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 Team USA Olympic hockey players Brian Gionta and James Wisniewski, Chicago Blackhawks prospect Dylan Sikura, and Nikita Soshnikov of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
U.S. Olympic Hockey Stars to Sign in the NHL
Analysis: Trade deadline rental prices are reportedly sky-high this year. The Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers are reportedly asking for huge returns for Evander Kane and Rick Nash, with Pierre Lebrun indicating earlier that ask for Kane included four pieces. For teams that are uncomfortable with that price, Gionta could be a cheaper option. He’s not a clear top-six piece like Kane or Nash but could add some experience, and depth scoring. Gionta had 15 goals and 35 points last season. He can still play in the NHL.
Meanwhile, Wisniewski is a power play specialist from the point. For teams that are balking at the asking price for Mike Green, he could be a cheaper alternative. While he does not bring the same five on five play that Green does, he can help a power play. Wisniewski had 51 points in 2013-14 and 34 points in 2014-15. Injuries have hurt him and cost him time over the last couple of seasons, but he’s shown that he’s healthy and productive in the German league. He could be a low-risk gamble that wouldn’t cost any assets.
While Gionta can sign with a team and play immediately, Wisniewski would need to clear waivers before he could join an NHL club.
Rumour: According to Scott Powers of the Athletic, Dylan Sikura could bolt from the Blackhawks and take a route to unrestricted free agency when his college season ends. If he doesn’t sign with the Blackhawks, he would become an unrestricted free agent on August 15th.
Analysis: Sikura is one of the top players in college hockey. He has put up 39 points in just 26 games for Northeastern University. We’ve seen other players go down this route, whether it’s Jimmy Vesey, Justin Schultz, or Mike Reilly. With the success of last year’s crop in Alexander Kerfoot and Will Butcher there is no doubt that Sikura will be a highly-sought after commodity if he becomes a free agent on August 15th.
Rumour: Nikita Soshnikov remains on the Leafs injured reserve list despite playing all three games for the Toronto Marlies during a recent conditioning stint. The Leafs would need to waive him to send him back to the Marlies, or would need to remove another player from the 23-man roster to add him to the NHL club. The Leafs are also at the 50-contract limit.
Analysis: Something has to give for the Leafs. Whether its a trade of Josh Leivo, Matt Martin, Leo Komarov, or Soshnikov; one of the abundance of fourth liners will likely be leaving the organization prior to the trade deadline.