Last Word on Hockey is back with another day of NHL Trade Rumours. Today, we will be looking at rumours from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and New York Islanders. Stay tuned every day for more NHL Trade Rumours.
NHL Trade Rumours
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: TSN’s Bob McKenzie mentions on Overdrive as well as That’s Hockey that the Toronto Maple Leafs will certainly be looking to upgrade their right defence and he expects him them to continue their talks with the Carolina Hurricanes to do so.
Analysis: The name that keeps popping up for the Leafs is Brett Pesce. However, McKenzie figures in order to get Pesce, the Leafs will have to give up one of Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson. Are the Leafs ready to give up one of these two players? Obviously, in a perfect world, the Leafs would be able to hold onto both these players and move out Nikita Zaitsev‘s contract instead along with other picks/prospects.
Pesce is currently in the first year of a very cap friendly six-year deal worth $24.15 million. His average annual value is $4.025 which is manageable for the Leafs moving forward. Pesce would fill the Leafs biggest need on defence and replace the loss of Jake Gardiner in the off-season. While losing one of Kapanen or Johnson would hurt, chances are they wouldn’t be able to afford to keep both these players long-term anyway. So why not use one of them to fill a much bigger need.
Rumour: TSN’s Darren Dreger mentions on Insider Trading that while speculation is that the Winnipeg Jets are looking for a second line centre, their top priority is a top six winger. He adds to this by saying Ottawa Senator and Winnipeg native Mark Stone would be the perfect fit.
From @tsnjamesduthie, @darrendreger, @PierreVLeBrun & @TSNBobMcKenzie: Insider Trading: Jets looking for top-six winger; Flames interested in Stone? WATCH: https://t.co/2J0B0HwhKj pic.twitter.com/QFidYU5RmQ
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) February 12, 2019
Analysis: As Dreger mentions, there’s a lot of hockey being played between the Jets and their AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose over the next week in Winnipeg. He fully expects Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion to be on hand to watch these games. Dreger also mentions that Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff won’t want to mortgage too much of the future, but you have to think he’s ready to make a big splash.
Winnipeg is a Stanley Cup favourite and Mark Stone is the type of player that can put a team over the top. I’m sure the fans in Winnipeg would forgive him if they do, in fact, bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup. There comes a time when you just have to go for it. The time is now for Winnipeg.
Rumour: Also on Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun mentioned that the Calgary Flames would be another team to watch in the Mark Stone sweepstakes.
Analysis: Why not? Calgary has had an incredible bounce-back season. The deal general manager Brad Treliving made in the off-season to bring in Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin was an absolute home run for the club. Much like Winnipeg, picking up a player of Stone’s calibre would put them over the top. A little bit of competition between Canadian contenders for the Senators star forward.
New York Islanders
Rumour: Lastly on NHL Trade Rumours, on Montreal’s TSN 690, Darren Dreger was asked what the Islanders plans would be heading into the deadline. Dreger mentioned that someone speculated whether they would target Ilya Kovalchuk of the Los Angeles Kings.
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 12, 2019
Analysis: As Dreger mentions, this is pure speculation and nothing concrete to run with here, but it makes total sense. Lou Lamoriello and Kovalchuk have a history. Given a great offensive role with the Islanders would be exactly what Kovalchuk would be looking for. Not to mention, he had spoken about staying in the New York area, before eventually signing with Los Angeles.
I mean, who could turn down playing in Los Angeles at the end of your career. With the Islanders, Kovalchuk will have a greater opportunity at a cup run, as the Kings are starting to look towards a rebuild. The Islanders are currently sitting on top of the Metropolitan Division and have gone 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. Kovalchuk would certainly be a piece that could put them closer to Cup contention.