These rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Pierre Lebrun of The Athletic reports that the Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, St. Louis Blues, and Philadelphia Flyers have called the Buffalo Sabres to enquire about trading for centre Ryan O’Reilly.
Analysis: The Sabres will obviously try to generate a bidding war to get the best value for the two-way centre. O’Reilly isn’t a huge scorer, his career high is 64 points, but he’s excellent on face-offs, can kill penalties, and can play against the other team’s top line. He may not be a number one centre, but he’s an excellent number two.
The Blues would likely put him on the second line behind Brayden Schenn as they look to replace Paul Stastny. The Flyers are looking for more depth down the middle and to ease the pressure on Nolan Patrick who is still just a teenager. The Hurricanes could set up a 1a and 1b situation with Jordan Staal. The Habs are in most desperate need of O’Reilly, who would instantly become their top centre.
Rumour: Elliotte Freidman of Sportsnet Reports that Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin is unwilling to discuss a contract extension with the team at this time. As a result, Jarmo Kekalainen is testing the market for the star forward.
Analysis: The Chicago Blackhawks traded Panarin to Columbus one year ago. This was a move made in part, by the Hawks fear that they would not be able to ink Panarin to a long-term extension and stay under the cap. The Jackets are now seeing that Panarin wants to test the open market, likely to see what lucrative offers could be out there in 2019. Panarin had 82 points in 81 games last year. He is likely to command a healthy return on the trade market and a healthy contract. Panarin is instantly the best forward on the trade market.
Rumour: According to the Athletic’s Michael Russo, the Philadelphia Flyers are looking to trade Wayne Simmonds.
Analysis: Simmonds, 29, has just one-year remaining on his contract, putting general manager Ron Hextall in much the same position as Kekalainen is in with Panarin. Simmonds is a proven goal scorer, who has scored at least 24 goals in five straight seasons. In two of those campaigns, he hit the 30-goal mark. Simmonds plays the type of power-forward game that is becoming rarer and rarer in the NHL but is something that teams still covet. He could be due for a big payday as a free agent, and if the Flyers are unable or unwilling to give it to him, they should consider moving the soon to be UFA.
Rumour: The TSN panel discusses the possibility of the Ottawa Senators moving Erik Karlsson. The Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers could be interested. However, Edmonton is on Karlsson’s ten-team No-Trade List.
Analysis: The Golden Knights were reportedly close to acquiring Karlsson at the NHL trade deadline. With the success experienced by the first-year club, as well as the cap space they will have available, it only makes sense that they try to upgrade their club and attempt to win now. Karlsson is as dynamic a defenceman as there is in the NHL, and would solidify Vegas as Cup Contenders again next year. The only question here is how much prospect and draft capital can an expansion team afford to give up?
Meanwhile, the Oilers are desperate to upgrade their defence and with good reason. However, it does not appear that a Karlsson trade is on the cards. Peter Chiarelli will have to look far and wide for an alternative option on the trade market, or perhaps try to get John Carlsson via free agency. Solving this long-term problem won’t be easy for the Oilers. They should just stay put with the 10th overall pick in the NHL Draft and hope one of the plethora of talented defence prospects falls to them.
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 23: Ryan O’Reilly #90 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on December 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Sabres 5-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)