It’s Saturday 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 are looking at the Chicago Blackhawks, the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
NHL Trade Rumours
Analysis: Keith has been a member of the Blackhawks his entire career. He is on the top pairing this season and with 126 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience and three Stanley Cups under his belt he would be a huge help to any team come playoff time. When asked about the rumour Keith said that his first concern would be his contract and his intended goal was to finish his career with the Blackhawks. The move might still be difficult to swing. While his $5.538M salary is palatable, its the remaining term on his contract that is the issue. At 35 years old, Keith still has four more years on his contract. While a player of Keith’s calibre would fetch a big return, his contract might make that a bit complicated.
Rumour: The Florida Panthers are looking to move Derick Brassard after acquiring him according to David Pagnotta. He will be shipped out before the deadline.
The Panthers are already working on moving Brassard elsewhere, though not sure anything’s imminent on that front right now. He will be moved again at some point before trade deadline.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 1, 2019
Analysis: Brassard was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins February first. He is a solid two-way centre that can play in the middle of any team’s lineup. The Panthers acquired Brassard from Pittsburgh in the hopes of moving him on for more future assets. Being a veteran centre with significant playoff experience should give Brassard many suitors heading into the deadline. It was a savvy move by the Panthers and helps them in several ways. Along with acquiring futures, Panthers GM Dale Tallon is looking to clear some salary cap room to make a push for free agents in the off-season as well.
Analysis: The Panthers seem to be gearing up for a busy off-season. One of their prime targets is Artemi Panerin. Panerin is on his way out of Columbus this off-season or sooner. His name continually comes up in trade rumours heading towards the deadline. Panerin will garner a lot of interest, but teams will be wary of his free agent status. If a team acquires him, they will also want to sign him. Florida is planning for Panerin to hit the open market, which is why they are clearing some money off their books.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: Darren Dreger is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning are looking at adding a forward.
Analysis: Dreger says the Lightning have inquired about Wayne Simmonds of the Flyers and Micheal Ferland of Carolina. With Tampa up against the cap, they will need to clear some room before they can add any significant pieces. In the case of Ferland, the Hurricanes are looking to add to their current roster rather than futures, which might pose a problem for Tampa.
Tampa is loaded at forward, so their interest in these players is a bit surprising. Many though Tampa would look to solidify their blueline before their forward group. Still, adding another quality forward would make Tampa even more threatening heading into the playoffs.
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