The trade deadline has come and gone but NHL Rumours are still plentiful. In this Saturday edition, we recap all the behind-the-scenes drama from Monday’s Trade Deadline and look forward to what’s to come this summer. We’ll look at rumours involving the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres, and Ottawa Senators.
Rumour: We start NHL Rumours in Calgary. During the latest 31 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman went into detail about a potential trade between the Flames and the Minnesota Wild. Apparently, the two teams were very close to a trade that would’ve sent Jason Zucker to Calgary. The deal didn’t make it to the league in time, though.
Analysis: Friedman reports that the Central Registry didn’t receive word of the trade before the 3 pm deadline on Monday. This could’ve been a result of the high number of trades that get queued around that time, though there’s no way of knowing.
What we do know, is what was likely the return package for Zucker. Friedman said he believes that Michael Frolik and a high-round pick was going to be sent back to Minnesota. This deal would’ve been great for the Flames. They would’ve replaced Frolik with a slightly-more productive, and much more younger, Zucker. While it wouldn’t have been game-changing, it could’ve been the depth move that Calgary needed to make a long playoff push. They currently sit on top of the Western Conference, while the Wild are hoping to spark a minor rebuild.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Again per the latest 31 Thoughts Podcast, the Leafs were supposedly very close to a trade with the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers were apparently the frontrunners of multiple teams asking the Leafs about Connor Brown.
Podcast is live. Enjoy! Blog later today https://t.co/Hq5Hr6Heea
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 28, 2019
Analysis: Leafs general manager, Kyle Dubas, came out in the week before the deadline and said the team didn’t want to deal away anyone on their current NHL roster. This included Brown, who supposedly brought in a lot of interest. According to Friedman, the Leafs weren’t completely opposed to dealing away Brown. They saw it as a chance to bring in a right-handed defenseman, something they’ve been searching for all season. In particular, the Oilers were offering Matt Benning in return.
The Oilers also offered to include either Zack Kassian or Jujhar Khaira. This went to show how badly Edmonton wanted Brown, especially with offering Kassian, who was supposedly garnering a lot of interest from teams like the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins. In the end, Friedman thinks the Leafs valued Brown too much to deal him away for a short-term defenseman.
Rumour: During TSN 1040, Bob Mckenzie mentioned a bit more info about the Jets pursuing Mark Stone. Apparently, the team was very close to making a deal for the star winger but changed their minds after Josh Morrissey‘s injury.
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) February 26, 2019
Analysis: The Jets were caught up in the Stone rumours almost immediately. They clearly wanted to bring in another star player to help fuel their race to win the Western Conference. Stone was the best option for this role and Winnipeg seemed to be one of the frontrunners for acquiring him. This all changed when Morrissey was injured, though. McKenzie said that the Jets started to become much less willing to deliver the pricey package that Ottawa was demanding. Instead, they went out and traded away Brendan Lemieux and two picks to the New York Rangers, for Kevin Hayes.
McKenzie also said the Jets radically changing their minds like this was pretty detrimental for the Senators. With that said, not many teams were willing to pay the same price that the Vegas Golden Knights did. McKenzie reports that most offers were two first-round picks, one being conditional and only sent over if Stone re-signed, and a middle-grade prospect. With that in mind, it’s not far-fetched to assume that the Jets were offering two firsts and Lemieux for Stone. Stone was a busy name for NHL rumours and rightfully so.
Rumour: Again per the 31 Thoughts Podcast, Jeff Skinner and the Buffalo Sabres can’t come to an agreement on the length of his potential contract extension. Skinner wants eight years, something Buffalo is uncomfortable with.
Analysis: Everyone knew that re-signing Skinner wasn’t going to be easy for the Sabres. He’s been one of Buffalo’s best players during his first year with the club, netting 57 points in 63 games. At a young 26-years-old, Skinner will obviously be trying to lock down a hefty paycheck for the remainder of his career with this next deal.
The Sabres haven’t been able to match his wants so far, though. This helps explain why Skinner hasn’t been signed to an extension yet, despite the team clearly wanting him. If Buffalo can’t come to an agreement before the season ends, they could be in some trouble. Skinner hits free agency this summer and will no doubt be one of the hottest free agents of the year. He’s on pace for 46 goals this year and has plenty of reason to ask for a considerable raise this summer. He’s finishing off the last year of a six-year, $34.35 million contracts.
Rumour: On the latest episode of the Two-Man Advantage podcast, Pierre LeBrun recapped Stone being dealt to Vegas. He said that the Knights weren’t willing to make the trade unless Stone agreed to a contract extension beforehand.
Analysis: This contingency clearly put a lot of stress on Senators GM, Pierre Dorion. He seemed to be so close to dealing away Stone but couldn’t guarantee an extension to Vegas. LeBrun said that the two parties agreed to a deal 45 minutes before the trade deadline. For the rest of the hour, Dorion was stuck stressing over the trade while Vegas and Stone worked on an extension.
If the extension wouldn’t have gone through, it wouldn’t have been the first time that a deal didn’t work out between Ottawa and Vegas. During last season’s trade deadline, the two apparently agreed to a deal that would’ve sent Erik Karlsson to Vegas. In the last 10 minutes before the deadline, though, the trade fell through. They tried again over the summer and again weren’t able to work something out. Nobody knows if Dorion had a plan B for if yet another deal didn’t work out. Thankfully, the third time was the charm and Stone was sent to Vegas for Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg, and a second-round pick.