NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2021

Matt Dumba wants to remain with the Wild plus updates on Jack Roslovic and Paul Byron in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Matt Dumba was fully aware of the trade rumors swirling about him. Nevertheless, the 26-year-old Minnesota Wild defenseman informed general manager Bill Guerin he doesn’t want to be moved. “This is where I want to be,” said Dumba. “I don’t want to move nowhere.”

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (NHL Images)

Guerin reportedly entertained trade offers for Dumba during the offseason, presumably for a first-line center. The blueliner understood that, saying Guerin wouldn’t be doing his job if he wasn’t listening to offers.

Muzitani suggests Dumba could make himself too invaluable to trade if he returns to the form he displayed two seasons ago. The blueliner was on pace for a 30-goal performance when he suffered a season-ending pectoral tear. Dumba struggled through last season, though his game improved over the course of the schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba could be the best trade chip the Wild have to land an established No.1 center. Guerin could seriously consider moving him if a rival team makes a suitable pitch.

Dumba’s also the only member of the Wild’s top-four blueliners lacking a no-movement clause. He could be selected by the Seattle Kraken in this summer’s expansion draft if Guerin opts to protect just three defensemen. That scenario will ensure the Dumba trade rumors keep simmering throughout this season.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre examines why some young players have struggled to fit in with the Winnipeg Jets and ended up traded. One factor is the Jets have boxed themselves in financially by signing many of their players to expansive, long-term contracts that can come back to bite them. Another is their roles within the Jets’ lineup.

McIntyre ties those factors to the current contract standoff between the Jets and Jack Roslovic. The restricted free agent has reportedly requested a trade and is home in Columbus. He’s also out of sight and out of mind among his teammates and coaches as his roster spot has been taken over by Mason Appleton. Roslovic’s agent, Claude Lemieux, has also gone silent of late.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McIntyre observes the Jets have the financial flexibility to sign Roslovic with Dustin Byfuglien off their books and Bryan Little slated for long-term injury reserve. The main issue here is his unhappiness over his role with the Jets. McIntyre notes Roslovic sees himself earning top-six minutes as a center but has been relegated to checking-line winger duties.

Roslovic completed his entry-level contract and has little leverage except to stay home and hope for a trade. Once this season begins, Roslovic has until Feb. 11 to sign with the Jets (or another club if traded) or become ineligible to play this season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports there have been rumors of Paul Byron being traded with the Canadiens up against the $81.5 million salary cap. The 31-year-old forward is entering the second year of a four-year, $13.6 million contract. Byron claims he doesn’t listen to trade rumors and is focused on the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byron could remain the subject of trade chatter as promising youngsters make their way into the Canadiens’ lineup. However, it’s unlikely he’ll be shopped given the value of his experience and leadership. They’ll employ some other salary-cap gymnastics to become cap compliant when their season opens this week.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2021

The latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois, Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger reports Pierre-Luc Dubois’ apparent trade request is dominating the start of Columbus Blue Jackets’ training camp. Despite signing a two-year contract last week, the 22-year-old center reportedly wants a change of scenery.

Trade speculation continues to swirl about Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen addressed the rumors yesterday, saying GMs talk about trades all the time, rumors start from there and it’s just part of the business. He also said the familiar line that if Wayne Gretzky could be traded, anybody could be traded.

Hedger felt Kekalainen, Dubois, and head coach John Tortorella’s remarks during yesterday’s press availability essentially confirmed the rumors without confirming them. Tortorella said things would be handled internally within the dressing room similar to how they addressed the final seasons with Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky.

What’s in my head’s in my head,” said Dubois. He stressed he’ll be a good teammate as well as the best player and person he can be.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline also reported on the comments made by Kekalainen, Dubois and Tortorella. He felt the Jackets GM doesn’t appear to have any urgency to trade his first-line center.

Portzline also noted the occasional clashes between Dubois and Tortorella, including a well-publicized one on the bench during a game in last summer’s qualifying-round series against Toronto. However, that’s no indication their relationship is untenable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: From a contract standpoint, Kekalainen doesn’t have to hurry to move Dubois. The young center becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in the summer of 2022. As long as he performs well and maintains a good relationship with his teammates, the Jackets GM can take his time and see if the youngster changes his mind regarding his trade request.

Nevertheless, this is an unwelcome distraction for a club trying to build toward Stanley Cup contender status. Things could go downhill quickly if Dubois struggles or his relationship sours with Kekalainen, Tortorella or his teammates.

Kekalainen might not be in a rush to move Dubois but that doesn’t mean he won’t entertain offers. A suitable pitch, such as a one-for-one swap for another center or a package of picks and prospects that could be used to pry away a quality center from another club in a separate deal, could tempt him to move Dubois.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre reports the Jets have told the media Patrik Laine is off-limits until later in camp for undisclosed reasons. The 22-year-old winger has become a hot topic for trade rumors after his agent suggested last fall it would be mutually beneficial to his client and the Jets if a trade could be arranged.

Accusing the Jets of slapping a gag order on Laine, McIntyre wonders if the club is worried about what the winger might say or if he doesn’t want to talk to the press. He feels it puts Laine’s teammates in the awkward position of having to address the questions about his future with the Jets.

McIntyre wonders if Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff might contact Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen to discuss swapping Laine for Pierre-Luc Dubois. “Maybe throw in (Jack) Roslovic, to play for his hometown team, and call it a day.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McIntyre admits he’s merely playing armchair GM with that trade suggestion. However, he’s not wrong in his view that the Jets should put Laine front and center to speak for himself and address the speculation. Like Dubois in Columbus, the questions about Laine’s status in Winnipeg ensures he’ll remain a fixture in the rumor mill during this season.

Speaking of Roslovic, Anthony Scultore of The Daily Goal Horn said he spoke with agent Claude Lemieux regarding his client’s situation. Lemieux seemed confident the 23-year-old center will be traded but where remains to be seen.

Scultore said he was told at least half-a-dozen teams expressed interest in Roslovic, suggesting the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild among the possible destinations.










Eichel, Zibanejad among NHL stars already sidelined

Eichel, Zibanejad among NHL stars already sidelined

 










NHL Rumor Mill – January 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 2, 2021

The latest on Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic and Matt Dumba in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The trade status of Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic is among Mike McIntyre’s 10 key storylines for the Winnipeg Jets entering training camp.

Is Patrik Laine here to stay, at least for this season? Will Jack Roslovic’s trade wish be granted or will the restricted free agent ultimately be re-signed?”, asked McIntyre. Their statuses are contributing to what McIntyre called “an air of uncertainty hanging over the team.”

Will the Winnipeg Jets grant Jack Roslovic’s trade wish? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer the uncertainty over the futures of Laine and Roslovic, the greater the risk it becomes an unwelcome distraction for the team during the season.

Roslovic’s situation could be resolved first. He’s an RFA whose apparent unhappiness with his role in Winnipeg has bubbled over recently into the media. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s moved before the regular season opens on Jan.13. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will probably want a quality asset in return, like a defenseman who can help the Jets blueline right away.

Laine is under contract for the coming season. While his agent floated the notion of a trade during the offseason, there aren’t any reports of the winger pushing the issue. It seems like his camp and Jets management could take a wait-and-see approach this season.

TWINCITIES.COM: Addressing the No. 1 center position is among Dane Mizutani’s five storylines worth watching as the Minnesota Wild begin training camp on Sunday.

It appears offseason acquisition Marcus Johansson will be their first-line center because there are no other suitable options. Wild GM Bill Guerin gave Johansson a big vote of confidence but the 30-year-old forward struggled at the center position in the past.

Shopping defenseman Matt Dumba could be among the options if the issue needs to be addressed this season. Mizutani pointed out Guerin dangled Dumba as trade bait in the past and he has proven unafraid to pull the trigger on trades he feels will help the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin indicated in November he’s prepared to start this season with Dumba in the lineup. However, he didn’t state the 26-year-old blueliner was untouchable.

Trade speculation dogged Dumba through most of last season. Of the Wild’s top four defensemen, he’s the only one lacking a no-movement clause, meaning Guerin could be forced to expose him in this summer’s expansion draft if he opts to protect just three blueliners.

That issue alone could ensure Dumba remains a topic for media trade chatter, which will only intensify if Johansson can’t get the job done as their first-line center.










Jets, Blackhawks and Bruins Prominent in Year-End NHL Rumor Roundup

Jets, Blackhawks and Bruins Prominent in Year-End NHL Rumor Roundup

 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2020

In today’s NHL rumor mill,  the reason behind Winnipeg Jets forward Jack Roslovic’s trade request, an update on teammate Patrik Laine, and what the Blackhawks might do with Jonathan Toews sidelined.

ROSLOVIC’S TRADE REQUEST

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre reports the reason behind Winnipeg Jets forward Jack Roslovic’s trade request is an “obvious difference of opinion” when it comes to his role and ultimate value.

Jack Roslovic requests a trade from the Winnipeg Jets (NHL Images).

Roslovic sees himself as a natural center who should be playing on one of the Jets’ top-two lines. However, those spots are already filled with Mark Scheifele and Paul Stastny, along with Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers on the wings. He’s instead been used in a checking-line role with Adam Lowry and Andrew Copp.

The fact Roslovic is staying put in Columbus indicates the restricted free agent is no closer to a new contract with the Jets. McIntyre said it’s no secret Roslovic wants a change of scenery. The Jets have explored trade possibilities but general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has yet to make a move.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen believes Roslovic has limited leverage in his contract talks coming off his entry-level deal. He also has less bargaining power than Laine and Connor last year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As McIntyre observes, the only way Roslovic can participate in the start of training camp on Sunday is if he’s traded to an American club. If he returns to the Jets, he’ll have to undergo a seven-day quarantine and four negative COVID tests.

Roslovic frequently surfaced in trade speculation during the offseason. It’s been suggested he could be used as trade bait to bring in a top-four defenseman but Cheveldayoff might have to package him with a draft pick or prospect to land that type of return.

Cheveldayoff could simply wait out Roslovic as he did with Jacob Trouba four years ago. However, the shortened season, the travel difficulties brought about by COVID-19 and the Jets’ glaring need for blueline depth could soon see the young forward suiting up with another NHL club.

WHAT ABOUT LAINE?

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Speaking of the Jets, Mike McIntyre also reports Patrik Laine will have to address the trade request made by his agent in October with his teammates and the media. However, Cheveldoff doesn’t think it will be a distraction. The Jets GM expects the 22-year-winger will have one of the best seasons of his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It might not be a distraction for the Jets, but Laine’s future will be among the hot topics in this season’s rumor mill. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer and is expected to seek a substantial raise over his current $6.75 million annual average value.

Cheveldayoff doesn’t have to trade Laine this season and certainly doesn’t have to rush into anything. However, unless the winger agrees to a new contract during the season, his status will remain a question that dogs the Jets throughout the coming season and into next summer.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLACKHAWKS?

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell believes Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman must address some serious questions with team captain Jonathan Toews sidelined indefinitely by a mysterious illness. With Kirby Dach and Alex Nylander also out for months, they have limited depth at center entering this season.

While the Blackhawks have salary-cap space to find a center to replace Toews (especially if he’s placed on long-term injury reserve), Campbell doubts they will. If his career is in jeopardy, Campbell wonders if that might spur a complete tear-down of the roster, including seeking trade options for Patrick Kane.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus believes the Blackhawks are going to be awful this season. He encourages the club’s fans to accept it. His suggested blueprint for this season is to play a lot of young players, lose a lot of games, get a top draft pick and turn the page to 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks really don’t have much choice. This was a roster that was already in transition before Toews, Dach and Nylander went down. Even with those three in the lineup, the Hawks’ weak goaltending and retooling blueline made reaching the playoffs a long shot this season.

Kane would fetch a strong return but I don’t expect Bowman will ask the long-time Blackhawks winger if he’ll accept a trade during this season. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks GM will probably be a seller by the Apr. 12 trade deadline. Likely trade candidates could be pending UFAs like Carl Soderberg and Mattias Janmark or players like Calvin de Haan or Connor Murphy with a year left on their contracts.