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 Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman; Vancouver Canucks forward Thomas Vanek and defenseman Erik Gudbranson, and the Winnipeg Jets deadline plans.
NHL Rumour Mill
Rumour: TSN’s Frank Seravalli has moved Mike Hoffman down the TSN Trade Bait board, indicating that it is becoming more and more likely that the Senators will keep the winger through the deadline. However, the team is still seeing plenty of interest in Derick Brassard.
Analysis: The Senators may not be getting the type of offers they are looking for. Hoffman is one of many scoring wingers on the market. Rick Nash, Evander Kane, Patrick Maroon, and Michael Grabner are rental wingers who are likely to move. Max Pacioretty is another sniper on the market. This may be creating a supply and demand issue. The good news for the Senators is that Hoffman is under team control for two more years after this one. Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion is under little pressure to make this move right away. As a centre, Derick Brassard is in the opposite situation. There are fewer centres on the market, and he is the best of the bunch.
Analysis: Vanek is a cheaper option for a team looking for a rental scoring winger. Vanek has 16 goals and 40 points in 59 games this year. He still provides a team with a decent secondary scoring option despite being 34 years old. Anaheim general manager Bob Murray has complained about the high cost of rentals this year, and is usually loathe to give up top prospects and picks for rentals. This seems like a cheaper option that might interest him. He could see some competition though. If other teams miss out on the top options or find prices too high, they could circle around to Vanek.
Rumour: Dhaliwal also reports that the Canucks are close to re-signing defenceman Erik Gudbranson. TSN’s Bob McKenzie confirmed that report and gave some contract parameters for the deal with the AAV being at around $4 million per year.
Analysis: Gudbranson is one of the most maligned players in the hockey analytics community, and a contract of over $4 million per year for a player of his skill set seems crazy. He’s an old-school defensive defenceman, with little offence. The game seems to have passed by this type of player, and this contract is not something I would recommend.
Rumour: On Insider Trading Darren Dreger indicates that the Jets have a number of irons in the fire, as they are looking at nearly every scoring winger on the market. Bob McKenzie indicates that general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff could make a first-round pick available.
Analysis: The Jets have a strong defensive core, and Connor Hellebuyck has been brilliant in goal. Winnipeg has shown to have plenty of scoring this year, but Cheveldayoff is ready to add another scorer to the mix. The Jets could pick up any of the rental options, except for Evander Kane given his history with the team.