The NHL trade deadline is inching closer and closer, and with that, the trade talk is heating up. We take a look at some of the latest NHL rumours and analyze what they mean going forward. Today we look into the latest on Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, Montreal Canadiens centre Tomas Plekanec, and Buffalo Sabres centre Ryan O’Reilly.
Mike Green, Tomas Plekanec, Ryan O’Reilly In Today’s NHL Rumours
Rumour: On TSN’s Insider Trading, Bob McKenzie reports that the Detroit Red Wings are looking at last year’s trades of Kevin Shattenkirk, and Brendan Smith to set the market on Mike Green. Shattenkirk got the St. Louis Blues a first-round pick, and a forward prospect in Zachary Sanford, while Red Wings got a second and third-round pick for Smith. They are looking for something between those two deals.
Analysis: Green is clearly the best rental defenceman on the market. He has been strong on the power play throughout his career, and could certainly boost a team on special teams. While he is not the best defensive defender, he is better than often given credit for. Green takes top pairing minutes in Detroit, but would likely do better on the second pair of a contender. The Tampa Bay Lightning are clearly looking for an upgrade on the blue line, and Green is a clear option. Other teams that could also use Green include the Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New York Islanders.
Rumour: Pierre Lebrun reports on TSN690 reports that the Pittsburgh Penguins have enquired about Montreal Canadiens centre Tomas Plekanec. One sticking point is Plekanec’s cap hit, which is $6 million this season.
Analysis: The Penguins have been looking for a third-line centre ever since losing Nick Bonino in free agency last summer. They traded for Riley Sheahan earlier in the year, while he is good in the face-off circle and on the penalty kill, he has not really filled the third line role. Plekanec’s offence is down, but he does still have 20 points. More importantly, his defensive game is still top-notch and would even be an upgrade on Sheahan. The Canadiens could retain up to 50% of Plekanec’s contract to get a deal done. That and the fact the Penguins would only need to fit a pro-rated portion of the contract under their cap should make this deal doable. Expect negotiations to continue up to the trade deadline.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman reported on Sportsnet that teams are calling about Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres. However, Friedman indicates that the Sabres are unlikely to deal the centre, who they have under contract long-term and for big money.
Analysis: Sabres general manager Jason Botterill comes from Pittsburgh, where strength up the middle was key to winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. He has Jack Eichel on his first line and a top prospect in Casey Mittelstadt. O’Reilly’s experience and two-way play would be valuable as a role model for Eichel, and Mittelstadt. In addition, building his team around three strong centres would be Botterill bringing his Penguins experience to Buffalo. Expect the Sabres to be sellers. They will certainly trade Evander Kane and other moves are being explored, but it would be surprising to see O’Reilly leave Buffalo.
Main Photo: OTTAWA, ON – APRIL 04: Detroit Red Wings Defenceman Mike Green (25) waits for the faceoff during first period National Hockey League action between the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators on April 4, 2017, at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)