Welcome to Thursday’s helping of NHL Rumours here with the Last Word on Hockey team! Every day, we scour the hockey world to deliver snapshots and analysis of rumblings from around the league. This Halloween edition of NHL Rumours features the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, and Minnesota Wild.
Toronto Maple Leafs
31 Thoughts: Enjoy! https://t.co/PxpXCheM3D
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 30, 2019
Analysis: Marincin has had an embattled tenure with the Maple Leafs, for sure. He got a chance to start with the big club this year on a pairing with youngster Rasmus Sandin and looked like he might be able to hold his own with the team considering his preseason performance. However, due to the return of Travis Dermott from injury, his presence becomes expendable due to the strong play of Justin Holl recently. And with Zach Hyman due to come off LTIR soon, Toronto needs to clear contracts from their active roster to be cap-compliant.
So far this season, Marincin’s pointless in six games. He’s only averaged 11:06 worth of time on the ice per game but shows okay possession numbers at 50.4 percent Corsi For and a relative Corsi For of -2.0. He’s on a league-minimum deal that ends after this season, so salary shouldn’t be an issue in moving him. It’s a smart move for Toronto to gain some assets for him instead of losing him on waivers for nothing. He is an effective penalty killer that some teams could use.
Toronto found themselves in a similar situation with Connor Carrick a while ago. They only netted a seventh-round pick in return. So don’t expect Toronto to come walking away from a potential deal with the winning side. However, as Friedman mentions, if Jake Muzzin (who was injured by Tom Wilson in Tuesday night’s game against Washington) is injured longer-term, Toronto may opt to keep Marincin around.
Rumour: Again, from Friedman’s 31 Thoughts podcast, he dismisses the idea of Boston’s Torey Krug being traded at the deadline. His contract carrying a $5.25 million AAV is in its final year.
Analysis: Boston is entering an extremely tricky cap situation, considering Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, Zdeno Chara, and Matt Grzelcyk are all in need of contracts for next season. They’re already using John Moore‘s LTIR relief to stay cap-compliant. DeBrusk is going to command a heavy increase from his entry-level pact, as will Grzelcyk. Chara will be willing to take a discount to stay around for another season. However, Krug could easily price himself out of Boston.
This is significant, as it signals that Boston is all-in again this year. They’ll similarly use Krug compared to Toronto’s usage of Jake Gardiner last season — their rental, knowing that the player may very well leave for nothing at the end of the playoffs. Krug is off to a hot start with nine points in 12 games. He could’ve netted a monstrous return for the Bruins if they opted to trade him.
St. Louis Blues
Analysis: Before the Blues make any moves, they’ll have to see how they fare without franchise player Vladimir Tarasenko for practically the rest of the season. Struggles may arise, or they may not. The defending Cup champions may find it wise to seek outside help while their Cup window is still ripe. Kreider will certainly not replace Tarasenko’s offence. However, he has a reputation as a solid 40-55 point winger. He could play some great hockey if put on a line with either Brayden Schenn or Ryan O’Reilly. For a weak Rangers team, he’s potted six points in 10 games. Kreider is making a very reasonable $4.625 million this year but is a pending UFA.
If St. Louis makes this deal, Kreider’s purely a rental. With Tarasenko on LTIR, the Blues don’t face much of a cap issue now, but with Alex Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn needing new contracts, there’s no way they’d be able to retain Kreider as he’ll demand an increase on his current cap hit.
Analysis: The Wild have… not been good. They sit with a 4-8-0 record, good enough for a tie for last in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Kings. Poor goaltending has hamstrung them this season, as Devan Dubnyk has been unusually poor with a .880 save percentage and 3.92 goals-against average. He’s one of the names that Rosen mentions as trade bait.
Since they can’t move out any pending unrestricted free agents (captain Mikko Koivu is their only one, and it might very well be his last year in the league), the Wild will still be stuck in purgatory for the foreseeable future. Ryan Suter‘s and Zach Parise‘s contracts continue to be eyesores, and instead, the Wild might be forced to move names such as Dubnyk and Eric Staal if they want to gather picks and prospects as they move towards a rebuild.
It’s been a tough go for the Wild, and Guerin finds himself in a sticky situation. He can’t make any rash trades that Minnesota may come to immediately regret. However, waiting to pull the plug may cost the Wild entire seasons of success in the future. Minnesota has been mediocre for long enough, and Guerin would have every right to blow up the ship.