NHL Rumours are the gift that keeps on giving. There’s no shortage of gossip around the league today, so let’s get down to it! Tuesday’s edition of NHL Rumours is centred around the Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks.
Detroit Red Wings
Analysis: The Red Wings are having another disappointing season. They’ve had glimmers of hope with a handful of good games. Ultimately, Detroit looks like what you’re used to Detroit looking like over the past few seasons. Their cluster of a netminder situation is not helping. Is there a clear cut number one goalie in the Red Wings locker room? It sure doesn’t come off that way on the ice. Which is fine, if Detroit wants to run a tandem goalie team, perfect! But they need at least one of their guys to be solid. Currently, they have zero. Both goalies have really struggled this year.
In the 31 games that either Howard or Bernier have started, they’ve seen 20 losses. Howard has a .887 save percentage this year. Bernier sits with a .894, just a bit better. Howard knows no other home outside of Detriot for his career, but his one-year contract is up at the end of the season.
Bernier is into his second season with the club and bounces around quite a bit. So, should the Red Wings keep the declining veteran or the unproved newcomer? It’s probably true that Bernier will be the sacrificial lamb. Detroit is carrying three netminders at this point. Howard is a staple in the organization. They just acquired Eric Comrie via trade as Howard has gone down.
Losing Bernier might sting, but he seems to be the most removable piece. He’s not exactly making a breakout appearance between the pipes for the Wings. But he’s not a wash either. Detroit could use all they can get from a successful trade to help rebuild the struggling team.
Rumour: Ryan Clark of The Athletic mentioned in a mailbag segment that the Avalanche would like to solidify a third-line center, but they’re not rushing the search.
Analysis: The Avalanche have been injury-riddled. Just when you think they’ve got a team together that has scoring depth beyond one line, they have another challenge to skate over. It really is a shame, since the club has been pretty impressive even during the absence of some big-name players.
Colorado does have options to fill the slot in the third line. J.T. Compher is a natural winger, so transition him to the center position isn’t the most desirable fix. Tyson Jost is too young and unproven. Vladislav Kamenev seems to be a constant question mark, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is best served to play the minutes he has been.
If you look beyond Colorados NHL level roster and onto the AHL options, there just really isn’t one. At least not a stand out one, or the team would’ve already recalled them. At this point, the Avs have two options: hunt down a trade to fill the spot or wait until their roster rebounds and fill the gap internally.
Rumour: Mark Lazerus of The Athletic writes that the Blackhawks are in a bind. None of their big-name pieces are likely to be traded despite the team’s struggles.
Analysis: Is there any team suffering more injuries right now than the Blackhawks? This team has been riding the wheels off the struggle bus. Their core is still a strong group of players. Taking the chance on moving a player like Brent Seabrook, who’s been a hot trade topic, doesn’t look like it’s on the horizon for the Hawks.
Chicago has a talented group of players ready to burst onto the NHL scene. Keeping the veterans on to guide the newcomers is the best thing the team could do to help themselves from falling into a rebuild rut. Tearing their current core apart is not going to happen.
Thus, the Blackhawks are stuck between the ice and a cold place. For now, the fans will have to suck it up and put up with an inconsistent team. One who looks playoff ready one night and the next looks like they have bricks attached to their blades. For an organization with such a rich history, this will ultimately be pegged as some of “the dark years”. Regardless, the future is bright beyond the dark shadow the Blackhawks wings are currently casting.
That’s all for NHL Rumours, come back tomorrow for more!