Rumors, we all love to read about them. There is truly very little that is more exciting in the world of sports then speculating trades, free agent destinations, and possible coach firings. In this segment, we will look at the hottest NHL rumors each week made by the most reputable people in the business.
NHL Rumors: Kris Letang, John Tavares, & Anthony Duclair
Kris Letang on the Move?
The Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves in a unique scenario with the opportunity to win their third consecutive Stanley Cup. With an 18-16-3 record through 37 games, it is uncertain where Pittsburgh will finish in the standings. Of course, many assume they will make the postseason. There is still the possibility the strong competition in the Metropolitan Division will keep them out of the playoffs.
NHL insiders are coming out and saying they would not be surprised if the Penguins make a significant move soon. During Saturday Headlines on Hockey Night in Canada, Nick Kypreos mentioned that one name he continues to hear is Kris Letang. The 30-year-old defenseman has been off to a rough start this season. In addition, he brings with him a hefty cap hit of $7.25M until the summer of 2022. The Penguins would love to shed some cap space and get some valuable assets in return. In the same segment, Elliotte Friedman stated that he expects the return for Letang to look something like two forwards.
Friedman elaborated more on Letang in this week’s 31 Thoughts, questioning whether dealing him in-season would be too complicated. If the Penguins were to deal Letang in the middle of the season, Friedman stated that the Montreal Canadiens would be obvious candidates. In addition, he added the Detroit Red Wings who are in obvious need of top-notch defensemen.
In reality, the Penguins would not be doomed if they parted ways with Letang. They did win a Stanley Cup without him last year. However, teams might not be chomping at the bit to take on the contract of the veteran blueliner. A $7.25M cap hit is a lot to commit to a player that struggles to stay healthy.
Still, it would not be shocking to see Montreal take a stab at him. Friedman believes the Canadiens are on Letang’s list of teams he can be traded to and the Habs could provide Pittsburgh with some forward assistance. Detroit, on the other hand, is a less realistic scenario. The Red Wings need to rid themselves of bad contracts, not take on more.
The Future of John Tavares
With the New York Islanders heading to Belmont, many expected the news of John Tavares being re-signed to shortly follow. However, that has not been the case. In the same segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Kypreos mentioned that there have been little to no talks taking place regarding Tavares’s new contract. It appears as though Tavares may want to wait to make the decision on his future until the summer.
To be honest, this is not incredibly surprising. The Islanders are having a good year and are in contention for a playoff spot. It could be that Tavares just wants to focus on the task at hand and see how far his team can go. Wanting to wait until the summer to make a decision regarding his next contract does not mean he is leaving the Islanders. New York has a lot of promise to offer their star player and the fact they are moving back to Long Island should help convince him to stick around.
Arizona Coyotes Shopping Anthony Duclair?
In this weeks 31 Thoughts, Friedman also touched on the Arizona Coyotes looking to find Anthony Duclair a “fresh start”. He believes someone will be willing to take a shot on the 22-year-old.
There would be little risk for a team if they were to acquire Duclair. He is a restricted free agent after this season and did have a 20-goal season in 2015-16. If he can’t turn the corner, you simply let him walk over the summer.