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 defenseman Erik Karlsson; forwards Mike Hoffman and Derick Brassard; and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges.
NHL Rumour Mill
Rumour: On Hockey Night in Canada’s Hockey Headlines segment, Nick Kypreos said that he would not be surprised to see the Ottawa Senators trade Erik Karlsson before the NHL Trade Deadline.
Analysis: Karlsson has a year and a bit left on his contract. By trading for him now, the acquiring team would get the superstar defenceman for two playoff runs, while he is still on a bargain contract. Karlsson will be due a big raise in the summer of 2019. Moving on from him would be just another sign that Eugene Melnyk is not willing to pay the money necessary for the Senators to compete.
Rumour: NHL.com’s Lou Korac reported on his personal blog, “In The Slot,” that the St. Louis Blues are currently engaging in talks with the Senators about forwards Mike Hoffman and Derick Brassard. Korac indicates that it is unlikely the Blues would trade for both players, and this is an either/or scenario.
Analysis: The Blues have already traded their 2018 first round pick to Philadelphia in the Brayden Schenn deal but still have plenty of young assets, with players like Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, Jake Walman, and Ville Husso amongst their top prospects. Korac also reports that Robby Fabbri, Patrik Berglund, and Vladimir Sobotka are NHL players the Blues could make available. The combination needs to be worked out, but the assets to intrigue the Senators are there.
Hoffman has this year and two more seasons on his contract, while Brassard does not become a free-agent until after the 2018-19 season. This makes them attractive options for a team like St. Louis who is young, built well, and likely ready to compete for years to come. Hoffman would give them a solid winger on the second line, while Brassard would give them depth down the middle now, and a replacement for next season if Paul Stastny leaves as a free agent.
Rumour: Buffalo radio station WGR 550 (the home of Sabres broadcasts) is reporting that the Blues are interested in Sabres defenceman Josh Gorges. The Sabres are looking to trade Gorges and are willing to take back salary.
Analysis: Gorges cap hit is $3.9 million per season, but he is in the final year of his contract. He could be a depth defenseman for a team to acquire but don’t expect more than third-line minutes or a fill-in for injuries. On the Blues, he would be a seventh or eighth defenceman at best. However, teams are always looking for a cheap form of injury insurance before the playoffs.
SAN JOSE, CA – DECEMBER 07: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Ottawa Senators looks on during the game against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on December 7, 2016, in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mike Hoffman