It is NHL Trade Deadline Eve, but moves are already being made. This morning has seen Rick Nash, Tomas Plekanec, and Mark Letestu all traded. They certainly won’t be the last players moving to new destinations though. With a look at what else could happen, we examine rumours involving Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane, Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty, and Russian superstar Ilya Kovalchuk.
NHL Rumour Mill
Rumour: Renaud Lavoie of TVASports reports that discussions around Evander Kane have begun to heat up and that teams are also asking the Sabres about Benoit Pouliot. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that talks intensified following the Rick Nash trade.
Analysis: With Nash off the market, and at a huge price, the Sabres have the best rental winger on the market. Kane has size, can skate, plays physical and has scored 20 goals this season, and 28 last year on a bad Sabres team. Kane would upgrade any team’s offence, but the locker room rumours might be an issue. The Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks could be fits.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday’s hockey headlines that Max Pacioretty wants out of Montreal. One team that was reported to be interested was the Minnesota Wild. Nick Kypreos reported that the Los Angeles Kings were also pushing hard for Pacioretty.
Analysis: The price on Nash has to push up the price on Pacioretty. He is an elite scorer and his numbers are better than Nash in recent years. He also has a cheaper contract, and is not a rental with one-year at $4.5 million left on his deal. General manager Marc Bergevin needs to make a good deal here. Expect him to ask for big time centre prospects like Joel Eriksson-Ek in Minnesota and Gabriel Vilardi in Los Angeles to be included in any deal.
Analysis: The Edmonton Oilers are another team pleased with the market that was set by the Nash trade. Maroon has size and good hands around the net. He has 14 goals this season and scored 27 last season. With Plenty of Interest here, the Oilers Should be able to get a good price.
Rumour: Ilya Kovalchuk has reiterated that he wants to return to the NHL next season.
Analysis: Kovalchuk can only sign with the New Jersey Devils if he wants to return this season, and also must clear waivers to play in the league. That option is off the table. However, next season he would be an unrestricted free agent, eligible to sign with any team. Kovalchuk was the MVP of the Olympic tournament and is still putting up big points in the KHL. He turns 35 in April, but would still be a huge addition to any team’s offence.
Main Photo: 13 October 2016: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber (6) and Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane (9) fight for a puck during an NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens andBuffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY. (Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)