NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2024
Could the Ducks trade Trevor Zegras? Will the Senators shop Jakob Chychrun? Could Penguins winger Jake Guentzel hit the trade block? What’s the latest on Sharks forwards Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli updated his NHL Trade Targets list on Tuesday, adding several notable new names.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the entire list by following the link. I’m not including everyone as most of the names, such as Calgary’s Elias Lindholm, Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin, have already frequently appeared in the rumor mill this season and will likely continue to do so leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. Today, I’m more interested in the new players on Seravalli’s list.
In the wake of the Anaheim Ducks shipping Jamie Drysdale to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday for Cutter Gauthier, Seravalli wondered if Trevor Zegras could be next. He noted that Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has put together a solid prospect base with Gauthier, Leo Carlsson, Mason McTavish, Pavel Mintyukov and Lukas Dostal.
Seravalli had Zegras sitting at No. 4 on his list. He cited sources claiming Verbeek mentioned Zegras in trade discussions this season though it’s unclear how far those talks went. He thinks the 22-year-old center doesn’t mesh with the style of play Verbeek envisions for the Ducks, citing their tough contract talks that saw Zegras miss training camp.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger last night indicated Zegras isn’t being shopped but there had been some level of interest in the young forward. He believes the Ducks will continue to work on improving Zegras’ overall game but suggested this situation could come to a head in the offseason.
Ottawa Senators defenseman Jakob Chychrun sits at No. 10. Less than a year after being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes, Seravalli reports teams have expressed an interest in the 25-year-old defenseman and the Senators haven’t told them that he’s not available. They have a log jam in left-shot defensemen with Chychrun, Thomas Chabot and Jake Sanderson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun was acquired by former Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. New GM Steve Staios isn’t beholden to any players acquired by his predecessor. He may not be shopping Chychrun but, understandably, he’s willing to at least listen to offers. Despite the Senators’ struggles this season, however, there’s no indication that he wants out of Ottawa.
St. Louis Blues center Kevin Hayes checks in at No. 15. Seravalli believes his improved play could make him enticing in the trade market if the Blues would retain half of the $3.57 million of his $7.14 million cap hit that they’re carrying. He could fetch a decent return from a playoff contender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are still in the chase for a Western Conference wild-card berth. I daresay they’ll hang onto Hayes if they’re in a playoff spot by March 8. He’s still carrying a 12-team no-trade clause which could complicate things.
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov is at No. 20. If Joseph Woll regains his early-season form on his return from an ankle injury, the Leafs could move Samsonov to another club that thinks he can reboot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, I suppose, but the fact Samsonov recently cleared waivers says all we need to know about his potential trade value. No NHL club will touch him unless his performance improves or the Leafs add a lot of sweeteners in the deal.
Sitting at No. 25 is Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Seravalli said the 29-year-old pending free-agent left winger isn’t in play yet with the Penguins having clawed their way back into the wild-card race in the Eastern Conference. If they fall out of the chase, however, Guentzel might become available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel’s situation could be worth monitoring if the Penguins stumble. As Seravalli pointed out, he could become the most prized rental player in the trade market by March 8.
LATEST ON HERTL AND COUTURE
He spoke with Hertl yesterday following the Sharks’ morning skate and he’s focused on helping his team and being a good leader rather than on the trade deadline. Couture, meanwhile, is centered more on returning from an injury than the trade deadline.
LeBrun noted that Hertl has a full no-movement clause. Couture has three more years left on his contract but LeBrun believes he’s the type of leadership player that could have a few teams calling about.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also addressed Hertl and Couture in his column with The Athletic, suggesting any conversation about their futures is more likely to occur in the summer. They’re both carrying term on expensive contracts with no-trade protection. Moving those types of players rarely takes place leading up to the trade deadline.
UPDATES ON THE FLYERS
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Philadelphia Flyers are hoping to get more interest in defensemen Sean Walker and Nick Seeler. They’re still willing to retain 50 percent of their average annual values.
Bailey noted that Walker has been the subject of trade speculation for some time. He pointed out that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicated Rasmus Ristolainen is a target of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also cited a recent report by Friedman indicating that at least one team attempted to acquire Walker and Seeler.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Daniel Briere remains focused on his rebuilding plans despite his club being in the thick of the playoff chase. Adding Drysdale could make it easier for him to part with Walker or Seeler. Both carry affordable cap hits and if the Flyers are willing to retain half it could make them easier to peddle.
As for Ristolainen, the only way I see him moving is if the Flyers retain half of his $5.1 million AAV through 2027 or they get a player with an equivalent cap hit in return. Otherwise, that’s a move they try to make in the offseason.