NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2022
NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2022
Could the Capitals be interested in Canucks captain Bo Horvat or Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson? Should the Penguins make a move for a third-line forward? What’s the latest on the Flames? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if the Capitals might pursue Bo Horvat if sidelined center Nicklas Backstrom’s playing career is over.
Friedman noted that the Vancouver Canucks center is a shooter rather than a passer like Backstrom. The Capitals already have a shooter in captain Alex Ovechkin.
SPORTSNET (via NHL WATCHER): During the latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman suggested the Capitals as a possible destination for Erik Karlsson if the San Jose Sharks defenseman would agree to a trade.
Friedman observed the Capitals only have one defenseman under contract for 2023-24. He also suggested the Florida Panthers as a destination as they’ll have money coming off their salary-cap payroll next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the week, Silber speculated Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan might want to consider making a trade to bolster his struggling lineup while they’re still in playoff contention with the season still young. She noted recent rumors linking the Capitals to the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators.
Acquiring someone like Horvat or Karlsson will be costly. Silber recently wondered at what point the Capitals would consider trading struggling sophomore center Connor McMichael. I think he’d almost certainly have to be part of a package for an impact player such as Horvat or Karlsson.
Whether such a deal can be made, however, is another story. The Capitals could lack sufficient tradeable assets to pry either guy away from their current teams.
SHOULD THE PENGUINS MAKE A MOVE OR TWO?
THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi suggested two moves the Pittsburgh Penguins could make to snap them out of their current rut.
One is placing Kasperi Kapanen on waivers due to his disappointing performance. Rossi doubted anyone would claim the underachieving winger’s contract and believes he should be sent to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton once he clears waivers.
Rossi also believes the Penguins must find a role player with an edge for their third line. He suggested making a move for Nashville Predators winger Tanner Jeannot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Rossi’s take on Kapanen. He’s been in and out of the lineup of late and hasn’t contributed when he is playing. He could become a distraction for their farm team if he’s unhappy with demotion but, as Rossi suggests, the Penguins must be confident enough in their AHL coaching staff to handle the situation.
Adding a gritty role player like Jeannot is a good idea but I don’t believe the Predators are keen to part with him, at least not yet. The positives he could bring to the Penguins could also make him valuable to their current club. Perhaps that might change if the Preds fail to rise in the standings. For now, if the Penguins are in the market for such a forward they might have to consider other options.
UPDATE ON THE FLAMES
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane wonders if Adam Ruzicka’s recent promotion to the Flames’ top line might take them out of the trade market for a scoring forward. The 23-year-old winger has played well in that role thus far after being a healthy scratch in 10 of the Flames’ first 11 games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macfarlane admits we’ve only seen a small sample size of Ruzicka’s play on the top line thus far. In the five games since his promotion, however, he has two goals and five points. If Ruzicka can maintain that chemistry with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli, it would take the pressure off management to shop around for another scorer.