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 Edmonton Oilers forwards Patrick Maroon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins; Detroit Red Wings forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar and Florida Panthers winger Radim Vrbata.
NHL Rumour Mill
Rumour: On TSN’s Insider Trading, Pierre Lebrun suggests that the Edmonton Oilers are asking for a low first-round pick or a top prospect for Patrick Maroon. Lebrun suggests that the Oilers are more interested in an NHL ready prospect. Darren Dreger suggests that suitors include the Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins, but neither is willing to throw in a first rounder. Lebrun suggests the Oilers are also considering re-signing Maroon.
Analysis: Maroon brings a different dimension to most teams. He has the hands to score in close to the net, and while not a speedster can keep up with Connor McDavid. He also brings size and toughness to a forward group. It is rare to find that in a top-six winger and that is what makes him so valuable down the stretch. Expect fans to be shocked at the return, if he is traded.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mike Hoffman
Analysis: Hoffman would make an excellent addition to the Oilers top line, and could score a lot of goals riding shotgun to McDavid. However, something feels off about the trade. With Hoffman on the market, the Sens are looking to save money. Moving him for Nugent Hopkins actually adds money to the Ottawa payroll. I’m not sure about the fit here.
Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar
Rumour: Ansar Khan of the mlive.com believes that the Red Wings will try very hard to move one of Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar before this year’s trade deadline. He indicates that both could be gone by this time next year. Nyquist could be an unrestricted free agent after next season and is the more likely of the two to move sooner.
Analysis: Nyquist and Tatar are younger than the trade deadline rentals and also have some term left on their contracts. This could make them an attractive option for teams that are set to compete for many years, such as the Nashville Predators, or teams still completing their build such as the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, and Vegas Golden Knights.
Rumour: Pierre Lebrun reports that the Florida Panthers have asked winger Radim Vrbata for his 10-team “yes” list for the trade deadline. He also notes that the market is limited for the 36-year-old with just five goals this season.
Analysis: There are a lot of rental wingers on the market including Evander Kane, Rick Nash, Maroon, and Thomas Vanek to compete with. This puts Vrbata as a long shot plan C or D. When you add in wingers with term left like Mike Hoffman, Max Pacioretty, Nyquist and Tatar also available, it is easy to see why Vrbata’s market is so limited. He was having a much better year last season with the Arizona Coyotes and was also a pending UFA, but the Coyotes did not move him.