-eight weeks. If it’s the former he’d return before the end of the season, meaning the Habs would have to clear cap space for his return. If it’s the latter, he’d return after the regular season ends on May 8.

TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie suggests Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Gudbranson could be a good trade target for the Canadiens. He wouldn’t have to be quarantined for 14 days and would bring a measure of toughness and shot-blocking to their roster, “and he speaks French very, very well.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A player who speaks French very, very well is the last thing the Canadiens should look at if they’re trying to bolster their roster. Gudbranson is a right-side blueliner skating on the Senators’ third defense pairing. The Habs need help on the left side of their top-four pairings, hence the rumors linking them to Ekholm.

ISLANDERS

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple listed Buffalo’s Taylor Hall, New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri and Columbus’ Nick Foligno among the pending UFA forwards of his suggested trade targets for the New York Islanders to replace sidelined captain Anders Lee. The Isles recently place Lee on long-term injury reserve, allowing them to exceed the salary cap by the equivalent of his $7 million annual average value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello will take his time to consider his options before the April 12 trade deadline. It helps that his club is currently the hottest team in the league and jockeying with the Florida Panthers for the lead in the overall standings. He could pursue a rental forward to replace Lee or consider a more affordable option and look at adding a veteran defenseman.

Staple also included some players with term left on their contracts like Nashville’s Filip Forsberg and Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell. However, I think the asking prices for those players will be more expensive than for rental forwards.

BLACKHAWKS

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope listed 10 players the Blackhawks could target if they wished to use their LTIR space. They could afford to take on another $21 million in LTIR space for this season and still have quite a bit of space for next season too.

Pope suggested using some of that space to take on another team’s bad contract and get some draft picks and prospects in the deal. His suggested targets include Vancouver’s Loui Eriksson, the Islanders’ Andrew Ladd, Edmonton’s James Neal or Carolina’s Jake Gardiner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks are exceeding expectations this season by hanging on for a playoff spot in the Discover Central Division. GM Stan Bowman could have room to take up Pope’s suggestion and have enough to acquire an affordable depth rental player. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with that LTIR space.

JETS

SPORTSNET: Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t ruling out making another trade this season if the fit and the dollars are right. In January he shipped Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to Columbus for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent conjecture linked the Jets to Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Columbus’ David Savard and Vancouver’s Travis Hamonic. One of them could be coming to Winnipeg in the near future. Hamonic said he’d like to stay with the Canucks but that could depend on where that club sits in the standings by deadline day. He’s slated to become a UFA this summer.

CAPITALS

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir reports the Washington Capitals are doing due diligence in case the opportunity arises between now and the April 12 trade deadline to add a goaltender in a dollar-in, dollar-out trade. They have no projected trade deadline cap space because they’ve already allocated the relief it gained from placing Henrik Lundqvist and Michael Kempny on LTIR.










Blue Jackets, Ducks Could Soon Become NHL Sellers

Blue Jackets, Ducks Could Soon Become NHL Sellers

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 14, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 14, 2021

The latest on Mattias Ekholm, Rickard Rakell and Elvis Merzlikins plus updates on the Stars, Islanders and more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun on Friday suggested some trade fits for six playoff contenders. Among his proposals were Nashville Predators defenseman Mattia Ekholm to the Boston Bruins or Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames backup David Rittich to the Washington Capitals if the Flames fall out of playoff contention by the April 12 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm would be a good fit with the Bruins as they need an experienced left-side defenseman but their anemic secondary scoring is their priority. LeBrun’s colleague Murat Ates believes Columbus’ David Savard would be the ideal addition in Winnipeg but Ekholm would do if Savard isn’t obtainable.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell (NHL Images).

Rakell has a year left on his contract with a $3.79 million cap hit. LeBrun suggests he’d be a worthwhile replacement for Zach Hyman if the Leafs fail to re-sign him. I agree with LeBrun that he’d be a step up talent-wise over the Predators Mikael Granlund, who’s been linked to Toronto for some time. Granlund wouldn’t cost as many assets as Rakell but the latter would be a better option if the Leafs are all-in this year.

Rittich is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. If the Flames falter then he could become expendable at the deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple believes the New York Islanders could seek a top-six forward such as Buffalo’s Taylor Hall or New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri if captain Anders Lee remains sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Placing Lee ($7 million annual average value) on long-term injury reserve would provide some salary-cap relief to make a significant addition if they wish. More affordable rental options could include Mikael Granlund, Columbus’ Nick Foligno or Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know how long Lee will be out or which players the notoriously secretive Lou Lamoriello might pursue. Nevertheless, the Isles GM could be active in the trade market if Lee is out until the playoffs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Matthew DeFranks speculated the Stars would become sellers if they don’t improve over the next two-to-three weeks. The most obvious trade candidates are players on expiring contracts such as Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau and Jamie Oleksiak. He doubts they’ll fetch much, “maybe a mid-round pick”.

DeFranks also wondered if the Stars would trade Anton Khudobin rather than risk losing the goaltender to the Seattle Kraken in this summer’s expansion draft. He also mused about trading John Klingberg. While the defenseman would fetch “a sizeable package of picks and prospects,” it would also significantly hurt the Stars’ chances of chasing the Stanley Cup in the final (somewhat) productive years of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, Joe Pavelski and Ben Bishop.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Stars moving Klingberg at the trade deadline but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Khudobin trade for the right offer. However, they could wait until the offseason and shop him before the expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell took note of colleagues Craig Custance and Eric Duhatschek recently adding Elvis Merzlikins to their trade deadline board. He pondered the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers pursuing the Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender, suggesting a package involving Mikko Koskinen and defenseman Caleb Jones.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets could consider moving Merzlikins for the right price but I don’t think they’re in any rush to do so. He won’t become eligible for UFA status until next summer so they’ve got plenty of time to field offers if they want to go that route.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman report Anaheim Ducks forward Troy Terry “might be up for a change of scenery.” He said he’s hearing conversations about whether or not he might be moved.