NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2017
Latest on the Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger’s appearance yesterday on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 discussing the status of Edmonton Oilers’ forwards Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot. Eberle’s fallen down the OIlers’ depth chart, while Pouliot’s inconsistency remains an issue.
Dreger noted Eberle’s been the subject of trade speculation over the last couple of years. While the asking price was always high, perhaps his recent decline could change that. However, Dreger feels that doesn’t mean the Oilers are willing to trade him unless the value is there.
As for Pouliot, Dreger said he checked into his status about six weeks ago. Back then, the Oilers were willing to be patient as they liked his upside. Given the lack of improvement in his play, perhaps their opinion has changed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers are willing to move Eberle or Pouliot, their respective contracts are significant stumbling blocks. Eberle is earning $6 million per season, Pouliot $4 million annually. The opinion among some observers regarding the latter’s trade value is they doubt the Oilers can even give him away at this point. I don’t think the Oilers are ready to give up on Eberle yet, though if there’s a suitable market for his services, I think they’ll listen to offers.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was expected to talk trade with his fellow GMs in Montreal to follow the World Junior Hockey Championships. Dorion’s been “kicking the tires” in search of forward depth, though nothing is imminent.
Garrioch claims that, at this point, only the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche are in the selling mode. He said the Coyotes “would like to move forwards Anthony Duclair and unrestricted free agent winger Martin Hanzal while the Avalanche is pretty much willing to talk about anybody but Nathan MacKinnon. The names of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog have both been at the forefront.” It’s also possible the eventual return of left wing Clarke MacArthur could provide a boost without having to part with assets.
In a follow-up piece, Dorion tells Garrioch he’s spoken with six or seven GMs since Dec. 28. While he thinks trade talks are starting to heat up, it’s still very difficult right now to make a move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As of Jan. 5, the Sens were in the bottom third in goals-for per game (2.46), so I’d say landing a top-six winger is likely Dorion’s priority. Garrioch isn’t saying if Dorion’s after the Coyotes’ Duclair or Hanzal or the Avs’ Duchene or Landeskog.
It’s worth remembering, however, that there was a rumor in November 2015 claiming the Avs and Sens discussed Duchene. If Dorion’s thinking of going that route, it’ll cost him a good young defenseman or a top blueliner prospect as part of the return.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on Twitter Wednesday that the New York Rangers remain in the hunt for a top-four defenseman, but it’s a tough market as many teams seek the same thing.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Dreger’s Wednesday appearance on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 that Florida Panthers president of hockey operations Dale Tallon has taken on a more active day-to-day role. He claims Tallon is “beating the bushes” in hopes of finding help for his team. There’s no indication as to what sort of help he’s seeking.
Nichols also cited Dreger’s recent appearance on NBCSN talking about Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s plans for his struggling club. Dreger claims Holland intends to “stay the course” for the time being. If they fall further out of playoff contention by February, Dreger speculates players on expiring contracts, such as Drew Miller, Steve Ott, Thomas Vanek and Brendan Smith, could be shopped.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a strong surge by the Wings over the next month, I think they’re likely to be sellers leading up to the March 1 trade deadline.
Nichols cites Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun speculating with Vancouver’s TSN 1040 that Canucks GM Jim Benning could be unwilling to sacrifice futures to bolster his club’s chances of reaching the playoffs this season. LeBrun doesn’t think it’s a good idea to chase a rental player, as it won’t help the Canucks go deep into the playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Benning could keep an eye on the trade market leading up to the March 1 deadline if the Canucks are still in the hunt. However, I don’t see him sacrificing a quality prospect or a high draft pick. Unless he can get a decent player at a bargain price, he’ll likely stay out of the market.