It’s Tuesday and the Last Word on Hockey is here with another dose of NHL trade rumours. We gather a group of three or four rumours and try to make sense of them. The NHL trade deadline is under a month away on Feb. 25, so these rumours will heat up as we get closer to the date. Today we talk about the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
NHL Trade Rumours
Rumour: The Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher told the media today that almost any player is open for trade. Sam Carchidi mentioned that Fletcher said Claude Giroux is the only player not available for trade. Carter Hart is also likely on that list.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 28, 2019
Analysis: The Flyers have found themselves near the bottom of the standings this season. In a season that they had expectations for playoffs and likely winning a round. Their biggest problem has been a lack of goaltending. However, as LWOH writer Ariel Melendez wrote, Hart has been an upgrade so far.
The Flyers still have a solid young core. Obviously, at any price, anyone should be available for a trade. However, trading a player like Ivan Provorov or Nolan Patrick just to make a trade doesn’t seem like a great idea. Trading Wayne Simmonds feels like it’s a given at this point. However, could we see someone like Radko Gudas, who has also been very solid or Jakub Voracek moved? One thing is for sure, the Flyers should be on lots of these NHL Trade Rumours in the future.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: We take a break from NHL Trade Rumours to look at another rumour that could effect trades. TSN’s Insider Pierre LeBrun commented on how he wouldn’t be surprised if the Leafs and Auston Matthews signed a contract extension within the next month.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 28, 2019
Analysis: Matthews is an RFA at the end of this year and it is possible this deal is not an 8-year deal. Elliotte Friedman had already reported this could be a 5-6 year deal. However, the cap hit may still be sizable. The size of this deal may influence the Leafs trade deadline. The Leafs last night just went out and got big name Jake Muzzin. Will they keep adding players? Or will this be the only move they decide to make?
Either way, Matthews AAV will definitely start to dictate the Leafs cap space heading forward. Fellow forward teammate Mitch Marner is also an RFA this season. He too is due for a massive raise.
Rumour: The next NHL trade rumour comes from Ottawa. Elliotte Friedman was on Sportsnet Radio. While talking about Ryan Dzingel he said, “Last year, what did Grabner go for – he went for a second-rounder and a prospect. I think that’s probably the kind of thing you’re looking at, and maybe higher because of the year he’s having.”
Analysis: It is likely Ottawa deals Dzingel this deadline, and at that return, they’d be foolish not to. Dzingel is a speedy solid forward who can provide offence and score. He would be great on any playoff team. Whether that’s on the first, second or third line. He can really play anywhere. While he won’t be a play driver on the top line, he could be a good complimentary piece for teams looking to go three lines deep.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: Artemi Panarin’s agent came out and said that Panarin won’t be talking a contract extension until after the season is over.
Statement about Artemi Panarin’s future “We have informed the team that we are willing to discuss Artemi’s future after the season. Our priority now is to focus on the rest of the season, trying to win a Stanley Cup for the CBJ & their fans”. No additional comments will be made..
— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) January 28, 2019
Analysis: There have been lots of talks with what the Blue Jackets should do with their big two UFA’s this deadline. It has been well mentioned that Panarin would be interested in testing free agency. As well, Sergei Bobrovsky had a blow-up with coaching the other week, which he apologized for. This has all made for lots of NHL trade rumours.
The decision about whether Columbus should trade either of these players is a tough one. Do they go for the first ever playoff round victory in franchise history and possibly more, while risking one or both of them walking for nothing. Or, do they try and trade them for big returns at the deadline and gain some big assets?
It seems clear Columbus is at least still a potential signing spot for Panarin this offseason. However, there are other teams in the mix. Columbus has some tough choices ahead of them about what to do at this year’s deadline.